Make four signs labeled “agree,” “strongly agree,” “disagree,” and “strongly disagree.” Hang one sign in each corner of the room.
Tell participants that you will read a statement about power (listed below). After you read the first, participants should move to stand under the sign that most closely reflects their reaction to the statement.
After participants have assembled under the signs, ask each group to discuss why they picked that position and choose a spokesperson to explain their rationale to the entire group.
After each group presents its opinion, as participants to return to the center of the room, then disperse, again, to the sign that most closely represents their reaction to the same statement. If they choose, participants can change their position. Ask a few to explain whether and why they changed—or did not change—their position after hearing out the other groups.
Repeat for each statement, adding or subtracting to alter the length of the exercise.
Statements about Power:
You can’t get anything done without power.
Power is connected to race (class/gender/etc.).
People or organizations that want to change things in their community should seek power.
In our volume Crime and the Punished, we featured our interview with sociologist-filmmakers Shadd Maruna and Fergus McNeill. This activity builds from their film:
How and why people stop committing crime is an important question. “Discovering Desistance,” by Sarah Lageson and Sarah Shannon describes how two social scientists “co-created” “The Road from Crime,” a film about desistance from the perspective of former prisoners and the practitioners who work with them. Watch the 50-minute film as you consider these discussion questions:
In what ways might the criminal justice system promote reoffending?
According to the filmmakers, desistance is both an “internal” and an “external” process. Where do you see internal and external processes in the film.
What punishment policies might be changed, added, or abandoned to better promote desistance?
Most people who work in the criminal justice system have never been convicted of serious crimes. How might the system be different if it incorporated more input from people who had been punished under it?
After watching the film, imagine that you are a social worker in a community to which many ex-prisoners return. What resources do you think you’d need to address community needs and help former inmates desist from crime? What community leaders or organizations would you need to enlist for support? Discuss your thoughts in a group and draw up a list of the “stakeholders” whose voices are critical for designing your policy.
Linda Catalano is a sociologist at Queens College and Hunter College. Follow her on Twitter at @SocThing.
Selfies, I’ve found, are a terrific way to begin to get across George Herbert Mead’s distinction between the “I” and the “me,” which students can find difficult to grasp and tend to resist. I’ve developed an exercise that incorporates selfies which works fairly well, but I suspect that there are even better ways of using selfies that draw out more of Mead than I’ve been able to do.
I’ve been using a textbook (Edles & Applerouth 2010) with several selections from Mind, Self & Society (Mead 1934) in which Mead outlines his famous concept of the self as incorporating two phases, the “I” and the “me.” I was surprised to discover that my students have considerable trouble with this notion, and given the choice, avoid questions about it on exams.
Why students resist. Students don’t like Mead for many reasons. Aside from the fact that they often have trouble with his long and convoluted prose, students tend to have several conceptual difficulties. First, they have trouble with the way that, for Mead, social reality is all process. Students tend to feel their conceptual ground turn into quicksand, that they have nothing to hang on to. more...
The following is a guest post written by Kyle Green and Alex Manning. Kyle and Alex are sociology Ph.D students at the University of Minnesota. Kyle is a member of The Society Pages graduate board and co-host of the Office Hours podcast. His research focuses on culture, sport, gender, and the body. Alex researches race, youth, parenting, and sport.
This World Cup, soccer is on American’s minds at levels never reached before. Fans are filling bars, coffee shops, and even massive stadiums to cheer on the US national team. World Cup fervor has led many in the U.S. media to ask the once every four-year question, “has soccer made it in America?” Large television numbers, a sizeable number of American fans supporting in Brazil (Americans bought 7% percent of world cup tickets, only trailing Brazilians), large participation numbers, and increased youth consumption of the game, have all contributed to public discussion about the game’s popularity and place in the United States. While there has been much excitement surrounding soccer and the World Cup, some have reacted to the popularity of the tournament with fear, dismissal, and outrage (here and here).
