Exam Crunch Time!

Run for cover
My sense of fear is running thin
Undercover
Just like a candle in the wind

Tell everybody, tell everybody
Brothers, sisters, the ending is coming

Ohhhhh
We are fallen, we are fallen
Ohhhhh
We are fallen, we are fallen
Now we’re just gonna ride it out

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Week 10: Reading Sociology Part 14

Estimated Reading Time 00:05:43

Reading Sociology

Part 14: States and Government

Chapter 55: Counting, Caste, and Confusion during Census Enumeration in Colonial India
by Kevin Walby and Michael Haan

References Ian Hacking (1990):

  • Knowledge practices, such as census taking, have no innate footing but become powerful ways to characterize people
  • ie. Social construction. The way we classify people induces people to classify themselves and behave accordingly. If they preach in schools that girls are less adept at math genetically, chance are, girls would end up doing less well in math. :\
  • I am whatever you say I am. (If I wasn’t, then why would you say I am?)

The first censuses were kind of confusing

  • At first caste categorization in India (by colonialists) was a very confused process.
  • The first censuses were regional and fragmentary, and a national attempt at 1871 failed miserably.
  • There are way too many caste names and so the British WASPs began abstracting and generalizing to suit their own understanding of India.
  • There were 2000 caste names collected in 1881 but that number reduced to 207 in the general report.
  • “It just didn’t map onto Indian reality.”

And then this mad dude comes in and starts measuring people

  • Risley, possibly high on opium, thought that categorizing caste by anthropometry was a good idea. He takes out a ruler and starts measuring people’s skull sizes, etc.
  • Risley had political intentions: he needs statistical information to determine which Indians to include in the colonial government, so that the British rule in India isn’t threatened.
  • But then he gets criticized and there’s still no definitive rule for categorizing caste in India.

Notable quotes:

What we find is that caste data were read with an eye to creating a national social hierarchy, but that this often contradicted the local and regional character of caste.

Kevin Walby and Michael Haan

Yet, for all the energy put into counting and categorizing caste in colonial India, the colonial state produced an administrative space that was neither statistically sound nor foolproof. Confusion was the rule, not the exception.

Kevin Walby and Michael Haan

Chapter 56: Canada’s Rights Revolution: Social Movements and Social Change, 1937-1982
by Dominique Clément

Such confusing prose!

  • Began by talking about The Raging Grannies. They hung up undies to fight against uranium mining.
  • These grannies are an example for a social movement organization (SMO).
  • Different from a movement: movements are defined by the beliefs they propagate and their ability to mobilize collective action around those beliefs.
  • SMO also different from interest group, which assumes a clear distinction between civil society and the state, and focuses its efforts promoting the interests of its members.

And then Clément goes on to talk about his book (Canada’s Rights Revolution):

  • First objective:
    • Explore some of the most controversial human rights violations in Canadian history:
    • eg. “man in the house rule”: before 1987 if a single mother appears to be living with a man then she’s ineligible to receive welfare. And so investigators went to their houses sniffing around, looking for open beer cans and raised toilet seats.
    • Civil liberties organizations fight for access to welfare. Human rights organizations fight for amount of welfare.
  • Second objective:
    • Study professional social movement organizations:
    • Human rights organizations focus a lot on the state. But doesn’t direct their attention to private exploitation by corporations, or male power within the family.
    • Individuals and groups can make right-claims that are morally sound. But such a claim is not in effect until it receives support from the state.
  • Author’s Rants:
    • And then the author complained about freedom of information laws. Gee it’s so hard to do research nowadays.
    • And then the author talks about how great his book was by incorporating both English and French sources. It’s the only such book in historical sociology about Canada!

What’s the author’s point? I don’t really know.

No notable quotes. Basically the author saying how great his book was.

Chapter 57: The Economy and Public Opinion on Welfare Spending in Canada
by Robert Andersen and Josh Curtis

Omigaad it’s ♥♥♥♥ Josh Curtis ♥♥♥♥ dearest TA ♥♥♥♥ with cutest baseball cap ♥♥♥♥

The public votes for politicians they like. Politicians want to be liked by the public in order to have power. How does this positive feedback loop work? From 1980 to 2001, Canadian politics has increasingly shifted to the right, with growing income inequalities — why?

