Welcome back! This week we bring you a series of special features showcasing reflections on racial dynamics in the Twin Cities and a special feature unpacking the potential benefits and challenges of requiring police officers to carry their own misconduct insurance.

Special Features:

Wonderful/Wretched Memories of Racial Dynamics in the Twin Cities, Minnesota” by Walter R. Jacobs. In this series, social scientists with ties to the Twin Cities share their stories and reflections about experiencing race in the “Land of 10,000 Lakes.”

If you are a social scientist who also has ties to the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul but now lives elsewhere, we’d love to include your stories as a component of this collective action. Stories from White social scientists as well as from social scientists of color are welcome, as we aspire to document the full range of experiences of the racial dynamics of the Twin Cities. Please send your reflections to Walt Jacobs at walt.jacobs@sjsu.edu.

In “How Individual Professional Liability Insurance Could Reform US Policing,” Stephen Wulff shows how police misconduct insurance would work in practice, and explains why more routinely holding individual officers financially accountable for their misconduct could reduce undue police violence.

From Our Partners:

Contexts:

Discrimination Affects Generations” by Kelsey Drotning.

Gender Sucks for You and Me” by Sydney Yarbrough.

Racial Disparities in Job Seeking” by Natasha Chhabra.

Council on Contemporary Families:

Uber-Rich Parents and Their Fixers May Be Just the Tip of the Iceberg. Turns Out It’s Hard for Teachers to Resist Pushy Parents” by Virginia Rutter.

Sociological Images:

Viral Votes & Activism in the New Public Sphere” by Evan Stewart and Bob Rice.

Party Affiliation in a Pandemic” by Ron Anderson.

From Our Community Pages:

The Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies discusses the need to dismantle white supremacy and reexamines the play Biedermann and the Arsonists as a parable of the complacency and cowardice of the common man.

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Welcome back! During the past two cataclysmic weeks, sociologists have been working to process the horrific murder of George Floyd. Some have channeled their thoughts and emotions into the pieces featured here on TSP. These include research examining the experiences with and attitudes towards police among Black residents of North Minneapolis, an analysis of how social movements like the recent protests for justice generate social consensus, and advice for educators working to make the world a more just and democratic place.

Discoveries:

Service and Social Class in College Students’ Plans” by Jean Marie Maier explores how participants in programs like Teach for America and Peace Corps differ by social class in their motivations for joining.

Public Assistance Provides Food and Shelter” by Allison Nobles. New research examines the relationship between cash assistance and food insecurity and student homelessness.

Teaching TSP:

Online Learning On the Fly, Lessons from Minnesota by Jillian LaBranche. A graduate-level “Teaching Sociology” course reports on how the mid-semester transition to online learning impacted the workload of teaching assistants.

Special Features:

Legal Estrangement and Police Reform in Minneapolis.” Michelle Phelps, Amber Joy Powell, and Christopher Robertson trace the process of police reform through the eyes of the local police, professionals and activists involved in reform, and residents in North Minneapolis, the residential community most impacted by high rates of poverty, racial segregation, street crime, and police contact.

From Our Partners:

Council on Contemporary Families:

When “Helicopters” Go to School: Who Gets Rescued and Who Gets Left Behind?” by Jessica McCrory Calarco.

Can This Time at Home Help Your Marriage?” by Barbara Risman.

Sociological Images:

Conflict Brings Us Together” by Evan Stewart.

From Our Community Pages:

Dispatches from a Dean suggests tangible steps that we can take as social scientists and educators to contribute to solutions to social problems.

Cyborgology examines the social psychology of “Zoom fatigue” and the risks and challenges of online sex work.

Sociological Toolbox explains how the disproportionate use of lethal force by police officers against Blacks is measured and provides actionable steps that antiracists can take to further social equity.

The Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies explores how a genocide’s number of casualties is used in debates over true victimhood and recaps an interview with Ran Zwigenberg about survivor politics, the gendered dimensions of social work, praxis of care, and the notion of social trauma.

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Welcome back! This week, we feature new research on media verification, a reflection on the advantages of e-service learning, and a synthesis of TSP titles commemorating this strange semester’s end.

Discoveries:

Check it out, or check out? When audiences spend extra time with content” by Nick Mathews. New research investigates whether people are more likely to verify content when it comes from a source they distrust or one they consider credible. The results may surprise you.

Teaching TSP:

Social distancing is no reason to stop service learning – just do it online.” In this article reposted from The Conversation, Marianne Krasny argues that online service learning can be just as valuable as service learning done in person — and sometimes more.

