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

In the social and political realm, there is no power to match that of the leader who is able to evoke and harness the unconscious resources of his followers.

– 'Weber and Freud: On the Nature and Sources of Authority', Donald McIntosh

21 charts that explain how the US is changing

Americans have been delaying marriage since the middle of the 20th century, but in the late 1980s, something interesting happened: as a nation, we started having babies before we were married. Today, almost half of all babies are born to unmarried mothers, and the median first birth happens around one year earlier in a woman’s life than her median age of first marriage.

From city parks to public streets, from cable network news shows to internet blog sites, the clamp down on on public space in the dame of enforcing public safety and homeland security has been dramatic. Public behavior once seen simply as eccentric or even protected by first amendment rights is now routinely treated as potential terrorist threat.

– Low and Smith (2006)

The intellectual was rejected and persecuted at the precise moment when the facts became incontrovertible, when it was forbidden to say that the emperor had no clothes. The intellectual spoke the truth to those who had yet to see it, in the name of those who were forbidden to speak the truth: he was conscience, consciousness, and eloquence.

– Michel Foucault, ‘Intellectuals and Power: A Conversation between Michel Foucault and Gilles Deleuze’ (1977) in Language, Counter-memory, Practice: Selected Essays and Interviews by Michel Foucault ed. Donald F. Bouchard, p. 207. (via literature-and-cats)

Hazards are produced by business operations, to be sure, but they are defined and evaluated socially — in the mass media, in the experts’ debate, in the jungle of interpretations and jurisdictions, in courts or with strategic-intellectual dodges, in a milieu and in contexts, that is to say, to which the majority of workers are totally alien. We are dealing with ‘scientific battles’ waged over the heads of the workers, and fought instead by intellectual strategies in intellectual milieux.

– Ulrich Beck (1992)

Racism is not the problem of white supremacist fringe groups, but a general institutional arrangement created between whites and people of color; the social definition of exploitation is not found in the practices of individual GM executives or Microsoft’s Bill Gates, but in the productive relations found in capitalism entered into by workers and owners; patriarchy is not defined only in terms of men’s chauvinist attitudes but people’s very creation of gender roles and expectations that limit women’s choices and ownership of their sexual powers

– p.14 in Leonardo, Z. (2004). Critical social theory and transformative knowledge: the functions of criticism in quality education. Educational Researcher, 33, 6, 11-18.

Catastrophes that touch the vital nerves of society in a context of highly developed bureaucratic safety and welfare arouse the sensationalist greed of the mass media, threaten markets, make sales prospects unpredictable, devalue capital and set streams of voters in motion. Thus the evening news ultimately exceeds even the fantasies of counter cultural dissent; daily newspaper reading becomes an exercise in technology critique

– Ulrich Beck (1992)

Television isolates and standardizes. On the one hand, it removes people from traditionally shaped and bounded contexts of conversation, experience and life. At the same time, however, everyone is in a similar position: they all consume institutionally produced television programs, from Honolulu to Moscow and Singapore. The individualization — more precisely, the
removal from traditional life contexts — is accompanied by a uniformity and standardization of forms of living. Everyone sits isolated even in the family and gapes at the set

– Ulrich Beck

Socrates has left us to make sense of the puzzling sentence. ‘I know that I know nothing’. The futal irony, into which scientific-technical society plunges us is as a consequence of its perfection, much more radical; we do not know what it is we do not know- but from this, dangers arise, which threaten mankind.

Whoever beleives in not knowing (like the US govenment) increases the danger of climate catastrophe.

– Ulrich Beck

Through the media we lead a kind of spatial and temporal double life. We are at one and the same time here and somewhere else… . These sorts of emerging life situations seem to display an individual and institutional schizophrenia in their ‘bilocality’

– Ulrich Beck

The amazing thing about social networks, unlike other networks that are almost as interesting — networks of neurons or genes or stars or computers or all kinds of other things one can imagine — is that the nodes of a social network — the entities, the components — are themselves sentient, acting individuals who can respond to the network and actually form it themselves.

– Nicholas Christakis

4 common micro-aggressions against Asian Americans