Michael Burawoy on Global Social Movements

Famed sociologist Michael Burawoy visits to share his thoughts on the common character of social movements happening throughout the world today. Michael is the former president of both the American and International Sociological Associations, and he is widely credited as a master of placing everyday life in the context of global and historical forces. Our own Erik Kojola asks Michael about his vision for the future of social movement research, as well as the mounting problems that face public universities today.

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Ken Kolb on Moral Wages

In today’s episode, Furman University professor Ken Kolb joins us to discuss his new book Moral Wages: The Emotional Dilemmas of Victim Advocacy and Counseling. Ken explains a rich case study, in which he finds workers motivated by emotional rewards rather than money or status. We discuss the strengths and drawbacks of a public service sector that relies heavily on moral reinforcement.

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Belinda Wheaton on The Cultural Politics of Lifestyle Sports

Today we are joined by Belinda Wheaton. Belinda is a Principle Research Fellow in Sport and Leisure Cultures at the University of Brighton, UK. Belinda has published extensively on informal sports including articles, multiple edited volumes, and the recently published The Cultural Politics of Lifestyle Sports. We discuss why lifestyle sports are worthy of academic interest, race and California surf culture, and acts of political resistance.

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Chad Lavin on Eating Anxiety

In this episode, political scientist Chad Lavin discusses his new book, Eating Anxiety: The Perils of Food Politics. Chad’s work explores how our experiences with food shape popular ideas about identity, authenticity, and responsibility. He speaks with us about the political meanings of diet in a globalized society, and some limitations of the local food movement. Chad is a professor at Virginia Tech, where he teaches in the political science department and at ASPECT – the Alliance for Social, Political, Ethical, and Cultural Thought.

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Tristan Bridges on Hybrid Masculinities and Sexual Aesthetics

Today we are joined by Tristan Bridges. Tristan is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at The College at Brockport, State University of New York. Tristan researches and blogs on issues related to gender, sexuality, inequality, and space at Inequality by (Interior) Design and Feminist Reflections, the newest Community Page at The Society Pages. We discuss Tristan’s recently published article “A Very ”Gay” Straight?: Hybrid Masculinities, Sexual Aesthetics, and the Changing Relationship between Masculinity and Homophobia,” that is part of his larger book project tentatively entitled “Othering Other Men: Transformations in Gender and Politics among Men.”

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John Skrentny on Racial Realism and Civil Rights

In this episode, we talk with John D. Skrentny, Professor of Sociology and Co-Director of the Center for Comparative Immigration Studies (CCIS) at UC-San Diego. His work focuses on public policy, law and inequality. Today we discuss his recent book After Civil Rights: Racial Realism in the New American Workplace. 

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Peter McGraw and Joel Warner on Humor

In this episode, guest host Richie LeDonne speaks with Peter McGraw, a marketing and psychology professor at the University of Colorado Boulder, and journalist Joel Warner on their new book, The Humor Code. We talk about their travels around the world in search of what makes things funny, how comedians create humor, and how laughs are used to cope with tragedy and wield political power.

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Osagie Obasogie on Race and (Color)Blindness

In this episode we talk with Osagie Obasogie, Professor of Law at University of California – Hastings. We talk about his book Blinded by Sight: Seeing Race Through the Eyes of the BlindIn this book he asks: how do blind people understand race? By engaging in qualitative research with individuals who have been totally blind since birth, this project provides an empirical basis from which to rethink core assumptions embedded in social and legal approaches to race and discrimination.

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Lane Kenworthy on Inequality and Social Policy

This week we talk with Lane Kenworthy, Professor of Sociology and Political Science at the University of Arizona. Lane studies causes and consequences of poverty, inequality, economic growth, and social policy in the United States and other affluent countries, and recently published Social Democratic Americaa look at the current state of inequality in the U.S. and what can be done to fix it. We touch on a number of hot policy issues and discuss the role of the sociologist in producing relevant research and writing for public audiences.

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Discussing the Civic Imagination

Three sociologists, an anthropologist and a political scientist walk into a bar…and the result is a new book on the state, and emerging new forms, of civic participation in contemporary America.  While we seem to be living an age marked by political apathy and growing distrust for government and political institutions, there also seems to be a growing set of opportunities for Americans to “get involved” and “make a difference” in society.   From new forms of grass roots activism, to the increasing importance that social media plays in organizing political movements, the ways Americans participate in social change have dramatically evolved even while pessimism toward politics has reached new historical lows.

In the new book The Civic Imagination a group of ethnographers provide a detailed, account of how civically active Americans understand, talk and act on their different visions for social change.  Reporting on the ways that organizers envision their impacts on society, but also how they feel they have innovated new forms of participating, this multi-site ethnography challenges assertions that we live in a political age driven American apathy.  At the same time, this book reminds us of the limitations, if not blinders, of these new forms of political involvement, particularly revolving issues of inequality.  So before you download that new Social Justice mobile app, or organize your next Occupy event at the public library, take a listen to our interview with the authors of the Civic Imagination: Making a Difference in American Political Life

Gianpaolo Baiocchi is an Associate Professor of Sociology at New York University

Elizabeth A. Bennett is assistant Professor of International Affairs at Lewis & Clark College

Alissa Cordner is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at Whitman College.

Peter Taylor Klein is an Assistant Professor of Sociology and Environmental and Urban Studies at Bard College.

Stephanie Savell is a Ph.D. candidate in Anthropology at Brown University.

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