Sociology Is Power

"Sociology is indeed a valuable part of a university education. It provides a foundation for better understanding and engaging with the globalizing world our young people will need to navigate and lead. It provides students with the intellectual tools needed to make sense of the shifting and conflictual social world we live in, and this in turn permits them to contribute to solutions for the most difficult social problems that we face." - Why A Sociology Major? by Daniel Little

socimages:

Residential, racial, and class differences in childhood asthma
Rates of asthma are highly correlated to race and income.  The above graph shows the variations in rates in different Chicago neighborhoods.
What is the mediating variable?  Scholars cite access to medical care, the stress of living in neighborhoods with high rates of violence, and greater exposure to pollutants.
The story is an excellent, if sad example of how health is affected by non-individual/non-biological factors.
Lots more graphs and info at Sociological Images.

socimages:

Residential, racial, and class differences in childhood asthma

Rates of asthma are highly correlated to race and income.  The above graph shows the variations in rates in different Chicago neighborhoods.

What is the mediating variable?  Scholars cite access to medical care, the stress of living in neighborhoods with high rates of violence, and greater exposure to pollutants.

The story is an excellent, if sad example of how health is affected by non-individual/non-biological factors.

Lots more graphs and info at Sociological Images.

The dearth of women in US foreign policy is a subject of continual interest, mostly because it never changes. According to a 2011 survey by policy analyst Micah Zenko, women make up less than 30 percent of senior positions in the government, military, academy, and think tanks.

As of 2008, 77 percent of international relations faculty and 74 percent of political scientists were men.

In international relations literature, women are systematically cited less than men. The majority of foreign policy bloggers and vast majority of op-ed writers - with estimates ranging from 80 to 90 percent - are men. When lists of intellectuals are made, women tend to appear in a second-round, outrage-borne draft. Female intellectuals gain prominence through tales of their exclusion. They are known for being forgotten.

People talk about the glass ceiling, but it is really a glass box. Everyone can see you struggling to move. There is an echo in the glass box as your voice fails to carry. You want to talk about it, but that runs the risk of making all people hear.

Welfare Conditionality » Contesting Conditionality

thepovertyoftheory:

The Great Sanctions Debate: some evidence and perspectives

Trends in the use of benefit sanctions – and their impacts on the individuals who receive them – have been subject to widespread media coverage and debate recently. ‘Hungry Britain?’ – an episode of Panorama aired on BBC 1 on 3rd March (and available here) – raised the question of whether increasing numbers of food banks in the UK[1] are the result of imprudent decisions, poor budgeting skills and misplaced priorities on the part of individuals or the result of welfare reform, in particular the increasing use and stringency of out-of-work benefit sanctions.

[click title or here to read more]

Post by Beth Watts on the blog for the ‘Welfare Conventionality: Sanctions, Support and Behaviour Change’ project I am part of. Again for anyone interested in the effects of welfare constitutionality you can keep up to date with the project and any events we are running through twitter.  

[I]t is remarkable that the same people who view with suspicion the social sciences, and, above all, sociology, greet with open arms opinion polls which are an often rudimentary form of sociology (for reasons which stem less from the quality of the people entrusted with them, carrying them out and analysing them, than with the constraints of the contract and the pressures of time).

– Pierre Bourdieu - Opinion Polls: a ‘science’ without a scientist (via thepovertyoftheory)

Thus, white-on-black oppression is much more than a “black-white paradigm,” conceptual framework, media emphasis, or dialogue about race. It is a comprehensive system of exploitation and oppression originally designed by white Americans for black Americans, a system of racism that for centuries has penetrated every major area of American society and thus shaped the lives of every American, black and nonblack. […]

From the beginning a key aspect of the foundation of the United States, and of the colonies earlier, has been a system of racism centered substantially in white-on-black oppression. This long-standing structure of racism has been extended and tailored for each new non-European group brought into the sphere of white domination. Thus, U.S. society is not a multiplicity of disconnected racisms directed at peoples of color. Instead, this U.S. society has a central white-supremacist core initially developed in the minds, ideologies, practices, and institutions of those calling themselves “whites” for destroying the indigenous societies and for exploiting African American labor.

