Jill Weinberg is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at Tufts University and an affiliated scholar at the American Bar Foundation.  In this episode, we discuss her research on how ordinary people define justice and injustice and how social context informs their definitions. In particular, we focus on Jill’s use of post-it notes to gather responses and how this methodological choice mitigates the researcher’s impact in the field and empowers respondents as they engage with what many view as a highly emotional topic.

 

Hi all,
The Give Methods a Chance podcast is taking a summer vacation. We will be using the time off to finish our first Give Methods a Chance book!
See you in the Fall with new podcast content.

Kyle & Sarah

In this episode we welcome Madison Van Oort, Ph.D candidate at the University of Minnesota. Madison conducts research in the areas of fast-fashion and low-wage labor in the 21st century. The format of the conversation will be slightly different than past episodes, as Madison joins us to reflect on the strengths and limitations of the discourse and semiotic analysis that she employed in collaboration with me (Kyle Green), to study how companies employed the crisis of masculinity to sell products. Our co-authored article, “We Wear No Pants: Selling the Crisis of Masculinity in the 2010 Super Bowl Commercials” can be found in Signs (Spring 2013 Vol. 38, No. 3). I enjoyed the chance to participate with in some of the methodological reflections and hope you enjoy the conversation as much we did.

“Semiotic analysis is never objective and it is never absolute. I don’t think that we were ever claiming that we were taking an objective approach. Instead, I think we just kind of came at it as two sociologists with somewhat similar, but also somewhat different, academic training and with eyes toward different kinds of signs and symbols.”
Madison Van Oort- 

*The commercials that we discussed on this podcast can be found here.

In this episode we are joined by R. Tyson Smith, Visiting Assistant Professor of Sociology at Haverford College. Tyson conducts research in the areas of health, gender, social psychology, criminal justice, and the military. He joins us to discuss the ethnographic approach he employs in his book, Fighting for Recognition: Identity, Masculinity, and the Act of Violence in Professional Wrestling.

 

Jay Borchert is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Sociology and a Population Studies Center Trainee at the University of Michigan, as well as a Visiting Scholar at the Center for the Study of Law & Society at UC Berkeley School of Law. We discuss research he conducted for his dissertation titled “Mass Incarceration, The Profession of Corrections, and the Way Prison Workers Construct Meanings about their Participation in our Punishment State,” where he conducted ethnographic observation of prisons and semi-structured interviews with correctional officers.

“Dramatic things happened all the time in the prisons. It’s important to be able to manage your emotions and your reactions in those situations. Many prisons have been built in areas of extreme poverty and isolation, particularly in the case of Kentucky. The characteristics of local political economies make going to work in prisons – which is a stable job, with benefits – a logical, if not pleasant, choice for a lot of people. Their choices are understandable. Going in with a judgmental attitude just makes no sense if we claim to know anything about our history and our politics – particularly our racial politics. It makes no sense to do that if we really want to work toward solving social problems.”
 – Jay Borchert – 

In this episode, C.J. Pascoe, Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Oregon, joins us to discuss the ethnographic research she conducted for her award-winning book, Dude, You’re a Fag: Masculinity and Sexuality in High School. We discuss the joys of being an ethnographer, the difficulties of accessing youth culture, and how entering the school allowed C.J. a more nuanced understanding of contemporary masculinity.

“What was really interesting was that when I started watching young people and their gendered practices and enactment and also then listening to what they were saying in their reflections about gendered meaning and practices, I didn’t always see and hear things that were congruent with one another. I’d see these young men homophobically harass one each other—call each other ‘fag’, call each other ‘gay’. Then when I did an interview with some man who had engaged in some of that harassment and I asked him about homophobia, he would be like, ‘oh no, gay guys should totally be able to get married’.” 

– C.J. Pascoe – 

 

In this episode, we talk with Alejandro Baer, Associate Professor of Sociology and Director of the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at the University of Minnesota.

In this study, Alejandro and his colleagues sought to understand the specific discourse around anti-semitic sentiments amongst different cultural groups in Spain. To study this difficult to measure construct, the researchers created homogenous discussion groups of 7 to 9 people, led by a trained moderator. Participants were of similar demographics, leading to a ‘group discourse mode’ that revealed the structures of meaning different groups use to discuss their views on minority groups.

“When you design your groups, they have to be internally homogenous and externally heterogeneous. All of the individuals of one group share certain similarities in terms of age, political orientation, or of religious origin. You cannot put together left wing activists with conservative religious individuals of a totally different age. That’s not the idea. We want to capture the discourse they will share, not what makes them different.
– Alejandro Baer – 

Happy New Year listeners! We are pleased to celebrate one year of methods podcasting with you.

Exciting news will come in 2016. Stay tuned, keep listening, and please – give methods a chance.

In this episode, we talk with Christopher Wildeman , Associate Professor of Policy Analysis and Management at Cornell University. His research and teaching interests revolve around the consequences of mass imprisonment for inequality, with emphasis on families, health, and children. He is also interested in child welfare, especially as relates to child maltreatment and the foster care system.

We talk about his article on child maltreatment, published in Pediatrics, and discuss how his research team used existing datasets in new ways to reveal better estimates of child maltreatment rates.

“Most of the statistics that we have are based on either annual rates or daily rates of experiencing some specific event. And so the technique that I use, which is called synthetic cohort life tables, is basically just a way to say: based on one year’s data, what proportion of folks could expect to experience an event at some point in their life?”
– Chris Wildeman –

In this episode, we are joined by Dr. Clifton Evers. Clifton is a member of the Media, Culture, Heritage unit at Newcastle University. He joins us to discuss mobile video ethnography and his use of GoPro cameras to better capture and understand affects, emotion, and masculinity through the study of surfing. Clifton’s chapter on this topic can be found in the recently published edited volume Researching Embodied Sport: Exploring Movement Cultures

I started carrying a very old Handycam everywhere and shooting footage. I eventually got frustrated because I was stuck on land. And, what a lot of the men would speak about or what they would experience in terms of emotions, affects, and embodied experience was happening in the water. So how does one do video research in the sea?

– Clifton Evers –