Tag Archives: Sociology Compass

Introduction: Graduate Student Advice Month

My first year of graduate school was rough. Really rough. I had a hard time transitioning and moving from an undergraduate institution that I loved to a school (though I love it now) that was no where near the top of my list of schools I wanted to attend. To make matters worse, when I sought out advice from other graduate students, there was no place, no sense of community, for the graduate students to gather and discuss. When I turned to the internet, I was shocked to find that there wasn’t even a sociological blog for graduate students and by students to share our experiences, advice, and woes.

Flash forward to almost a year and a half later, where I am in a much better place with research underway, a completed degree in sight, friends, a few publications, and this role with Sociology Lens. Now with these experiences under my belt, I feel that it is time that I “pay it forward” to fellow and future graduate students who may be in the same place that I was in last year. Sociology Lens, I felt as I was joining the team, was perfect– graduate students, all of which think with a critical sociological lens, writing for graduate students. Who better to give advice than fellow people living through the same situation at the same time? Granted context is always different, whether it be forms of identity, location, department culture, or whatever, current advice from current students is much needed.

With much work and determination, I am honored to introduce that that is what we have upcoming for the month of April: “Graduate Student Advice Month:” real advice from real graduate students for graduate students. We have worked together over the past two months compiling a list of relevant topics pertinent to graduate students today, from publishing to teaching to work/life balance. This thematic month will begin on Wednesday, April 1st with a piece by George Byrne entitled, “Five things I wish I had know before starting my PhD.” Each post will be categorized as “special issue” and tagged with “GradMonth” so that you can easily find each post. Also make sure to check us out on Twitter, comment on our posts, and share our pieces far and wide! Together, we can start a dialogue and strengthen our community. We hope that you enjoy.

 

Check Us Out on Twitter:

@SociologyLens

Huw Davies: @huwcdavies

Scarlett E. Brown: @ScarlettEBrown

Tara Stamm: @TaraStammily

Roger Tyers: @RogerTyersUK

George Byrne: @_GeorgeByrne

Megan Nanney: @mpnanney

Who invented the World Wide Web and the Internet?

 

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Source: http://www.webbyawards.com/the-difference-between-the-internet-and-the-web/

When ‘A’ claims they invented ‘X’ as a sociologist of technology my default position is often to respond with scepticism: as I did when I saw this picture above. I understand why Sir Tim Berners-Lee and Vint Cerf would claim they invented the World Wide Web and the Internet respectively. The status of inventor gives each of them a public plinth from which they can discuss how they think digital technology should be mobilised for the benefit of society. Examining their claims to fame is not an attempt to debunk these men’s status: it’s an exercise to show that technology never emerges in isolation. The sociology of technology tells us the invention and development of the Web and the Internet, like all technology, has to be understood within a broader social context that involves networks of people and technology as well as cultural values. I can’t do this statement justice here. By applying this logic to these t-shirts in the picture above I can, however, begin to show the value of the sociology of technology. (more…)

Generational Changes in a Time of Evolving LGBTQ Rights

1280px-Russian_Embassy_in_Helsinki,_LGBT_pavement

(Source:http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Demonstrations_and_protests_in_support_of_LGBT#/media/File:Russian_Embassy_in_Helsinki,_LGBT_pavement.jpg)

In an age where millennials are starting to take primacy in the visibility of political change and its climate, especially in regards to LGBTQ advancements, the older LGBTQ generations are realizing that soon enough the millennials will need to take command of their political positions. Many of the older LGBTQ generations have been trailblazers from the start of an era known as the long 1960’s: having been there at the Stonewall riots, to now holding office positions in politics and creating juridical changes. A common thought amongst many LGBTQ activists is once the United States passes Marriage Equality at the federal level, there is nothing left to fight for in regards to LGBTQ rights. I would beg to differ. Once juridical amendments and changes are made, the battle is to secure its practice and implementation. Furthermore, to secure such practices, the LGBTQ community at large needs to orchestrate as one. (more…)

Love and Homonormativity: One in the Same?

450px-Gay_wedding_a_by_Stefano_Bolognini

(Source:http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Gay_wedding_a_by_Stefano_Bolognini.JPG)

What is love? Does everyone understand love as how Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines it? Starting from birth, everyone is taught to love: whether it is a family member, the family pet or a close friend. However, we are never socialized how to love an individual not related by kinship. Amorous love between two individuals is more like a trail and error process. Yet, American society would have one think falling in love is as easy as one, two, three: one only needs to watch a romantic movie. With the recent advancements of Marriage Equality, now extended to thirty-eight states, majority of LGBTQ individuals have adhered to a homonormative ideology. Homonormativity, as defined by Lisa Duggan, is, “…a politics that does not contest dominant heteronormative assumptions and institutions but upholds and sustains them while promising the possibility of a demobilized gay constituency and a privatized, depoliticized gay culture anchored in domesticity and consumption” (Duggan 2002). Is this what LGBTQ rights have resulted in, mimicry of heteronormative ideals that subjugate their everyday experiences? Is there only one specific way to love? (more…)