The Editors’ Desk:

In “Ode to TSP: COVID-19 Edition,” Amy August “celebrates” one of the strangest and most challenging semesters we’ve faced, using the titles of recent and classic TSP posts.

TSP Classics:

Screen Time in Summer Time” by Amy August. Last year, The Atlantic talked with Jessica Calarco about how screen time guidelines make assumptions that may not be true for all families. In the time of the Covid-19 school closures, her message seems especially apt.

From Our Partners:

Contexts:

Who Gets to Define What’s ‘Racist?’” by Musa al-Gharbi.

From Our Community Pages:

Cyborgology asks, “What’s so funny about derogatory memes?

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In “celebration” of the most challenging academic semester of our lives, our summer grad editor Amy August challenged herself to write a column based only on recent and classic TSP titles. Here’s what she produced. Feel free to link to actual stories along the way!  

As the Coronavirus pandemic spread, Krogers experienced a toilet paper shortage. Photo by Danielteolijr via Wikipedia.

During the Coronavirus Pandemic, it would be ludicrous to claim that there were No Big Surprises in the First Month. From the beginning, it started to seem like  We Are Living In A Computer Simulation and that Computer Voices are “Calling the Shots:” We had to “Take Courage,” they said. And so we asked ourselves Why We are Uncomfortable Talking to Our Computers, and Whose Problem Is It? that we don’t have enough toilet paper. How can we continue Squatting with Dignity in India and everywhere else without Some Resources that are absolutely necessary? We started to imagine The bathroom of the future, pondering topics like, just How does a waterless urinal work? (But, then again, What’s Ikea for? if not supplying answers to these Big Questions.)

Education Under COVID-19 has changed as well, and even though our own American Parents Emphasize Hard Work, we’re still not used to seeing that Caring is Work. As teachers and TAs, there are at least Three Reasons You Might Be Exhausted Right Now, but probably many more. Nobody is good enough, and we may accomplish Perfection, but not Brilliance, no matter what we do. It seems that Students of All Backgrounds Prefer Teachers of Color, but also Community Building in the Classroom. After all, Online learning will be hard for kids whose schools close – and the digital divide will make it even harder for some of them.

We keep trying to be The Way We Still Never Were, but “Doing Nothing” During the COVID-19 Suspension of everything is not an option. Merely acclimating to the new  “Normal” Is Not Good Enough. We must engage in Spring Cleaning, Food Shopping, and succumb to The Drain of Doing the Dishes. Make sure to Do Your Chores (Whatever They Are), lest you wind up living in a Care Vacuum. There really is No Rest for the Weary.

Moreover, we have entered a time When Breadwinning Is Not Enough; now we have to be Superheroes at work as well. We stretch the Definition of ’Hero’ when we say, “ This guy is my new hero!” everytime we go to the grocery store or convenient care. Yet we still don’t know How to Honor our Heroes adequately, and these Changes in How and When We Die are hard to handle. 

But depending on Where You’re From? you may now face Too Many Choices with regard to your time. Some of us have traded in Working for the Long Weekend for the indefinite future. The appropriate answer to the question, “Whose Time is it?”: your time! Some of us have managed to combine Work + Leisure = Weisure quite effectively, after all. Others have used the time to become YouTuber Influencers. (What is an internet celebrity anyway?)

While some may be writing odes On Graduate School Misery, the TSP editors and grad board have handled all of this with Creative Resistance and The beauty and strength of Wonder Woman. As they say, The More Things Change. And we’ve gotta be at least Halfway There by now. To this, I say, Frack Yes! and make a (hopefully) Graceful Exit

Happy Friday! This week, we feature a guest post on the UFC; a reflection on TSP, community, and belonging; and new research on hip hop. We also share sociological accounts of Covid caretaking and the illusion-destroying power of the pandemic.

Features:

In “Refusing to Throw in the Towel,” Kyle Green and Nancy Kidder examine the story of the UFC’s decision to resume fighting and what it reveals about the social pressures sporting organizations face in returning to action.

The Editors’ Desk:

In “Ode to TSP,” graduate editor Allison Nobles shares a heartfelt reflection on her time at the helm of The Society Pages.

Discoveries:

Emcees and Communities, Black Placemaking as Artist-Shaping” by Neeraj Rajasekar. We bring you new research exploring how hip hop artists build community resilience and solidarity as they bring their artistic visions to life.

From Our Partners:

Council on Contemporary Families:

Connecting Crises of Carework in the Era of Coronavirus” by Amber Crowell and Jennifer Randles.

From Our Community Pages:

Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies discusses connections between Wilhelm II’s Germany and Trump’s USA.