Preliminary Research:

  • National differences in public opinion is negatively related to level of economic development, welfare state involvement, and presence of a Soviet-communist past.
  • Social democratic countries are characterized by strong public support for welfare; countries with liberal economies tend to show very little public support for government redistribution and income distribution.

Findings:

  • When the economy is performing poorly, people tend to be less likely to support increases in spending on welfare, and vice versa. When people have money they want to spend more on welfare. Possibly due to two reasons:
    1. Those with higher income feel morally obligated;
    2. Those with lower income benefit from welfare.

The fact that public opinion follows the unemployment rate and median income suggests that it reflects changes in the business cycle. In short, when the economy is performing poorly, people tend to be less likely to support increases in spending on welfare. Contrary to the vies of policy-makers, we propose quite a different story for the mechanisms underlying the positive relationship between income inequality and public opinion. Our data suggest that people want to remedy inequality.

Robert Anderson and Josh Curtis

Chapter 58: Social Europe and Eastern Europe: Post-Socialist Scholars Grapple with New Models of Social Policy
by Ivanka Knezevic

On the dichotomy between universalistic and targeted policies, the author argues for universalistic policies.

  • Capitalist economy cannot be maintained without social policy (a point that many neo-liberal commentators neglect).
  • Labour is not strictly a commodity — people need to be healthy to be able to work. Pure capitalism leads to exploitation, which commodifies labour. Which means that you are worthless when you catch a cold or something — nonsense! Social institutions that decommodify labour and provide security for the labour force is quintessential.
  • So yeah, universal social policies should not be abandoned. Global recommodification of labour makes universal social policies necessary.

While targeted policies are a part of ‘hard’ [mandatory] EU decision making, universalistic policies […] are relegated to the ‘soft’ policy-making process called the ‘open coordination method’. This is a sort of international ‘hall of shame’, where member states discuss benchmarks and ‘best practices’, and where laggards are brought into line by peer pressure, without any legal sanctions. This non-binding mechanism allows the EU not to enforce even its supposedly most important piece of social legislation — the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, which proclaims a variety of human, civil, and cultural rights.

Ivanka Knezevic

Week 8: Reading Sociology Part 16

Estimated Reading Time 00:03:08

Reading Sociology

Part 16: Media

Chapter 64: Fallen Women and Rescued Girls: Social Stigma and Media Narratives of the Sex Industry in Victoria, BC, from 1980 to 2005
by Helga Kristin Hallgrimsdottir, Rachel Phillips, and Cecilia Benoit

Some points:

  • Sex workers used to be presented as morally and criminally culpable in the 1980s but not anymore. Newer media reports focus on victimization. Society’s role in producing these sex workers also receive less and less attention from media.
  • From firsthand interviews we learn:
    • There are male sex workers too
    • Some sex workers need to care for dependent children
    • Sex workers are socially disadvantaged, not morally corrupt
    • The money they earn is spent on food and living, not (usually) drugs
    • Sex workers are not simply abducted. This is work. Some apply voluntarily.
    • Just like every kind of work: some like it; some hate it.

Notable quotes:

Media narratives offer a voyeuristic and consumerist interpretation of the sex industry, through which a mainstream audience is titillated with stories of culpable and wicked females (in the earlier time period) or the entrapment and seduction of innocent girls.

HKH, RP, and CB

Chapter 65: Feminist Activists Online: A Study of the PAR-L Research Network
by Michèle Ollivier, Wendy Robbins, Diane Beauregard, Jennifer Brayton, and Genevière Sauvé

Oh look — it’s Beauregard again.

PAR-L can be useful:

  • Brings together women in diverse areas
  • Alternative to mainstream media
  • Helpful for research
  • Provides a discussion forum for women
  • Exposes reader to competing feminist views
  • Minimizes sense of isolation to feminists

PAR-L can be frustrating:

  • Lack of adherence by subscribers to format of messages
  • Inconsistent enforcement of list policies by list moderators
  • Tone of certain exchanges and questionable conduct of a few participants
  • Underrepresented minorities — e.g. lack of male feminists on the website

The authors, for all their work, doesn’t seem to have an explicit thesis.

