223 posts tagged with Sociology.
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Culture Clash

Blogs about India (from an expats perspective): Welcome to India! Namaste, Namaste... please come in and enjoy yourselves... you must've heard a lot about us, but you ain't seen nothing yet. [more inside]
posted by hadjiboy on Sep 21, 2008 - 7 comments

Venus and Mars - not what we thought

Why aren't men and women becoming more alike? A husband and a stay-at-home wife in a patriarchal Botswanan clan seem to be more alike than a working couple in Denmark or France. The more Venus and Mars have equal rights and similar jobs, the more their personalities seem to diverge. International Sexuality Description Project findings.
posted by desjardins on Sep 9, 2008 - 45 comments

People who live without TV

Out There: People Who Live Without TV. About one to two percent of Americans do not watch television, which it turns out, is a common ground for the very liberal and the very conservative. [more inside]
posted by stbalbach on Sep 4, 2008 - 183 comments

Now you see the violence inherent in the system

Working Hard, Drinking Hard is a book about structural violence in Honduras by Adrienne Pine. In it, she "explores the daily relationships and routines of urban Hondurans in light of globalizing forces and extreme social inequalities." [more inside]
posted by lysdexic on Aug 21, 2008 - 13 comments

What's nu?

A linguist and a sociologist at Hebrew Union College have teamed up to track the inroads made into American English by words and idioms from traditionally Jewish languages, including Yiddish, Judeo-Arabic, Ladino (Judeo-Spanish), and Hebrew. They've created an online survey and are looking for people from all religious and ethnic backgrounds to answer a few questions about their word choices, phrasing, and pronunciation. They're also trying to determine whether certain linguistic quirks usually attributed to Yiddish's influence are actually carried over from Jewish ancestors' speech patterns and accents, or whether they're merely an artifact from growing up in or near New York City. [via]
posted by Asparagirl on Jul 23, 2008 - 65 comments

What's the problem with Yale?

William Deresiewicz examines the pitfalls of an Ivy League education Apparently, the Ivies prepare you for... mediocrity.
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Jun 18, 2008 - 188 comments

Žižek!

"Žižek!" is a feature documentary exploring the eccentric personality and esoteric work of the "wild man of theory": the eminent Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Žižek. Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7. [more inside]
posted by homunculus on May 12, 2008 - 18 comments

Warum nicht wir betrunken erhalten (und schraube)

Europeans Get Drunk to Have Sex. The UK has one of the worst reputations for binge drinking and underage sex but there are striking similarities between countries, a study found. A third of 16 to 35-year-old men and 23% of women questioned said they drank to increase their chance of sex. The study - of 1,341 young people in nine countries including the UK - is published in BMC Public Health. PDF available here. [more inside]
posted by psmealey on May 9, 2008 - 130 comments

Go to Your Room

Are you an older sibling? Did you feel unfairly treated compared to your brothers and sisters? Well, now you have science to back you up. According to Games Parents and Adolescents Play, a new sociology study published in The Economic Journal, the oldest kid in the family really does bear the brunt of parental strictness, while the younger brothers and sisters generally coast on through. [more inside]
posted by netbros on May 5, 2008 - 67 comments

my grandma married an engineer, so did my mom, oh and I'm one too

Islamic terrorists are more likely to be engineers than members of any other profession--and not because engineers possess superior technological skills. That's the conclusion of a controversial Oxford University study that has the engineering community buzzing. (PDF) The study's disturbing finding blames what it calls a universal engineering mindset, which it describes as one drawn to structure and rules plus clear, single solutions to complex problems. When coupled with the harsh realities of life in many Islamic countries, terrorism can be the result, the study says. ~ Via EETimes [more inside]
posted by infini on Mar 10, 2008 - 68 comments

Understanding Race

A new look at race through three lenses: History, human variation and lived experience. Be sure to check out some of the quizzes, notably White Men Can't Jump and other assumptions about sports and race. [via SpoFi] A product of the American Anthropological Association.
posted by psmealey on Feb 3, 2008 - 14 comments