This structure of racialized domination was later extended and adapted by the descendants of the founders for the oppression of other non-European groups such as Asian and Latino Americans. The critics are justified in criticizing the social sciences, media, and government agencies for not researching or discussing more centrally the racially oppressed situations of Asian and Latino Americans. These and other non-European groups are becoming ever more important to the racial-ethnic mix of the United States, and they do suffer greatly from the white-racist system.

However, one must also accent a critical point too often missed by critics of the so-called binary paradigm: That white elites and the white public have long evaluated, reacted to, and dominated later non-European entrants coming into the nation from within a previously established and highly imbedded system of antiblack racism.

One of the most common arguments I hear against race-based affirmative action is this whole theory that the race problem has been solved and that inequality today falls much more along the lines of class.

I’m not trying to downplay the role of economic class in creating divisions in our society, but I don’t think class and race can be compared side-by-side as equally weighted factors. When we compare the struggles of a working-class white person to a middle-class or affluent black, Asian or Latino person, we forget the fundamental difference between class and race: class is mutable, race is not. So if a working-class white man puts on the right clothes, has the right connections, and gets the right education, he can transcend his class status and slip into a ‘white-collar’ world because his skin color allows him to be somewhat ‘invisible.’ But no matter how much money or education an affluent black, Asian, or Latino man or woman acquires, in today’s America, they will still be treated like a second-class citizen or an ‘other’ in most elite social and professional circles…

We make these arguments about class so that we won’t have to face up to two of the most painful -yet obvious- truths about the society we live in: (1) Our dominant culture is built upon a racist ideology that sustains and promotes a race-based power hierarchy, and (2) by not acknowledging the hierarchy that we all participate in, we help reinforce that racist hegemony every day. What a tangled web of lies we weave.

– Carrie Ching in “Personal Voices: Facing Up to Race” 

Although, there may, at any given time, be socially or politically dominant ways of describing and explaining the social world, or some aspect of it, in language, these ways very often (always?) coexist with alternative ways even in the same human society at the same time…whatever one might choose to say about dominance it is clear that it does not equate to unchallenged monopoly…as what we imagine, desire, or wish to do changes…we either find new words to accommodate these changes or (more frequently) we use old words in new ways to facilitate and encourage new purposes, actions, and interactions…social scientists—even radical unorthodox ones—labour under the superstition that theory must always precede, and provide the setting for, empirical analysis, from a spurious analogy of their own activity to some forms of natural science.

– Gavin Kitching, The Trouble With Theory: The Educational Costs of Postmodernism

Such is the source of excitement predominating in this part of society, and which has thence extended to the other parts. There, the state of crisis and anomy is constant and, so to speak, normal. Reality seems valueless by comparison with the dreams of feveredimaginations; reality is therefore abandoned, but so too is possibility abandoned when it in turn becomes reality. Thewholefeversubsides and the sterility of all the tumult is apparent, andit is seen that all thesenew sensations in theirinfinite quantity cannot form a solid foundation of happiness to support one during days of trial. The man who has always pinned all his hopes on the future and lived with his eyes fixed upon it, has nothing in the past as comfort against the present’s afflictions, for the past was nothing to him but a series of hastily experienced stages. What blinded him to himself was his expectation always to find further on the happiness he had so far missed. Weariness alone, moreover, is enough to bring disillusionment, for he cannot in the end escape the futility of an endless pursuit

– Emile Durkheim - ‘Suicide’

Access to the Internet will be a international human right. The diversity of perspectives from all different parts of the globe tackling some of our biggest problems will lead to breakthroughs we can’t imagine on issues such as poverty, inequality, and the environment.

Furthermore, TOMS’ invitations to step into the shoes (or bare feet) of impoverished children are highly racialized. Through both the “Day Without Shoes” and “Ticket to Give” narratives, the company urges its primarily white First World consumers to access a sense of belonging and purpose by performing and replicating the experiences of poor children of color. As the company constantly reminds us, to purchase a pair of TOMS means that a child in a Third World country will receive shoes just like yours. By extension, it means that you are walking in the same shoes, moving through the world in the same ways, and your purchase forged this solidarity. Here, the object of consumer desire shifts: it is no longer the pair of shoes; it is the child who wears them.

– Lucia Hulsether, “TOMS Shoes and the Neoliberal Gospel”