Audience: This activity would work well in a number of courses including Introduction to Sociology, Race, Class, & Gender, Sport & Society, and Sociology of Consumption.
Summary: In this activity the class works together drawing on personal experiences and associations with soccer to think about the social spaces the sport fills and to connect the participation and consumption patterns of the sport to larger social trends. In doing so the students will use their sociological imagination to begin to understand the fervor, both positive and negative, surrounding the World Cup. more...
This year I taught Introduction to Sociology. In order to discuss the power of discourse in society, I showed by students Chimamanda Adichie’s 2009 TED Talk called “The Danger of a Single Story“. My students were enamored. We had a fascinating and engaging discussion about single stories and the ways in which they affected my students’ lives and their engagement with the world around them. As a result of this phenomenal class, I developed the following assignment that I thought other sociologists would like to adapt to fit their courses.
Assignment Description and Instructions:
Chimamanda Adichie passionately and clearly teaches us the “danger of a single story” in her 2009 TED Talk. (You can find it here: http://www.npr.org/2013/09/20/186303292/what-are-the-dangers-of-a-single-story). Adichie demonstrates the ways in which our society is a collection of social stories or narratives, the most pervasive and controlling of which are/were manufactured by people with social power (the power elite).
Single stories can include stereotypes, ideologies and, what sociologists call, cultural hegemony. Stereotypes are overly simplistic generalizations about a subgroup of peoples. Those that “stick” often are constructed by people with power and used to limit opportunities for the stereotypes’ subjects. Ideologies are sets of ideas that shape how people make sense of the world around them. Depending on the social power of those holding and employing these ideologies, they can have significant impact on social structures and the life chances of others. Cultural hegemony is a system beliefs, norms, and values, shaped by the ruling-class, that justifies the status-quo as natural or normal, and thus makes it invisible. These discourses shape what is knowable and sayable in any given context.
For your papers, you will select a societal single story and analyze it. The first paper will examine a stereotype, the second an ideology, and the third a hegemonic narrative. For each, you will explore the story, its origins, its functions, and its impact on society. You will then examine the alternative stories: those told by the victims of the single story and/or those who are able to see through the discursive fog. Finally, you will propose ways to change the story both in your daily life and on a broader scale. As you move through these projects, also reflect on the ways in which stereotypes, ideologies, and hegemonic narratives are intertwined/not clearly separated. more...
As hookup culture on college campuses seems relevant (or at least an interesting topic of discussion) to students in my classes, I spend a class during the weeks on gender and sexuality addressing the sociological debates about hooking up and casual sex. There is no shortage of readings that could be assigned on this topic, including many popular media articles. One of the readings that I always assign, “Is hooking up bad for young women?” from Contexts a few years ago by Elizabeth Armstrong, Laura Hamilton, and Paula England, does a great job of outlining the debates about hookup culture that continue to be relevant. (This article was also the focus of another Teaching TSP post several years ago). I also have them read Hanna Rosin’s article from The Atlantic and Lisa Wade’s response from Soc Images.
One of the points of discussion, the sexual double standard, is repeatedly brought up with frustration by female students in my classes. Why are women who have casual sex considered sluts while men are practically given a medal for hooking up? As I initially struggled to navigate these discussions, I turned to an unlikely place for guidance, the classic musical Grease. Who hasn’t belted out “Summer Lovin’” on the dance floor with friends?
As Sandra Dee (Olivia Newton John ) and Danny Zuko (John Travolta) trade off singing about their summer romance, they seem to be describing two different relationships. Sandra Dee tells her friends, “He was sweet, just turned eighteen,” as Danny dishes, “She was good, you know what I mean?” This song, it turns out, is a perfect illustration of different gender norms when it comes to sexuality.
For the class activity, I have students divide a sheet of paper into two columns with one side for Sandra Dee and the other for Danny Zuko. As they watch the Summer Lovin’ footage from Grease, I ask them to take notes in each column of quotes or themes from the song that reflect gender norms and the sexual double standard. Afterwards, we make a list on the board of the stark differences in gender norms around sexuality.
