24815360_18174dee30_m.jpgCBS news recently reprinted a quotation from Hillary Clinton’s discussion with reporters after jokingly challenging Barack Obama to a ‘bowl off.’ Clinton references Robert Putnam’s work on ‘bowling alone’ as a way of expressing our highly isolated social interactions.

“Bowling alone you know, this is a big sociological phenomenon, bowling alone is a sign of our times, we could bring it back we could like transform the entire society. People would start joining leagues again they would feel a sense of community a sense of togetherness, exactly, bowling alleys everywhere on every corner, people setting pins again. End the automation, get the pin boy, there is no telling what could happen!”

Sports journalist Dave Zirin has a weekly radio show on XM Channel 167 every Saturday at noon (Eastern time). Zirin has started a regular segment called “Ask A Sports Sociologist.” So far he’s had two sociologists as guests:

You can hear Zirin’s show online here.

Note for Non-Windows users: the files are in WMA format. If you’re on a Mac, just download and install either Perian or Flip4Mac (both are free) and you’ll be able to use QuickTime to hear them. If you’re on Linux, you’ll have to install your distribution’s restricted format packages. For example, instructions for Ubuntu users.

via Brayden King at orgtheory:

It turns out Tom Wolfe, the realist American novelist most famous for his Bonfire of the Vanities, is a bit of an amateur sociologist. Check out this interview with the New York Times’s Sam Tanenhaus in which Tom admits to falling in love with sociology.   (You can begin listening about 1/4 of the way into the interview.) During graduate school Tom became attracted to Weber’s theorizing of status, a concept that later figured prominently in many of Wolfe’s novels, especially in Bonfire.  In the last half of the interview Wolfe describes how he carefully builds status markers into his novels.

424520348_0eaf6fbbe0_m.jpgFollow this link to a fascinating interview by National Public Radio with Columbia sociologist Dana Fisher about the effectiveness of street protests in America.

42793083_5d6e45668a_m.jpgProfessor Nickie Charles of The University of Warwick will present a paper at the British Sociological Association (BSA) meetings later on how the traditional boundary between people and their pets is often blurred. Professor Charles’ research is based on a survey in which people were asked to map their relationships. In addition to including family and friends, many respondents asked if they should include their dog or cat.

UK Pets reported on the findings:

“Often the request was made with a smile, but about a quarter of those surveyed asked if they could include pets.

“In some ways it makes sense that people value those family and friends which are most useful to them. If pets are useful, either as assistance animals or simply as company, then they have greater emotional value to individuals than a relative we just keep on our Christmas card list.”

Of the 193 respondents, 44 spontaneously mentioned pets in constructing their  Relationship Network Diagrams.

In an interview with Nick Jackson recently published in The Independent, University of Oxford sociologist Diego Gambetta explains why engineers are more likely to become terrorists based on current and ongoing research.

“So why is this? Everyone’s first reaction is that they are recruited for their technical proficiency, but there’s no evidence for this. Recruiters say they look for a personality profile rather than technical skills.”

“So we are left with two ideas: that certain social conditions affect engineers more than other graduates; and that certain unobservable traits attracting people more to radical Islamism are a little more frequent among engineers. My co-author Steffen Hertog and I think it’s a combination of these two things.” Read on from The Independent. 

The Chicago Sun-Times picked up on a recent study published by sociologist Sylvia Fuller in the American Sociological Review.

Sun-Times reporter Francine Knowles reports:

“Sociologist Sylvia Fuller looked at data on roughly 6,000 workers during their first years in the labor market. For workers who stayed put, in the first five years of a job, each year of tenure is associated with roughly 2.4 percent higher wages for men and 2.9 percent higher wages for women, according to the research. Fuller also found that high-mobility workers tend to spend more time unemployed, and a greater portion of their job changes are the result of layoffs, contributing to lower wages.”

2284681757_3632d4a4fb_m.jpgA recent Washington Post article provided a glimpse into a recent fundraiser for Barack Obama held in Washington, DC. Sociologist Mary Pattillo was asked to weigh in on why young Black professionals have become so actively involved in fundraising for Obama.

“… ‘He is very familiar to them,’ says Mary Pattillo, a professor of sociology and African American studies at Northwestern University. ‘He’s done a great job of doing what middle-class blacks do, work in a predominantly white world but still maintain a sense of racial identity and groundedness.'”

“…College-educated African Americans remain an ‘elite’ group, said Pattillo, noting that just 17 percent of black adults ages 25 and over have undergraduate degrees. ‘They think it’s extraordinary that you have this eminently qualified man,’ said Candace Tolliver, a longtime Hill aide who now works as an Obama campaign spokeswoman. ‘They expect no less because that’s what they expect of themselves.'”

sleeping.jpgA new study from University of Maryland sociologists John P. Robinson and Steven Martin suggests that Americans are getting as much, if not more, sleep than they did 40 years ago. This study also made use of time diaries to determine how long Americans were sleeping, as opposed to previous studies that just asked respondents outright.

Key findings from the report:

“Sleep Patterns 1965-1995: There was little change in sleep averages during this period, particularly in comparison to the far larger shifts in time spent on housework, child care and watching TV. ‘The proverbial figure of eight hours per day (56 hours per week) has remained close to the diary norm for those aged 18 to 64 in each national study between 1965 and 1995,’ the report says.”

“Sleep Patterns 2003-2005: The time diaries collected by the federal government on an annual basis between 2003 and 2005 showed rising sleep averages – 8.2 hours on weeknights, 8.9 on Saturday and 9.5 on Sunday, a total increase of about three hours per week.”

“‘While these recent increases are statistically significant, we’re approaching them with some caution,’ says Maryland sociologist Steven Martin, the co-author of Not So Deprived. ‘The numbers didn’t change for more than 30 years. We want to see if these increases hold up in the long-run.'”

With the recent Spitzer scandal, media outlets have been discussing the issue of prostitution more frequently than usual. NPR interviewed sociologist Sudhir Venkatesh on the new form of this underground economy that has moved off the streets.  Listen here.