In class on March 4th, we will watch the documentary When Strangers Click, about on-line dating (pre-2005). We will also read the article on Blackboard by authors Casper & Bianchi, called “Cohabitation.” Come to class having read the article and ready to write or talk about it. Finally, I would like to meet with each of you individually during class to talk about your research website. Please see your grades on Blackboard beforehand and be ready to discuss. You can also go ahead and update your pages as recommended (tho this will not raise your grade).
During this next section of our course, you will be completing the first two “pages” of your research website, entitled, “Sociological Questions,” and “Research Methods.” These pages should explore the following topics:
- Sociological questions
What are your main sociological questions on this topic? How do demographics, power and institutions relate to your topic? What are your hypotheses? Why is this question sociologically significant?
- Research methods
What research methods have sociologists used to study this topic in the past? What methods would you use if you were doing a more in-depth research project on this topic? What are the strengths and weaknesses of the various methods in relation to this topic?
Since this is a website, and not a written research paper, each website page should have embedded links, pictures, video clips, and links to the sources used. Each page must cite at a minimum of 5 academic sources, so please link to these sources, use proper in-text citation, and include a full reference list at the bottom of the page, in either MLA or Chicago Manual formats. Please post links to both pages in the comments section below. They are due by the beginning of class.
Please read the article entitled, “Studying the Social World,” and be ready to discuss it in class, as well as your two websites. Here is a Prezi covering the main ideas of this article.
Further resources include:
American Sociological Association’s code of ethics
Institutional Review Board at Siena College
The article “Avenue to Adulthood,” is chock full of information and statistics. Please review this carefully. What does the article say is the most important social issue promoting teen pregnancy? What is the US teen pregnancy rate? How does it compare internationally? How do the intersections of race and class impact teen pregnancy?
We will also ready the article from our textbook, “Hooking Up and Dating: A Comparison.” What did the author have to say on the topics of: sex, the rules, love, the group, alcohol, status, adulthood, and continuing gender inequality? Please watch the following videos before class. If possible, watch the entire documentary “Understanding Hookup Culture” by Paula England. Be ready to discuss. We will get into pairs to discuss the ten different sections of the articles. You can find a link or video that represent the issue covered in your particular section. Please also come up with three different discussion questions that cover the following topics as they relate to your issue: 1) Institutions, 2) Demographics, and 3) Power (never ask questions that begin with “what do you think about?…”).
In our next class, on Tuesday February 11, we will be reviewing the movie Consuming Kids and the two articles assigned.
Each group should create a Storify.com page illustrating their segment of the documentary, including quotes from the assigned reading:
Group 1: The Floodgates Open (starts 6:31) / By Any Means Necessary (starts: 13:33)
Group 2: Under the Microscope (starts: 24:20)
Group 3: Brand New World (starts 31:34)
Group 4: Cradle to Grave (starts 37:40) Rewiring Childhood (starts 46:48)
Group 5: Our Future (starts: )
Finally, students should also write more about their research topic by adding to their blog posting where they defined their topic. Besides the topic, include the following: (Do not use this example for your own topic!)
Specific sociological research question(s), for example: “How does poverty contribute to teen pregnancy?”
List three hypothesis for your topic: 1) Poverty provides a lack of material and social resources during the beginning of life that would contribute towards pursuing higher education and professional career development. 2) Poverty limits individuals geographically into areas of concentrated poverty, which exasperate opportunities, 3) Poverty contributes to a lack of professional opportunities and resources that would lift parents and children out of poverty, thus promoting a cycle.
Three initial academic references: 1) Morgan, S. Philip, “Thinking about demographic family difference: Fertility differentials in an unequal society,” in Marcia J. Carlson and Paula England (eds.), Social Class and Changing Families in an Unequal America (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2011).
2) Raley, Gabrielle, “Avenue to adulthood: Teenage Pregnancy and the meaning of motherhood in poor communities,” In Stephanie Coontz (ed.) American Families: A Multicultural Reader (New York: Routledge, 2008).
3) Furstenberg, Frank F., Destinies of the Disadvantaged: The Politics of Teen Childbearing (New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 2007.
Include a picture: find an image that is representative (but not stereotypical) of your topic and include it.
