Archive: Apr 2020

In this episode, Amy Guptill, Professor of Sociology at The College at Brockport, State University of New York, discusses her recent discovery of Niklas Luhmann and systems theory. In particular, Amy reflects on how Luhmann avoids some of the negatives associated with his intellectual mentor Talcott Parsons and provides a powerful tool to better conceptualize food production and consumption.

*This is the final of three GTaC episodes hosted by Alysha Rios, undergraduate sociology major at SUNY Brockport. Thanks Alysha.

In this episode we are joined by Richard Pringle, Professor of Sport, Health and Physical Education at Monash University. Richard reflects on the challenge of transitioning from reading kinesiology to reading Michel Foucault, discusses how Foucault provided him with a lens to understand pain and gender on the rugby pitch, and offers advice on the importance of engaging with the original text when employing the ideas of a social theorist.


In this episode we are joined by Erin Metz McDonnell, Kellogg Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Notre Dame and author of the recently published Patchwork Leviathan: Pockets of Bureaucratic Effectiveness in Developing States. Erin introduces us to the “budgetary unit”–a powerful, but under-utilized Weberian term–and discusses how she expands Weber’s theorization of bureaucracy through her fieldwork in Ghana. Erin also offers valuable reflection on what it means to be engaging with texts that are now over a century old in both her research and her teaching.

In addition, Erin was kind enough to provide interested listeners with links to some of the readings mentioned in our conversation:

From Weber himself:

On Max, Marianne, and W.E.B.

… in which Howard Becker reports on interviewing Marianne

And from our guest:

Our guest today is Daniel Winchester, Associate Professor of Sociology at Purdue University. Dan tells us about his initial encounter with Pierre Bourdieu’s famously dense writings, his application of Bourdieu’s ideas in his Masters thesis on Islamic faith, and his more recent turn to the American Pragmatism to supplement his use of Bourdieu in studying the process of converting to Eastern Orthodox Christianity.

*Dan is the recent winner of the American Sociological Association’s Junior Theorist of the Year Award for his co-authored paper “Talking Your Self into It: How and When Accounts Shape Motivation for Action

**Make sure to check out the accompanying video made by SUNY Brockport sociology major Simone Graham –


In this episode, Alysha Rios interviews Elliot Weininger, Professor of Sociology in the Department of Sociology at SUNY Brockport, about Pierre Bourdieu. Elliot reflects on how Bourdieu offered a bridge between his philosophical interests and his quantitative training and explains how his interest in central concepts like cultural capital led to a series of collaborations with Annette Lareau researching the education system.