Despite writing in an era that predated many of the digital communication technologies that have become important to us, Erving Goffman’s analyses of social behaviour and interaction may be useful for understanding digital phenomena. Recently there has been a resurgence of Goffman’s ideas within web and digital communication research, notably from the Presentation of self in everyday life (1959). This article draws on recent work which has applied Goffman’s ideas to the digital field to suggest how his work is still influential today. (more…)
(Source: Canadian2006 (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0/r GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons.
My colleague Cliff Leek elsewhere has recently
talked about the tension, struggles and challenges of being an ally. Those of us located on the ‘privilege’ side of different axes of inequality and oppression (like race, class and gender) face the challenge of how to become (and stay) active and effective allies without reinforcing the very inequalities we are trying to fight, and trying to speak truth to power without claiming to speak for
the movements we are aligned with. As Mia McKenzie points out in her critique of the term ‘ally’
: “actions count; labels don’t”. We don’t become ‘allies’ just by some act of will or by declaring us as such. Instead, being
an ally means a continuous process of becoming
one. This call for action and constant reflection has, of course, implications for those of us who are male-identified but teach about gender in the classroom (or those of us who are white and teach about race etc.). We face unique challenges that we need to find pedagogical answers to if we are to stay true our feminist and anti-racist commitments.
Cantata BWV 75
Johann Sebastian Bach
Source: Bach Digital Project
Exposition - “The first statement of the subject by all the ‘voices’ in turn” Oxford Dictionary of Music.
Academia prepares graduate students to become experts in their fields. Through this practice students become disciplined, learning the appropriate language, literature and methods that must become a part of their work. Although this is a necessary part of the learning process, it creates brackets of knowledge, often related but isolated by area of study. In this post, I will illustrate the benefits of a fugal epistemology. I will begin by defining fugue as method, which is based on the Western European musical composition technique that incorporates two or more voices connected through a common theme interacting in imitation and complementary contrast. In future posts, I will highlight the voices of multiple scholars who have taken a fugal approach in the production of interdisciplinary work and articulate the difficulties graduate students face in taking a fugal approach but juxtapose these difficulties with contrapuntal suggestions of ways to incorporate fugue as method for crossing disciplinary borders.
Retrieved from http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/medical_examiner/2013/12/ethan_couch_affluenza_defense_critique_of_the_psychology_of_no_consequences.html
The prosecution of 16 year old Ethan Couch has garnered considerable media attention in the past two weeks. Couch was accused of killing four pedestrians while high on valium and under the influence of alcohol. With a truck full of friends, Couch crashed into a group of pedestrians. The outcry from this case is twofold. First, Couch’s defense attorney argued that he could not be held fully responsible for his actions because he suffered from “affluenza.” Second, this defense worked and Couch was found guilty but only sentenced to 10 years under correctional probation. Couch, 16, was sentenced to 10 years under correctional probation for his actions. Couch never denied his actions, rather his defense argued that Couch’s dysfunctional upbringing was the reason for his actions and he deserves therapy over incarceration. (more…)
Source: Luiz Carlos Cappellano (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons.
In the first part
of this series, I asked whether the sociology classroom can be a space of critical or radical pedagogy and discussed the theories behind Freirean
learner-centered approaches to radical pedagogy. In my second article
, I laid out some critiques of these models brought forward by scholars equally committed to critical sociology and radical analyses. Despite these critical voices though, there is certainly good reason for radical scholars to have their pedagogy reflect their intellectual commitments. Today’s article will discuss examples of radical pedagogy in practice as well as ways of dealing with the contradictions between pedagogical philosophy and institutional constraints.
[This article is the third and last in a series that explores theories behind critical/ radical/ transformative education in the sociology classroom, as well as its practice, problems and limits. The first article introduced some theories behind critical pedagogy, and its overall framework; the second article addressed some radical critiques of certain versions of radical pedagogy.]
Source: University of Chicago Press
While recently working on a project that examines the representation of BDSM in popular culture, I ran across Danielle J. Lindemann’s new book Dominatrix: Gender, Eroticism, and Control in the Dungeon. Studies of erotic labor are not uncommon in sociological literature. The increase in published research on professional erotic dominance illustrates how scholars of gender have turned to dominatrix/client relationships to understand, contest, and complicate erotic hierarchies. Lindemann expands beyond previous scholarship by suggesting that studies of professional dominatrices are noteworthy not because they represent the exotic but because they represent the mundane. In Dominatrix: Gender, Eroticism, and Control in the Dungeon, Lindemann presents a systematic study of professional dominatrices based on in-depth interviews with sixty-six professional dominatrices in New York and San Francisco. Through her interviews, Lindemann illustrates how one can use the world of professional domination to illuminate the dynamics that define but are also often invisible within the larger social world.