Obscure timelines and curiosities

Artslynx's theatre resources section is a goldmine of links to research and support sites for every aspect of theatrical production and dramaturgy. Especially useful are the Artslynx timelines. Need to know when cling wrap came into usage? Check out the prop timeline. Lots of additional links to outside timelines and history sites for anyone with a thirst for obscure sociological information, a love of craptacularly designed scrolling pages, and generally and too much time on their hands. For example: food, fashion, ephemera, and people who have died onstage [more inside]
posted by stagewhisper on Dec 7, 2007 - 3 comments

Choices, constraints, and the 'mommy track.'

Insightful, sociological, bitter: A scholar reflects back on her entry into the academic 'mommy track.' An interesting blend of meditation-on-resentment and just-plain-resentment, worth a read both intentionally and un-. [via] [more inside]
posted by waxbanks on Dec 2, 2007 - 69 comments

Not as subtle and intricate as AskMefi. But way faster.

Ask 500 (or 100) people: Random participants answer each other's polls on prayer in school, the bible, philosophers, iraq, social habits, love & marriage, materialism, freedom of speech, or whatever topic of interest someone wants to open up for a very momentary spotlight, and reasonably accurate data. [more inside]
posted by mdn on Nov 25, 2007 - 29 comments

A Theory of Humor | Why something is funny, why it sometimes is not, and when it crosses a line.

Theory of Humor. A scientific paper, written by Tom Veatch, describes his Theory of Humor. When is something funny? When is it not funny? When does it cross the line? Why are puns generally shitty? And the mysterious and magical powers elephant jokes have on children, revealed! A great data set to use for practice in applying the theories presented in the paper can be found here.
posted by iamkimiam on Nov 20, 2007 - 57 comments

Diversity counterproductive to "social capital?"

Diversity counterproductive to "social capital?" James Wilson's article in Commentary magazine talks about Harvard sociologist Robert Putnam's essay recently published in Scandinavian Political Studies. In the essay, Putnam publicizes the findings of his research, conducted in rural districts, towns, and cities, whose conclusion establishes that diverse neighborhoods show less "social capital" because ethnically diverse residents seem to distrust each other. [more inside]
posted by gregb1007 on Nov 2, 2007 - 37 comments

Before Kid Nation, there was Robbers Cave

"In the summer of 1954, twenty-two fifth-grade boys were taken out to a campground at Robbers Cave State Park, Oklahoma. [...] Ostensibly it was an unremarkable summer camp. [...] what they had really done for two and a half weeks was unwittingly take part in an elaborate and fascinating psychological experiment." [more inside]
posted by desjardins on Oct 23, 2007 - 44 comments

The Tearoom Trade and the Breastplate of Righteousness

Laud Humphreys was studying to be an Episcopal priest in the mid-1950s when he learned, shortly after his father's death, that his father, Oklahoma State Representative Ira D. Humphreys, took trips to New Orleans to have sex with other men. After being dismissed as an Episcopal priest in the 1960s, Laud Humphreys then enrolled as a sociology grad student where he completed a dissertation about men who had sex with other men in public bathrooms in St. Louis, which Humphreys researched by agreeing to serve as a "watch queen", looking out for the police. After writing down the license plate numbers of the men having sex, Humphreys traced the men's addresses and contacted them in disguise, claiming to be collecting data for a public health survey. The research, which was condemned as unethical for its use of covert methods, was published in 1970 as Tearoom Trade: Impersonal Sex in Public Places. [more inside]
posted by jonp72 on Sep 8, 2007 - 58 comments

This story is about something called Radical Honesty. It may change your life. (But honestly, we don't really care.)