A Backstage Sociologist explores how the pandemic serves to remind us of the human condition.

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Friday was the final TSP Board meeting for long-time member and graduate editor Allison Nobles. Allison marked the occasion with some remarkably candid and heartfelt reflections of her time on TSP, which she generously agreed to share with our readers. Although a bit more backstage than our usual TSP fare, we offer Allison’s remarks because they are such a powerful tribute to the special group of graduate students who make TSP possible–AND because it’s more important than ever to share such moments of gratitude, grace, and togetherness with each other in the face of the COVID-19 crisis.

— TSP Editors Doug Hartmann and Chris Uggen

The TSP crew at Allison and Bala’s wedding, Summer 2019. Photo by Penny Photographics.

In the spring semester of my first year in grad school, in 2015, several of my cohort-mates joined The Society Pages (TSP). I tried to pretend not to be interested, but in reality, I was super jealous. I remember one morningI heard the TSP crew laughing from another room. It just sounded like everyone was having a great time. Plus, my cohort-mates were actually writing stuff in their first year of grad school and sharing it all over facebook — “look at this new thing I wrote!” 

I knew I had to get in there. 

Essentially, The Society Pages  is a website where grad students (and others) write stuff about sociological research — what new research is coming out, how sociology can speak to current events, and so on. But it’s much, much more than that. TSP supplies you with all sorts of intangible skills and social connections that go beyond its purpose on paper. 

For me, TSP was a community, a space where I found friendship and support, and a place where I learned I had value. Maybe that sounds harsh — but as a grad student in my early 20s, constantly struggling with imposter syndrome and trying to figure out my place in the world, I seriously needed that validation. Through my time with TSP, I learned that my writing is worth reading, that people actually want to know my opinions, that they cherish my friendship, and that they value my leadership. 

I also learned a lot about the field of sociology, about academia, and I picked up quite a few useful skills along the way. Sociology is HUGE, diverse, and I learned that mostly, I like all of it. It doesn’t have to be boring — there’s plenty of space for creativity in sociology — and it doesn’t have to be jargony or confusing for the sake of being confusing. In my time at TSP, I came to truly value public sociology and doing public sociology in a way that can be understood by people who don’t know much about it. 

Here’s another big thing I learned: my colleagues are freaking awesome. When you’re in grad school, it’s hard to get a sense of your fellow grad students’ talents, skills, and ambitions (again, see imposter syndrome). You often don’t even get to read anything they’ve written until it’s published in a journal. In TSP, you not only get to see people write stuff pretty often, you get to workshop their writing during Friday meetings, hear their creative ideas in brainstorming sessions, and listen to why they are passionate about particular research during the days we pitch discovery articles. And if you pay attention, you also learn what your colleagues are good at: you see who is great at rephrasing things other people say, who asks really detailed questions you never would have thought of, who sees the “big picture,” who can type and talk at the same time, who gives constructive yet supportive feedback, who can teach you how to do a literature search without making you feel like a kindergartener, and whose energy makes everyone else perk up. To all of my colleagues during my time at TSP, I’m so glad I got to learn about you.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that I spent nearly my whole term as grad student editor suffering some pretty serious and persistent concussion symptoms. I spend a lot of time thinking about how much more I could have done if that wasn’t the case, how much more I could have written, the new blogs I could have started, the ideas that never came to fruition. But I’m going to trust my very smart colleagues who have told me numerous times what a good job I’ve done as editor — and I know from the way they say it there isn’t an asterisk that says “even though you had a brain injury.” 

I’ve never told anyone this, but I think in some ways TSP saved me during the past two years. Sure, maybe sometimes I pushed myself too hard or tried to do more than my brain was capable of because I was editor and felt like I couldn’t take a break. But I probably would have done that no matter what. TSP gave me a supportive space to still feel productive — something I desperately needed (see definition of grad student). It also kept me connected to people. I wasn’t able to attend very many things in the department at that time or really go out and do anything (I was social distancing before it was cool). TSP was my community. I showed up every Friday for our board meeting — often wearing dark sunglasses and a floppy hat — knowing I would be greeted with smiles, hugs, and sometimes bagels. 

For all of those things and more, I say thank you.

Welcome Back! This week, we feature guest posts on death and COVID-19 and on the challenges of communicating via Zoom. We also bring you research on carework and historical changes in the mortality rate, and an analysis of the reopening of Taiwanese baseball.

Features:

It’s true. Isolated COVID-19 deaths are terrible. But where does inequality fit in?Karen Lutfey Spencer and Aubrey Limburg show us that while coronavirus heightens existing inequalities, death may be the “great equalizer.”