Contrary to rhetoric within the BDSM community, Lindemann does not believe the submissive “controls” the D/S exchange. Rather, she suggests the entire interaction is a continuous struggle for control between the dominatrix and client. Independent dominatrices can take control by rejecting clients, refusing to engage in certain activities, and through the ultimate setup and structure of the scene. Clients can choose to find an alternative dominatrix, reject specific activities, or script their scenes. Therefore, both the client and dominatrix tend to “push back” against the other. Lindemann argues that this competition for power is not unique to the D/S world. She suggests that it is one of the core tensions embedded within any service industry. To further her point, she highlights similar dynamics among fashion designers, chefs, and interior designers.
Since the credit crunch of 2008, and the global financial crisis swept around the world, a new rogue’s gallery of folk devils have been the focus of media opprobrium. The British Prime Minister, David Cameron, has ceased to talk about ‘Broken Britain’, how everyone is ‘in it together’ and of the laissez-faire, small government ideology epitomised by the ‘big society’. Perhaps this is because the discourse sounds too hypocritical even for a politician to espouse. As jobs are lost, wages decline and the cost of living rises, the media has found a new set of folk devils to vilify, and the public to boo and hiss at. These include tax dodging millionaires, bankers engaging in a casino of shady deals and rigging interest rates, politicians fiddling expenses and associating with people involved in a criminal conspiracy of hacking phones to get the jump on other media rivals. Even the summer riots in 2011 in the UK could only hold the headlines for a short while before the media engaged in a form of self-cannibalisation with the Leveson Inquiry into the ethics of the print media. It is no wonder; therefore, that deviancy is once again emerging as an important theory to consider within criminology after a period of disregard. This is evident with the re-emergence of the York Deviancy Conference in 2011 and the continued development of cultural criminology (Ferrell, Hayward and Young 2009). However, set between the polar extremes of the usual folk devils of feral kids and the corruption of the powerful elite is a forgotten group. What about people engaged in online deviant behaviours – everyday actions which are too nuanced and accepted to be deemed criminal, such as downloading or purchasing items that are outside of regulation or counterfeit, like medicine? Analysing such behaviours through a deviant lens can make transparent that which the Web renders opaque and shift our attention to the way that the Web has helped create novel forms of deviancy. (more…)
Source: Wikimedia Commons
How do women and men divide housework? That question has become a matter of intrigue in US media in recent years. In fact, in the last week alone two major newspapers, The New York Times and The Atlantic, carried opinion pieces on the gendered division of housework in America. A plethora of research indicates that in the last 30 years men have begun to increase the amount of time that they spend on housework but the fact remains that women still do far more housework than men. What this progress on the part of men means for the future though is still up for debate. Will this progress toward gender equity continue? Will it slow? Will it speed up? Only time will tell, but pundits certainly have a lot to say on the matter. (more…)
Art by Carlos Latuff via Wikimedia Commons
A few weeks ago, I went to see The Punk Singer, a new documentary about Kathleen Hanna – a force within the Riot Grrrl movement. I was mentally and emotionally transported back to the 1990s, reflecting on my late-teens-and-early-20s self. I became nostalgic for that raw anger at injustice channeled into high energy and creative expression, carried along by a sense of excitement and hope, and the supportive feeling of community that, at times, largely consisted of the feminist music and poetry that gave me strength to speak out and served as a reminder that there were other women out there like me. I was struck by the powerful feelings I still experienced thinking about that subculture, and how much that period of time positively shaped who I am today. (more…)
Source: Brandizzi (Own work) [GFDL or CC-BY-2.5], via Wikimedia Commons.
I have previously
written about whether the sociology classroom can be a space of critical or radical pedagogy and how critical research agendas should be reflected in sociological pedagogy. Most authors experimenting with critical pedagogy rely on Freirean
conceptions of student-centered learning that seek to eliminate teacher-student hierarchies and offer students the change to take ownership of their education by involving them in peer-grading, course design and instruction. However, scholars equally committed to critical sociology and radical analyses have critique these models as problematic and actually not coherent with sociological understandings of the world.
[This article is the second in a series that explores theories behind critical/ radical/ transformative education in the sociology classroom, as well as its practice, problems and limits. The first article introduced some theories behind critical pedagogy, and its overall framework.]