I appreciate you for reading this article. I resent you for snarking in the thread without reading it.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane on Sep 5, 2007 - 293 comments

I'm a cold Italian pizza / I could use a lemon squeezer

Bonobo chimpanzees are commonly thought to be "an example of amicability, sensitivity and, well, humaneness" in the animal kingdom. Ian Parker's Swingers suggests a darker, more savage side to the species that belies popular perception.
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Aug 3, 2007 - 20 comments

Japanese host club documentary

Following this 2005 post, this documentary on Osaka "Host Clubs", "The Great Happiness Space" [Google vid 1:15; misleading preview here] is like nothing I've ever seen. Dark and light and wrenching and weird and funny. And dark. Kafka comes to mind for a lot of viewers, but this would fail as fiction. A midpoint shift forces you to confront a reality that is staggeringly complex. It's a kaleidescope of self-awareness and -delusion; compassion and manipulation; candor and deception. Layered, nuanced, and self-referential. The chief host's blog translated somewhat idiosyncratically by google, gives you another perspective [note: not included in the spirit of "LOL Engrish"]. This insider's account of a hostess club, written by a Duke University sociologist, is a lot more predictable and straightforward.
posted by Phred182 on Jul 28, 2007 - 24 comments

About psychopaths.

Are these people qualitatively different from us? "I would think yes," says Hare. "Do they form a discrete taxon or category? I would say probably -- the evidence is suggesting that.
Psychopaths. They form about 1% of the population. They enjoy the excitement of power. Some choice bits from Hare's book. The obligatory Bush link, but, hey, it's got the test sections and the sad truth is that we do have some psychopaths in positions of power, though probably not the Presidency. [Gosh this is getting long] It turns out there's a biological basis for it. Here's the DSM description and some detailed analysis/description (gosh, I identify with some of those traits!) And here's some AskMe fodder, "Are You Involved With A Psychopath?" And because of that lust for power... well, it could well be your boss.
posted by five fresh fish on May 28, 2007 - 112 comments

An uncommon vacation.

Judy's tour diary (pdf, somewhat long) isn't your standard travelogue. The author is Judy Porter, a professor of sociology from Bryn Mawr Collge. Her expertise in the fields of AIDS and poverty are apparent as she paints a vivid picture of life in West Africa, and the health and social conditions that come with it. She also set up a web page that has links to a number of photo slide shows and hand shot video footage. West Africa has been extensively discussed previously.
posted by The Straightener on Mar 16, 2007 - 6 comments

How I got critically bit in my socially constructed ass

Made in Criticalland. Sociologist Bruno Latour reflects upon the way social construction and social critique have been instrumentalised by lobbyists, conspiracy theorists, "instant revisionists" and other unsavory people: We, in the academy, like to use more elevated causes–society, discourse, knowledge-slash-power, fields of forces, empires, capitalism–while conspiracists like to portray a miserable bunch of greedy people with dark intents, but I find something troublingly similar in the structure of the explanation, in the first movement of disbelief and, then, in the wheeling of causal explanations coming out of the deep Dark below. This from the guy who, thanks to his Relativistic account of Einstein's relativity, was one of the targets of the Sokal hoax.
posted by elgilito on Dec 23, 2006 - 28 comments

I just want to belong.

People are strange when you're a stranger.
posted by Robot Johnny on Nov 24, 2006 - 60 comments

Rambo on Table-Dancers

The Work of Carol Rambo. (Warning, these articles are all PDF or .doc format.) Carol Rambo is a professor of sociology who paid her way through school by working as an exotic dancer. Rambo has written articles on the sociology of strip clubs, drawing upon her own experience as an exotic dancer. In one article, Rambo writes about "the discourse of deviance" that exotic dancers use to "organize their identities" in a process Rambo calls "narrative resistance." In another article, she writes about the concept of old age as it affects exotic dancers. In a third article, drawing upon her own experiences as a "table dancer," Rambo writes about "Interactional strategies that table dancers use to cultivate counterfeit intimacy," and she concludes that dancers manage to "carve out an autonomous niche in an otherwise oppressive context." Also interesting is her article on growing up as the daughter of a mentally retarded mother, "On Loving and Hating My Mentally Retarded Mother."
posted by jayder on Oct 4, 2006 - 54 comments

Why do they sell hot dogs in tens and buns in eights?