Group Interaction in the Age of Zoom.” Ron Anderson examines how symbolic interactionism can help us to better understand the differences between online and in-person communication.

There’s Research on That:

Caring is Work” by Allison Nobles. We round up research on different forms of carework performed historically and around the world.

Changes in How and When We Die” by Jean Marie Maier. We round up epidemiological research explaining how the relationship between human beings and disease has changed over time.

From Our Partners:

Contexts:

Sociologist on the Hill with Dr. Scott Winship” by Josh McCabe.

Council on Contemporary Families:

An Interview with Judith Warner about her new book on Middle Schoolers” by Arielle Kuperberg.

From Our Community Pages:

Engaging Sports examines nationalism in Taiwan as the nation’s professional baseball teams return to play in stadiums without fans.

Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies interviews author and illustrator Nora Krug about her new visual memoir of her German family history and WWII.

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Welcome Back! This week, we spotlight medical sociologists’ analyses of how COVID-19 will affect the equity, delivery, and organization of the US healthcare system. We also feature new research on fertility decision-making.

Features:

COVID-19: Dispatches from Medical Sociology.” Tania M. Jenkins and Elaine M. Hernandez team up in this four-part series to provide insight on how the current COVID-19 pandemic is changing the landscape of American healthcare.

Discoveries:

Siblings and Coworkers as Fertility Influencers” by Jean Marie Maier. New research shows that the decision to have kids is contagious. Find out which members of women’s personal networks are the most influential.

From Our Partners:

Contexts:

COVID-19 and the Future of Society” by Rashawn Ray and Fabio Rojas.

Council on Contemporary Families:

Your Gift to Health Care Providers, Yourself, and Your Family” by Stefan Timmermans and Chloe Bird.

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Welcome Back! This week, we feature a sociological review of the new Netflix drama Orthodox and research showing how social distancing might shape demand for sexbots. We also share new research on multiracial churches and women in leadership.

Features:

In “Love, Sex (Dolls) and Robots in the Age of Coronavirus?Katherine Bright examines what sex-toys-for-hire can teach us about the intersections of eroticism, technology, and consumerism.

Unorthodox Captures Many Truths of Leaving Hasidic Communities” by Schneur Zalman Newfield. This review highlights three themes of the exit process from religion that are backed by research and dramatized in Unorthodox.

Discoveries:

Gendered Risk and Leadership Ambitions” by Jean Marie Maier. New research helps explain why many women turn down leadership opportunities.

White Pastors Hoard Social Capital” by Erika Sanborne. We bring you new research revealing differences in Black and white pastors’ access to the resources that come from social relationships.

From Our Partners:

Contexts:

Education under COVID-19” by Rashawn Ray and Fabio Rojas.

Council on Contemporary Families:

Sex and Consent on Campus: Definitions, Dilemmas, and New Directions” by Deborah L. Rhode.

Sociological Images:

Partisanship and the Pandemic” by Morgan C. Matthews.

From Our Community Pages:

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Welcome Back! This week, we share ASA’s COVID-19 resources for instructors along with research to help explain why teaching and meeting online can be so exhausting. We also feature new health research on the impacts of discrimination and anti-vaxxers’ complicated attitudes about medical interventions.

The Editors’ Desk:

Sociological Resources from ASA During COVID-19.” We bring the invaluable sociological resources made available on ASA’s website to TSP’s broader audience.

Discoveries:

How Children’s Discrimination Harms Mothers’ Health” by Allison Nobles. New research explores the “spillover effects” of stressors like unfair treatment on the health of family members.

“Calling the Shots:” Anti-Vaxxers and Medicinal Intervention” by Jillian LaBranche. New research shows that, despite anti-vaxxers’ strong feelings about pharmaceutical interventions, many do not reject them all.

Teaching TSP:

Three Reasons You Might Be Exhausted Right Now” by Erika Sanborne. Social psych research weighs in on why videoconferencing can feel so draining.

In “Teaching synchronously? Asynchronously? Which is really better?,” Erika Sanborne weighs the pros and cons of each method, and reminds instructors: hang in there and be kind to yourself–you’re probably doing great!

From Our Partners:

Contexts:

Welfare Policy, Prisons, and Families during the COVID-19 Pandemic” by Rashawn Ray and Fabio Rojas.

Inequality during the Coronavirus Pandemic” by Rashawn Ray and Fabio Rojas.

Council on Contemporary Families:

Fixing Parental Leave: The Six Month Solution” by Gayle Kaufman.

From Our Community Pages:

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