I use this activity as a jumping off point from which to discuss the roots of the sexual double standard and some of the issues with hookup culture. Some questions that we consider in class discussion include:
1) How could hooking up be considered bad for men or women or both? What could you argue are the benefits to hooking up?
2) How do gender norms operate within hookup culture (Lisa Wade’s article does a particularly good job of outlining this issue)?
3) Does hookup culture have the potential to disrupt the sexual double standard or to change gender norms?
Teaching about whiteness is a sensitive subject that requires tact, humility, and patience. While learning about whiteness is critical for all students, regardless of race, the subjective connections many white students have to whiteness itself can stir up intense emotions we must be ready to wrestle with. Learning about white privilege forces white students to grapple with the ubiquity of unquestioned worldviews and assumptions about their biographies. It also forces white students to interrogate their experiences as beneficiaries of a set of social, economic and political advantages. In short, confronting whiteness necessitates a self-imposed threat to one’s integrity and achievements attributed to individual will.
I. You can begin your lecture by presenting students with a couple of scenarios.
Active learning exercises
Imagine a scenario in which a black woman and a white woman are both shopping in the same grocery store. After collecting all of their items, both women enter the same checkout line. The white woman is before the black woman in line. When the white woman is checking out, she presents the cashier with a check. The cashier accepts the check and completes the transaction. When the black woman is checking out, she also presents the cashier with a check. However, the cashier says “I’m going to have to see some identification.” The cashier also makes clear that the ID must be a state/government-issued ID (e.g. Driver’s license, passport). Student ID’s or employee badges are unacceptable. How did whiteness function (or not) for each woman?
Kareem is a 23-year old African-American male. He’s applied for several jobs without receiving a call back from prospective employers. After several fruitless attempts to find work, Kareem decides to deliberately use his middle name, John, on all subsequent job applications. Within two days of submitting an application, Kareem receives a call from a prospective employer asking him to come in for an interview. How do you see Kareem’s interview unfolding?
II. Here are some questions to orient class discussion.
How is a commitment to whiteness also a commitment to white supremacy, capitalism, imperialism, and heteropatriarchy?
Whose whiteness is accepted/declined? What social contexts promote one outcome over the other?
How will your students become more responsible or achieve what some describe as“color consciousness”?
III. Next, introduce the image below.
IV. Ask students what they think this image implies. V. Here are four metaphorical meanings to consider.
Visa as the credit card. “It’s everywhere you want to be.” The issue is that it’s also everywhere I(and other people of color) want to be too.
Visa (as a travel authorization document). I see whiteness operating as a sort of passport for some, as well as a pass-port for certain others (i.e. mixed-race or racially-ambiguous folk).
Visa as a form of currency constantly being exchanged between all racial/ethnic groups within the interpersonal marketplaces of society. This means that whiteness is not solely exercised by whites, but also appropriated by nonwhites.
Similar to an actual Visa credit card, whiteness is a transnational form of currency accepted worldwide and often wielded as a means of legitimating imperialist aims.
To learn more about whiteness and other un-interrogated cognitive frames, feel free to check out the following literature:
Feagin, Joe R. 2010. The White Racial Frame: Centuries of Racial Framing and Counter-Framing. New York, NY: Routledge.
Lipsitz, George. 2006. The Possessive Investment in Whiteness: How White People Profit from Identity Politics. Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press.
Mills, Charles W. 1997. The Racial Contract. New York, NY: Cornell University Press.
As many Sociology and Feminist blogs are writing, it’s that time of year. The racist, classist, homophobic, sexist tendencies and expressions make me cringe.
This morning, for my Soc 101 class — a large lecture setting of over 150 students — I decided to offer an extra credit project. As discussed previously, students struggle with this large GE style class. I like to offer meaningful, analytical extra credit projects through out the semester.