Architectures of Control in Design. A blog examining product designs intended to restrict or enforce behavior. In the built environment, we see speed bumps and roundabouts with intentionally obscured visibility; in the digital environment, we see various species of DRM and trusted computing; and in other commerical products, we see car hoods only openable by licensed dealers, printer cartridges for only one sort of printer, and a set of shoes for children which detects the amount of steps they take in a day and translates that activity into the amount of TV they may watch. The control may be for economic reasons, for reasons of safety, or even simply to enforce social nicety - and for each of these reasons are the implications worth regarding . [via the excellent things]
posted by Sticherbeast on Sep 14, 2006 - 27 comments

The ties that bind

The International Networks Archive is an effort by a group of sociologists to understand 2,000 years of globalization through mapping the network of transactions that link the world, rather than geography. The project is still ongoing, but you can see some of the results: an interactive map that uses travel time to visualize the world; a graphic of the growth of Starbucks and McDonalds; the distribution of government jobs (apparently the 3,412 postal inspectors can carry firearms); the cashflows of movies and tobacco; and, of course, the world at night. There is also access to a lot of detailed data, as well as more maps and information at the Mapping Globalization wiki.
posted by blahblahblah on Aug 22, 2006 - 5 comments

The art of the con

Do you know your close-up con games? Some classics: the Tip, the Jamaican Switch, the Wire (and its incredibly complicated cousin, the Rag), the Texas Twist, the Pigeon Drop, the Spanish Prisoner (or Nigerian Scam) and the ancient pig-in-a-poke. Also, learn the argot of the classic con artist, view some videos of card scam moves and discover some patter as well, or just see how the language of the con has been used in one of the more famous papers in sociology.
posted by blahblahblah on Aug 8, 2006 - 23 comments

Dr. Schelling's neighborhood

Dr. Schelling's neighborhood. Is segregation the holdover of a racist past or an inevitable result of simple mathematical processes? After you've read the theory, try it for yourself here, here & here. Dr. Thomas Schelling won the 2005 Nobel Prize in Economics for developing these ideas, but not everybody agrees that he deserved to.
posted by scalefree on Jul 9, 2006 - 31 comments

Next door, yet worlds apart, we look at each other

While the nonpartisan Pew Research Center normally focuses on US domestic issues, such as the recently and narrowly failed flag-burning amendment, the Pew Global Attitudes Project takes a wider view with reports such as The Great Divide: How Westerners and Muslims View Each Other and 16-Nation Pew Global Attitudes Survey, with results that are parts obvious, non-obvious, foreboding, hopeful and contradictory in how the two societies seemingly feel about themselves and each other. [mi]
posted by Mr. Six on Jun 28, 2006 - 8 comments

Sasha Issenberg fact-checks David Brooks

David Brooks gets fact-checked by Sasha Issenberg, who finds that Brooks appears to have invented some of his red-state reporting. ... Brooks acknowledges that all he does is present his readers with the familiar and ask them to recognize it. Why, then, has his particular brand of stereotype-peddling met with such success? From April 2004. Via Brad DeLong.
posted by russilwvong on Jun 28, 2006 - 39 comments

Isolation in America

Are we getting lonelier?
posted by digaman on Jun 23, 2006 - 135 comments

The dance of the Rs and Ds

Watch political ideologies emerge and shift over hundreds of years. ANIMATE is an amazing Java app that lets you track graphically the ideological position of all the representatives to the US Congress, European Parliament, or the UN over every roll call vote in history. The really interesting part is that the application uses DW-NOMINATE data that maps the ideology of representatives, and is pretty good at predicting voting patterns. Voteworld is a related Java application that is a little less dramatic, but allows you to really dig into the data (to access DW-NOMINATE data in Voteworld, click the little orange sphere icon in the application).