Sexual Microaggressions: The New (Covert) Oppression

https://www.flickr.com/photos/lilithvf1998/22505798/

https://www.flickr.com/photos/lilithvf1998/22505798/

In 2007, Sue introduced the idea of microaggressions- small remarks or statements that carry harmful, derogatory, and/ or discriminatory implications against a group of individuals based on their identity, whether or not those implications are intended or not. Initially this concept was utilized to understand racial microaggressions, but in 2011 Kevin Nadal applied the microaggression framework to sexual orientation. While the concept of microaggressions first appeared in the counseling field, social scientists have begun to utilize this concept to understand the new, more subtle forms of oppression towards people of color, non-heterosexual identified individuals, women and gender non-conformants, among others. What is most important in their analysis, yet often only mentioned in passing, if at all, is the reasoning behind these microaggressions: hegemonic power.

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Why are we obsessed with what teens are doing on social media?

Source: http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/polis/files/2011/08/FBteen.jpg

Source: http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/polis/files/2011/08/FBteen.jpg

‘They’ are prime movers we can observe to spot future trends; like rejecting Facebook. ‘They’ are doing something problematically or exotically different to us. For example sexting or hacking. Or ‘they’ are being radicalised by the Internet. ‘They’ are teenagers. We are not similarly fixated by other social groups such as pensioners in this way. What lies behind our obsession with teenagers? (more…)

Ubiquity and Privilege Checking

3D_Full_Spectrum_Unity_Holding_Hands_Concept

(Source:http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Unity#mediaviewer/File:3D_Full_Spectrum_Unity_Holding_Hands_Concept.jpg)

 

In my last post I discussed the problems with juridical changes and practice in real life, problematized ubiquity amongst communities that are at odds with solidarity and posed questions about challenging privilege. Today’s post continues that conversation by asking how does one create change around ideologies? Those who work in the health and human services, who are educators and the like, know that change does not come just from juridical amendments. Change is only created through education and practice: not when certain laws are, finally, deemed as “unconstitutional.” (more…)

Knit Happens: Doing Masculinity in a Female Knitting Space

"Purl3". Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Purl3.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Purl3.jpg

“Purl3″. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Purl3.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Purl3.jpg

In college, I double majored in both women and gender studies as well as sociology, It was not until the spring of my sophomore year, however, that I was introduced to the sociological theory of doing gender, by West and Zimmerman. Since then, I have utilized their theory, along with concepts of “undoing,” “redoing,” and most recently, Kristen Schilt’s concept of “doing heteronormativity.”

When I was considering what I should write for my post this week, I was inspired by George Byrne’s post of an old paper that he wrote during his undergraduate studies. Rather than posting an old paper however, I went back through my old papers and stumbled upon a paper that I wrote on doing gender, examining a series of observations I made of men doing their gender and masculinity in a female space– a knitting warehouse– and below I offer a summary of my paper’s finding, as well as a my newest understanding of my previous work based on my new understanding of doing, undoing, redoing gender, masculinity, and heteronormativity. Not only is gender ever only done, but gender is constructed as a result of power structures.

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Will the LGBTQ Community Ever Become Ubiquitous?

Demonstration,_with_Gay_Liberation_Front_Banner

(Source:http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:LGBT_rights#mediaviewer/File:Demonstration,_with_Gay_Liberation_Front_Banner.jpg, via Wikimedia Commons)

During the trials of Eric Garner, Michael Brown and others, my Facebook newsfeed was filled with a barrage of status updates about the refusal to indict the officers: I had “friends” standing behind the police officers and the law, and “friends” who were in line with protestors and the families of the victims. For the majority of the press coverage, I stayed quiet and did not take a side: but the time has come for the silence to be broken. I stand in solidarity with the families of the victims and the protestors. Although I do not have a J.D., I do realize institutionalized racism when it is played out.
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The Queer Life: Surrounding Myself in Queer Culture and Queer Spaces

The_Rainbow_Flag,_GLBT_Pride

Over the past few months, I have been deep in the throes of my thesis- conducting, transcribing, coding, and analyzing interviews- on homonationalism and scripting of student identities in study abroad. While my findings are still very preliminary, there has been a series of answers that have really stuck with me regarding “queer culture” and “queer space.” If you read my post about what homonormativity is, then you know that it involves the depoliticization and privatization of sexuality, while all in the name of heteronormativity. In this new norm, then, where is queer space? Is there a queer politics? Should there be a queer life?

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