I want to give a shout out to the scholars, blogs and websites that had all the material available. :-) I would love to keep adding to this assignment and publish a bit earlier in the fall for next year. So, I welcome you to post additional links. For example, I don’t have a “working class” resource but we certainly have seen offensive “white trash” parties, costumes, etc.
PS — My own kids are going trick-or-treating as twin witches. I have a 4 year old Pablo and a 3 year old Cecilia. Pablito chose their costumes. We usually do about four houses, and then head back to our own house to hand out candy. Our block is pretty scary for Halloween!
The Sociology of Halloween
STEP 1 – DO SOME RESEARCH AND LEARNING (RACE / GENDER)
STEP 2 — OBSERVE YOUR SOCIAL WORLD
Whether you dress up or not, on Thursday check out the costumes people are wearing. Become an embedded Sociologist as you attend parties, while you are at work, go trick-or-treating with your kids, or just walk around outside.
Note what people are wearing, note the racial undertones (or racist costumes), the gender performances of men and women in their costumes, etc. Note how people dress their dogs, kids, etc., on these issues as well.
Write up what you see / hear in detail. Insert photos in your word document if you wish. Do this Friday, so your memory is fresh!! (You can send me your notes if you want to show me your progress.)
Then, reflect explicitly on what you have learned from the above websites and resources. Include the course material from Unit 4 / Forest&Trees Chapter 3. Be sure you are clear about what sources you are using and drawing upon in your discussion. Tie all this together — what you see, what you learned, and your reflections.
No need to do “official” citations but do mention the website, video, or author as you reflect on them.
Aim for 2-3 pages of text. Turn in a paper copy to me in class AND post on “Caring is Sharing Forum” at the top of our course website.
DUE DATE — Wednesday, November 6 in class / uploaded that night. Earn up to five points!!!
You can follow Dr. Clark-Ibáñez on Twitter at @MCIcsusm
The following is a collection of films, both fiction and non-fiction, that have been recommended for use in a Sport and Society course.
We encourage you to recommend additional films, readings to be used alongside the films, or tell us about your experience.
*Special thanks to the NASSS community for providing so many suggestions.
Sport Films (Non-fiction):
Go Tigers! (2001)
Jump! (2007) – Awesome jump rope documentary
Rocks with Wings (2002) (dir: Rick Derby)
100% Woman: the Michelle Dumaresq Story (2004)
Golden Gloves (or the Real Million Dollar Babies) (2007)
A League of Their Own (the documentary film) (1993)
Training Rules (2009) – It concerns the scandal around former Penn State Women’s Basketball Coach, Rene Portland. Maybe available on Hulu.
When We Were Kings (1996)
Playing Unfair (2002)
Football Under Cover
Pink Ribbons, Inc. (2011) – Samantha King
A Hero for Daisy (1999) – a documentary about Title IX and rowing
PBS series “American Experience” has an episode on Jesse Owens – you can screen it online.
Ahead of the Majority – It covers Patsy Mink’s political career and includes a section on her involvement in the politics of Title IX.
Bigger, Stronger, Faster (2008) – examples of hegemonic masculinity and how the media influences males’ self-images (not just females, as is so commonly discussed).
Hoop Dreams (1994) – [can be combined with the chapter by C.L. Cole and Samantha King, “The New Politics of Urban Consumption: Hoop Dreams, Clockers, and America,” in Ralph C. Wilcox, ed., Sporting Dystopias: The Making and Meaning of Urban Sport Cultures, pp. 14, 221-246.]
Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson (2004)
In Whose Honor
Not Just A Game (2010) – Dave Zirin provides a sociological analysis of how sport influences our society, particularly the parallels between the institution of sport and the military.
Pursuing the Perfect 10 – This was a CNN documentary that is available on YouTube in several parts. I used it as a review after lessons on youth sports and deviance in sports
Murderball (2005) – documentary film about tetraplegic athletes who play wheelchair rugby. It centers on the rivalry between the Canadian and U.S. teams leading up to the 2004 Paralympic Games.