On the US side:"There are two major lessons to take away from ANIMATE. First, over time, you see less and less motion of individual legislators, particularly after the Civil War. This shows the stabilization of the American political system. Second, after the Civil War you will see the major party clusters growing further apart until the turn of the century, then come together and overlap, and beginning in the 1970s draw apart again. That is, throughout most of the twentieth century, political divisions blurred but in the last quarter one sees the polarization of American politics."
posted by blahblahblah on May 31, 2006 - 15 comments

“Let my carcass rot where it falls”.

Born To Rot. Living people are often deeply disturbed by dead people. Particularly when those dead people have only recently died and are rotting. But what’s the big deal? Are rotting things intrinsically gross? Why does it disturb us so? Is decomposition helpful in attaining greater spirituality, or is it proof of a Godless universe? [many images linked NSFW]
posted by stinkycheese on Apr 21, 2006 - 30 comments

Kearl's Guide to Sociological Thanatology

Kearl's Guide to Sociological Thanatology, covering such topics as How We Die, The Politics of Death, Bids for Immortality and Longevity, and so much more!
posted by OmieWise on Jan 19, 2006 - 7 comments

SIRCumlocution

The Social Issues Research Centre in Oxford, England, publishes sociological and antropological studies of contemporary issues. Particularly interesting are their guides to British pub etiquette, flirting, and horse racing watching etiquette. But watch out for their opinionated bulletins about current events—surely articles their corporate sponsors and sister PR agency (at the same address and with the same staff) would be proud of. SIRC studies previously mentioned here, here, and here.
posted by grouse on Dec 4, 2005 - 9 comments

Metafilter: Best of the Web??

Research by dumb, ignorant Yankees on national stereotypes.
posted by Gyan on Oct 7, 2005 - 30 comments

The Two Americas

Last September, a Category 5 hurricane battered the small island of Cuba with 160-mile-per-hour winds. More than 1.5 million Cubans were evacuated to higher ground ahead of the storm. Although the hurricane destroyed 20,000 houses, no one died. What is Cuban President Fidel Castro's secret? According to Dr. Nelson Valdes, a sociology professor at the University of New Mexico, and specialist in Latin America, "the whole civil defense is embedded in the community to begin with. People know ahead of time where they are to go. Cuba's leaders go on TV and take charge," said Valdes... "Merely sticking people in a stadium is unthinkable.. Shelters all have medical personnel, from the neighborhood. They have family doctors in Cuba, who evacuate together with the neighborhood, and already know, for example, who needs insulin." They also evacuate animals and veterinarians, TV sets and refrigerators, "so that people aren't reluctant to leave because people might steal their stuff," Valdes observed.

The Two Americas. See also A Nation's Castaways, 'To Me, It Just Seems Like Black People Are Marked' & White Man's Burden
posted by y2karl on Sep 4, 2005 - 69 comments

Generation Why

Remember the Twixters? Now meet the Yeppies: Young, Experimenting Perfection Seekers1,2,3. "Another survey, another invented tag for a group of young people. This survey was for eBay, carried out by Kate Fox, a social anthropologist at the Social Issues Research Centre. It argues that young people are now shopping around and experimenting to find, as she puts it, 'the perfect job, the ideal relationship and the most fulfilling lifestyle.'" - as noted by World Wide Words. [See also: this Venn diagram.] Will researchers ever tire of all this name-calling, though? If they really want to RTFM about this particular generation, they should just watch Wonderfalls.
posted by Lush on Aug 19, 2005 - 18 comments

