"Man cannot become attached to higher aims and submit to a rule if he sees nothing above him to which he belongs. To free him from all social pressure is to abandon him to himself and demoralize him."

— ― Émile Durkheim, On Suicide: A Study in Sociology

"From another perspective the (hu)man experience of the divine is feminine, in so far as it requires a psychological attitude of receptivity, and passivity as related to a contemplative mode. The feminization of consciousness is the opposite of the heroic, masculine outlook, which overvalues mastery, contol and action. Religious fundamentalism, then, can be considered a hypermasculine and extremely lopsided response to religion, one which overvalues action to the point of violence and which is, naturally, anti-feminine in its psychology, and by implication, anti-woman."

— Durre S. Ahmed, Psychology, Women & Religion

"whenever a social phenomenon is directly explained by a psychological phenomenon, we may be sure that the explanation is false"

— Émile Durkheim, Les RËgles de MÈthode Sociologique (The Rules of Sociological Method)

"

Nathan Jurgenson, a digital sociologist, agreed with York that the shift was limited to the media. “Overall, [Nick Bilton’s tweet] represents the majority -vast majority- opinion,” writes Jurgenson by email. “This only comes from looking at search terms and replies to celebs tweets, but from what I can tell ‘don’t take nudes’ has been the overwhelming response.”

Jurgenson did agree that the media reaction has changed dramatically. “The critique of victim blaming has gone more mainstream, and I’m excited for that,” he writes. “For many more people sexuality comes standard with sexting, so advising people not to sext is like advising people not to be sexual. Stories about sexting are increasingly written by, and for, people who participate. I really do think we’re finally reaching the point where being constantly outraged and scandalized by sexting is coming to be seen, and felt, as counterproductive. If we maintain that having a nude out there will ruin your life, then it will ruin lives, those of our friends, children, people we’d like to be president, etc. By chilling out and instead focusing on the fuckers who violate women for sport, we’re making out lives collectively easier, better, more fair. Here’s hoping this shift in media message spreads more widely.”

"

We’re Less Nasty: Societal Norms Have Changed Around Stolen Naked Photos

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The average white American’s social network is 1% black.
By Lisa Wade, PhD
American divisions over the state of our country’s race relations were brought to the forefront in the aftermath of Mike Brown’s shooting by a Ferguson, MO police officer named Darren Wilson. Black Americans are more than twice as likely as whites or Hispanics to say that the killing was part of a broader pattern (source).  And blacks are twice as likely as whites to say that race played an important role in Wilson’s decision to shoot (source).
At The Atlantic, Robert Jones argues that these disparate opinions may be caused, in part, by the different life experiences of the typical white and black American. He shows data, from the American Values Survey, indicating that black people are much more likely than whites to report living in communities rife with problems, from a lack of jobs and inadequate school funding to crime and racial tension.
In the meantime, whites may be genuinely naive about what it’s like to be black in America because many of them don’t know any black people.  According to the survey, the average white American’s social network is only 1% black.  Three-quarters of white Americans haven’t had a meaningful conversation with a single non-white person in the last six months.  In contrast, the social network of the average black American is 65% black and, among Hispanic Americans, 46% Hispanic.
The average white person’s failure to engage meaningfully with people of color isn’t solely a matter of personal choice, though that is certainly part of it.  Nor is it simply a function of the country being majority white, non-Hispanic (but not for long).  White insularity is caused, too, by occupational and residential segregation which, in turn, is the result of both individual choices and institutionalized mechanisms that keep black people in poverty and prison.
If we want the people of America to embrace justice, we must make our institutions just.
Lisa Wade is a professor of sociology at Occidental College and the co-author of Gender: Ideas, Interactions, Institutions. You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

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The average white American’s social network is 1% black.

By Lisa Wade, PhD

American divisions over the state of our country’s race relations were brought to the forefront in the aftermath of Mike Brown’s shooting by a Ferguson, MO police officer named Darren Wilson. Black Americans are more than twice as likely as whites or Hispanics to say that the killing was part of a broader pattern (source).  And blacks are twice as likely as whites to say that race played an important role in Wilson’s decision to shoot (source).

At The Atlantic, Robert Jones argues that these disparate opinions may be caused, in part, by the different life experiences of the typical white and black American. He shows data, from the American Values Survey, indicating that black people are much more likely than whites to report living in communities rife with problems, from a lack of jobs and inadequate school funding to crime and racial tension.

In the meantime, whites may be genuinely naive about what it’s like to be black in America because many of them don’t know any black people.  According to the survey, the average white American’s social network is only 1% black.  Three-quarters of white Americans haven’t had a meaningful conversation with a single non-white person in the last six months.  In contrast, the social network of the average black American is 65% black and, among Hispanic Americans, 46% Hispanic.

The average white person’s failure to engage meaningfully with people of color isn’t solely a matter of personal choice, though that is certainly part of it.  Nor is it simply a function of the country being majority white, non-Hispanic (but not for long).  White insularity is caused, too, by occupational and residential segregation which, in turn, is the result of both individual choices and institutionalized mechanisms that keep black people in poverty and prison.

If we want the people of America to embrace justice, we must make our institutions just.

Lisa Wade is a professor of sociology at Occidental College and the co-author of Gender: Ideas, Interactions, Institutions. You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

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James Baldwin on the idea that he should trust the hearts of white people.