Chapter 2: The Structure of Social Groups
Some ideas to consider for our discussion on chapter 2:
Milgram’s Obedience to Authority
The Stanford Prison Experiment
Inside the Amish Church (on shunning practices)
Asch Conformity Experiment
Leon Festinger and cognitive dissonance
Dr. Thompson & Dr. Johnson, term = McDonaldization.
McDonaldization is the term coined by George Ritzer, which is the idea that McDonalds gives us a model of production that can be applied to other areas of life. His concept is based on four primary dimensions: 1) efficiency, 2) calculability, 3) predictability, and 4) control. By taking this model of producing hamburgers, and how they have these four elements; we apply this model of production to the field of higher education. Education is standardized in such a way that where ever you go, people have a similar educational model, for example, through standardized testing. By creating an educational system that flattens what we know and how we behave, the role of education can also have the aim of producing docile workers.
Research topic ideas:
- poverty as the root cause of teen pregnancy
- reproductive technologies and socio-economic class
- hospital births and the rising rate of C-section delivery
- Alternative family forms and social norms
- family reactions to tattoos
- foster care system
- international adoption
- causes and consequences of declining community participation
- virtual communities
- religious communities
- racial/ethnic communities
- how can communities increase solidarity
- community and civic health
During the second week of the course, we will jump into two foundational chapters: The Sociological Perspective and The Structure of Social Groups. Please read these chapters throughly and be ready to discuss in class.
“The Sociological Perspective” covers foundational ideas and key terms in the field of sociology. Students will be assigned two key terms to explain to the class. Take your key term, create two sociological memes (using humor, as memes do) for each term. Post these on your website, as a “post” (not a page) titled “The Sociological Perspective.” On your post, include a short description of the chapter, the assignment, and insert your images. We can use Final Cut Pro or other photo editing software to create our memes, or use a meme generator.
Sociology is frightening because of its insights
Sociological questions: comparative, historical, and why are things this way?
Finally, please also answer this online survey about a Media Studies Certificate Program at Siena: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/YS9XCY7
Your blog posting script should be something like this:
Title: The Sociological Perspective
The article assigned today was The Sociological Perspective. Include here a 3 sentence description of the article. From this article, I selected the term, “x”. The text describes this term as….
Below are two memes I created to represent the concept I am exploring.
In the first meme…….. describe choice of image and words.
In the second meme……
Here is another tool to help us merge images: http://www.quickpicturetools.com/
During the first week of our course, we will begin to explore sociological topics, concepts and perspectives. On the second day of class, students will start to think about their own research topic ideas. Students will also start their website on the second day of class, and write their personal biography page, discussing their background from a sociological perspective. We will view clips from two documentaries that provide examples of this family history exploration and sociological analysis:
We want to explore the ways in which our family history is sociologically significant. What is our family background? How have the lives of our grandparents, parents, and ourselves differed? What is our history of immigration, ethnicity, class, or geography? What is our personal identity and how have our families influenced it?
On November 21 & 26, we will be discussing two ways in which families are created internationally: adoption and marriage. On the 21st, we will intersperse our discussion of international adoption with short clips from the documentary Wo Ai Ni, Mommy. You need to read the assigned article for discussion:
Additionally to our class discussion, groups 1-3 will present on the topics of International adoption.
Group 1:When did international adoption begin? Why? Statistics? Top countries and time periods?
Group 2: Which (Eastern) European countries adopt babies to Americans? Statistics? What are the experiences of these children? And their parents?
Group 3: Are American children adopted by families in other countries? Statistics? Policies? Outcomes? What are some of these experiences?
Week 13: Tuesday 26 November
We will be watching clips from the documentary Seeking Asian Female and having a discussion about the assigned reading:
Groups will also present on topics related to international marriage brokers:
Group 4: What are the statistics around international marriage brokers in regards to Asian women and Western men? What is this process like? How far back does this process go?
Group 5: What are the statistics around international marriage brokers in regards to Eastern European women and Western men? What is this process like? How far back does this process go?
Group 6: Are there situations in which American men or women are emigrating to other countries to marry spouses that they found through a marriage broker, or online, structurally (not individually)? Statistics? Experiences?
On November 14th, we will have guest speaker Brian Frank, director of Lambda Family Circle. He will be talking to us about the social issues surrounding GLBT families and foster care/adoption, through the lens of his family story.
On November 19th, we will have Hawk Stone joining
our class. Hawk Stone is a therapist that works with clients who are GLBT and transgender. He has been active in the transgender community for three decades.