We no longer know what it means to be human,

EMBO's report on Time and Aging (free access) contains an essay wherein the author, Karin Knorr Cetina, from the University of Konstanz, Germany, argues that death and aging used to be major issues that defined what it means to be human and helped us find our place in society by showing us the limits of what is possible to achieve as a human. With the advances in science, particularly biological advances in slowing aging and technological advances in extending human function, we no longer accept our fate. Instead of accepting that we all grow old and die so we should take our place in society, with the expectation that if we contribute, society will take care of us, too, we now have promises being made by science that death and aging are no longer inevitable. Where are we headed, then? If we can no longer find our place by finding the limits of achievement and accepting our place within them, how do we work as a collective?
posted by Mr. Gunn on Jul 25, 2005 - 15 comments

Philly in 3-D

Is a "virtual" Philly even better than the real thing? Well, GeoSim Systems thinks so. Except for the aroma of freshly-grilled cheesesteak, at least. Their "Virtual Philadelphia" is the most detailed urban imaging system I've seen yet, and you can read about the monumental process of turning photographic images (taken from both aircraft and street-level) into this incredible rendering in a February 17 NY Times article (reg req). And - as expected - Google wants to get in on the action and do the same thing in San Francisco. via BB
posted by luriete on Jun 10, 2005 - 29 comments

Xishi de Fanji

As others see us: A Chinese review of 'Revenge of the Sith'.

For those of you who don't know, George Lucas' latest oeuvre has bombed in mainland China's box-offices - $38.5M there, vs. the $312 it has earned domestically. A cultural difference, an error in Jos. Campbell's theory, or just something else, altogether? In any case, the film and it's apparent failure over there have made for some interesting reviews (last one via).
posted by vhsiv on Jun 9, 2005 - 64 comments

Of course, no one is going to leave the orgy.

Most people want to have group sex, but more or less conscious mental barriers stop them. Help them. (no images or anything, but may not be safe for work if your boss doesn't want you organizing an orgy. your co-workers, on the other hand...)
posted by exlotuseater on May 1, 2005 - 54 comments

90% Matematch guaranteed or your money back

The Mathematics of Love - predicting, with 90% accuracy, what will happen to a relationship over a three-year period.
posted by daksya on Apr 19, 2005 - 33 comments

Eat it, Rand.

An evolutionary basis for altruism. These findings suggest that true altruism, far from being a maladaptation, may be the key to our species' success by providing the social glue that allowed our ancestors to form strong, resilient groups. Sharing isn't just caring, it's surviving.
posted by schroedinger on Mar 21, 2005 - 44 comments

Blackface

Blackface : From mainstream entertainment to (nearly?) being considered a hate crime. Do we still have 21st century minstrel shows? Can one "plainly see similarities between the insulting stereotypes acted out by blackface minstrels like Al Jolson in the 19th and early 20th century and today's actors who play exaggerated, cutesy roles of gay people in the 21st century" ? Here is a larger question: Is humor and ridicule a necessary first step down the path to eventual acceptance? Is that what Spike Lee is saying in Bamboozled or is he saying we haven't progressed as far as we think?
posted by spock on Jan 30, 2005 - 33 comments

The 'Acting White' Myth.

The 'Acting White' Myth. When smart black kids try hard and do well, they are picked on by their less successful peers for 'acting white.' But it isn't true.
posted by Lisa S on Dec 12, 2004 - 45 comments

Sociology

A hundred years of “The Protestant Ethic.” Elizabeth Kolbert on Max Weber in The New Yorker.
posted by semmi on Dec 9, 2004 - 13 comments

'The Dark Side of Egalitarianism'

The Law of Jante (Janteloven) was codified by the Danish-born novelist Aksel Sandemose while he was living in Norway. The Law comprises ten 'commandments', and describes an unspoken code of conformity that Sandemose felt as a stifling inhibitive influence in the town where he grew up. Later commentators have used the term more generally to refer to the anti-individualist tendencies that have traditionally pervaded Scandinavian culture, and to denote 'the dark side of egalitarianism'. Of course, the Law needn't be interpreted in such a negative light, and egalitarianism has its good side too, the difficult question being: do the benefits of equality make it worthwhile suffering the strictures of Janteloven?
posted by misteraitch on Oct 27, 2004 - 31 comments

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