By Lisa Wade, PhD

In the clip above, James Baldwin powerfully explains why he, as a black man, has no reason to assume that white people care about him and his people.

Responding to Dick Cavett, he says, “I don’t know what most white people in this country feel, but I can only conclude what they feel from the state of their institutions.”

He goes on to present a devastating list of ways in which American institutions are segregated and biased.  He concludes:

Now, this is the evidence. You want me to make an act of faith — risking myself, my wife, my woman, my sister, my children — on some idealization which you assure me exists in America, which I have never seen.

It was 1968, four years after the Civil Rights Act.  This year marks its 50th anniversary. 

Hat tip to Tim Wise.

Lisa Wade is a professor of sociology at Occidental College and the co-author of Gender: Ideas, Interactions, Institutions. You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

"Instead of engaging differences, the liberal arrangement produces dominance in the name of neutrality. Under such conditions, any move towards actual neutrality will feel fundamentally unfair to those whose positions of cultural privilege and dominance have never been marked as such. That is, certain social attributes and identity markers—such as maleness, heterosexuality, whiteness, or Christianness—are so taken for granted and naturalized in the United States that they function as the very measure of the human. In practice, this means that the special treatment and extraordinary access to power enjoyed by some citizens are not seen as exceptions to fair play, but as fairness itself. Thus, constant conflict is maintained, rather than ended, by a system that officially values neutrality but actually enforces hierarchy."

Love the Sin:  Sexual Regulation and the Limits of Religious Tolerance by Janet Jakobsen and Ann Pellegrini

The Biographical and Historical Intersection of the Sociological Imagination

whatupwally:

“No social study that does not comeback to the problems of biography, of history and of their intersection within a society has completed its intellectual journey.

Whatever the specific problems of the classic social analysts, however limited or however broad the features of social reality they examined, those who have been imaginatively aware of the promise of their work have consistently asked three sorts of questions:

(1) What is the structure of this particular society?

  1. What are its essential components, and how are they related to one another?
  2. How does it differ from other varieties of social order?
  3. Within it, what is the meaning of any particular feature for its continuity and for its change?

(2) Where does this society stand in human history?

  1. What are the mechanics by which it is changing?
  2. What is its place within and it meaning for the development of humanity as a whole?
  3. How does any particular feature we are examining affect, and how is it affected by, the historical period in which it moves?
  4. And, this period – what are its essential features?
  5. How does it differ from other periods?
  6. What are its characteristic ways of history making?

(3) What varieties on men and women now prevail in this society and in this period?

  1. And what varieties are coming to prevail?
  2. In what ways are they selected and formed, liberated and repressed, and made sensitive and blunted?
  3. What kinds of ‘human nature’ are revealed in the conduct and character we observe in this society in this period
  4. And what is the meaning for ‘human nature’ of each and every feature of the society we are examining?

Whether the point of interest is a great powerful state or a minor literary mood, a family, a prison, a creed – these are the kinds of questions the best social analysts have asked.

They are the intellectual pivots of classic studies of man in society – and they are the questions inevitably raised by any mind possessing the sociological imagination.

For that imagination is the capacity to shift from one perspective to another – from the political to the psychological; from examination of a single family to a comparative assessment of the national budgets of the world; from the theological school to the military establishment; from considerations of oil industry to studies of contemporary poetry.

Back of its use there is always the urge to know the social and historical meaning of the individual in the society and in the period in which he has the quality and his being.

That, in brief, is why it is by means of the sociological imagination that men now hope to grasp what is going on in the world, and to understand what is happening in themselves as minute points of the intersection of biography and history within society….

The sociological imagination is the most fruitful form of this self-consciousness.” 

Source: C. Wright Mills. 1959. The Sociological Imagination.

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Nine years after the storm, neighborhood recovery in New Orleans is shaped by race and class.

By Lisa Wade, PhD

To mourn, commemorate, and celebrate the city of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.  Photographer Ted Jackson returned to the site of some of his most powerful photographs, re-taking them to reveal the progress, or lack of progress, of the past nine years.

You can see them all at nola.com; I’ve pulled out three that speak to the uneven recovery that I see when I visit.

In this first photo above, residents struggle to keep their heads above water by balancing on the porch railing of a home in the Lower 9th Ward, what was once a vibrant working class, almost entirely African American neighborhood. Today, the second photo shows that the home remains dilapidated, as did one-in-four homes in New Orleans as of 2010.

In the first photo of this second set, a man delivers fresh water to people stranded in the BW Cooper Housing Development, better known as the Calliope Projects.  Today, the housing development is awaiting demolition, having been mostly empty since 2005.  Some suspect that closing these buildings was an excuse to make it difficult or impossible for some poor, black residents to return.

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This set of homes is  located in an upper-income part of the city.  The neighborhood, called Lakeview, suffered some of the worst flooding, 8 to 10 feet and more; it has recovered very well.

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Lisa Wade is a professor of sociology at Occidental College and the co-author of Gender: Ideas, Interactions, Institutions. You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

"Humans’ survival as a species depends upon adapting ourselves and our…settlements in new, life-sustaining ways, shaping contexts that acknowledge connections to air, earth, water, life, and to each other, and that help us feel and understand these connections, landscapes that are functional, sustainable, meaningful, and artful."

— Spirn (1998) - ‘The Language of Landscape