Junior –documentary that follows a Canadian Hockey League team from the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League called Baie-Comeau Drakker http://www.nfb.ca/film/Junior_en
Head Games (2012) – related to concussion and sport.
More Than a Game – Documents the early career of the heralded LeBron James’ high school experiences.
FIT: Episodes in the History of he Body (1991). This focuses on the history of the how we understand a ‘fit’ body, including analysis related to race, social class, gender, disability and age.
The Journey of the African American Athlete” (Parts 1 and 2)
Blood on the Flat Track – documentary on the rat city roller girls
Sonicsgate: Requiem for a Team
Joe Louis – America’s Hero Betrayed
Two Days In April – follows four NFL prospects through the process of preparing for and participating in the 2006 NFL Draft
4th and Goal – Tale of six men trying to make it to the NFL
Undefeated – Oscar-winning 2011 documentary directed by Daniel Lindsay and T.J. Martin. The film documents the struggles of a high school football team, the Manassas Tigers of Memphis, as they attempt a winning season after years of losses.
Born and Bred – documentary following young latino boxers in LA
The Morgan Lacrosse Story (pbs) – This film tells the story of the nation’s first and only college lacrosse team at a historically black institution.
Gridiron & Steel – Western Pennsylvania and football
On the Shoulders of Giants – Story of the Harlem Rens
Dogtown and Z Boys (2001) – The development of skateboarding in Southern California, great for revealing subcultural dynamics.
First Descent (2005) – A history of snowboarding and insight into the gender and age dynamics within core action sport groups.
This Ain’t California (2012) – In German with English subtitles, but offers a fascinating perspective on the development of skateboarding (and youth counter cultures) in East Berlin during the 1980s.
STRONG! – an awesome new documentary on Cheryl Hayworth, Olympic weightlifter. It deals well with questions of athleticism, gender, and normativity. http://strongthefilm.com/
Offside (2006) – from Iran. Interesting to look at cross-cultural understandings and expressions of gender. It looks at how gender is used to define spaces of sport: specifically the soccer stadium.
Fearless (2012) – about Sarah Burke and top athletes who risk their life for high performance sport
The Legacy of Brendan Burke (2010) – about Brendan Burke, homosexuality, hockey.
The Code (2010) – about hockey’s unwritten law of fighting and the men who live by it.
The Rise and Fall of Theo Flury – (Part 1, 2008) (Part 2, 2010), about sexual abuse, homosexuality, masculinity in Junior A hockey (and professional hockey)
The Other Final – Made by two Dutch filmmakers who were dismayed that the Dutch national team did not make the 2002 World Cup, they arranged to have the then two bottom-ranked (by FIFA), Bhutan and Montserrat, to play a match.
A State of Mind (2004) – on the mass games in N. Korea.
Sumo East and West
The Game of Their Lives (2002) – by Daniel Gordon on the N. Korean 1966 World Cup Team.
Kokoyakyu: High School Baseball – On high school teams competing in Japan’s famous national “Koshien” tournament.
Tokyo Olympiad parts – great for considering how Japan sought to represent itself during the 1964 Games.
A Normal Life: Chronicle of a Sumo Wrestler (2009)
River of Life –about the breast cancer survivor voyageur canoe team “Paddlers Abreast” competing in the Yukon River Quest wilderness canoe race – 740 kms/460 miles in three days. Available for purchase (about $20 or so) through the NFB of Canada and free here: http://www.nfb.ca/film/river_of_life/
30 for 30 (ESPN series) – many documentaries that could be useful for teaching.
Sport Films (Fiction):
Friday Night Lights
North Dallas Forty
Eight Men Out
Sugar – You can use this to talk about sports migrants, race, and ethnicity
Bingo Long Traveling All Stars and Motor Kings
Bend it Like Beckham
Chariots of Fire – discuss sport and early 20th century nationalism