Notable quotes:

Achieving equality remains a clear, central objective of feminist praxis. However, eliminating difference per se is not and should not be an option. Equality is not a synonym for sameness, and homogeneity was never the goal. Individual autonomy and equality of access are in a fine balance with collective norms of behaviour and a sense of belonging.

BO, WR, DB, JB, and GS

Chapter 66: “Keeping Your Minds Sharp”: Children’s Cognitive Stimulation and the Rise of Parenting Magazines, 1959-2003
by Linda Quirke

Findings:

  1. Parents increasingly view their children as unique, with individualized traits.
  2. Topics such as schooling and cognitive development are receiving more and more attention, probably due to prevailing credentialism in society.
  3. Parenting magazine data really has nothing to do with childrearing in real life.

Notable quotes:

The findings of this study suggest that there is a changing ethos of childrearing in Canada. Parents are actively encouraged to foster their children’s cognitive development, with the aim of enhancing and maximizing their children’s chances for academic success.

Linda Quirke

Chapter 67: Packaging Protest: Media Coverage of Indigenous People’s Collective Action
by Rima Wilkes, Catherine Corrigall-Brown, and Daniel J. Myers

Another technical one. This can be summarized in a bunch of quotes.

Notable quotes:

In summary, the results clearly indicate that while tactic escalation increases the amount of coverage, only disruptive tactics are more likely to appear on the front page.

[…]

However, the findings also show that being contentious or unusual is not a guarantee of high-profile packaging. If this were the case, there would have been a strong relationship between land occupations and media packaging. The tactics that did generate prominent packaging — road and rail blockades — can be distinguished from land occupations in terms of their capacity to disrupt the lives of outsiders.

[…]

Standoffs generated significantly more attention across multiple packaging elements than other forms of contention. […] This means that difference in packaging across events […] is exponential rather than linear.

RW, CC-B, and DJM

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SOC103 Notes by digitalhardhat is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Week 6: Reading Sociology Part 6

Estimated Reading Time 00:04:03

Reading Sociology

Part 6: Education

Chapter 22: The Rise of the “Research University”: Gendered Outcomes
by Maureen Baker

There are two paradigms: “research universities” and “teaching universities”. Universities are changing from “teaching” based to “research” based. Men tend to hold more senior titles and work longer hours than women. Also women tend to retire early, possibly due to child care responsibilities.

Basically, this paradigm shift is disruptive and really doesn’t sound all that good. University is turning beaureaucratic and academics get disheartened. Men seems to be more confident in their career prospects and more willing to work long hours or relocate.

More men accepted the long-hours culture and values inherent in the promotion system. The “corporatized” university that privileges research and international prestige tends to favour masculinized behaviour that is competitive and sometimes confrontational. This suggests that the gender gap will persist even as more women rise through the ranks.

Maureen Baker

Chapter 23: Education, Ethnonationalism, and Non-violence in Quebec
by Matthew Lange

A study by Lange and Dawson (2010) finds that education is actually positively correlated to ethnic violence, except in wealthy countries. Why?

  • The educated are overrepresented in separatist blocs such as Parti Québécois. In fact the movement only became a powerful force once the education system expanded to increase the number of educated individuals.
  • Independence is to the interest of the educated. The more educated a Québécois is, the more likely he/she is to believe that Anglophones earn more than Francophones.

But why not erupt into violence?

  • Quebec is a rich province with high GDP and standards of living.
  • Anglophones started to treat Francophones better after WWII.
  • The Canadian state was pretty nice to the movement and didn’t coerce the opposition into violence.
  • The Canadian institution gives the movement an outlet. e.g. participate in the Parliament.
  • Proletarians have nothing to lose but chains. But the rich French bourgeois? They have not a lot to gain but much to lose.

While grievances and interests pushed many educated individuals to organize and support the Quebec separatist movement, the political and economic environment severely constrained grievances and reduced incentives for ethnonational militancy.

Matthew Lange

Chapter 24: From International Universities to Diverse Local Communities? International Students in Halifax and Beyond
by Sinziana Chira

You know how they have to include (at least) one dry and boring piece in each part of RS just to tick you off? Yeah, this is the one.

Chira:

  • Highly skilled immigrants are desirable based on assumption of human capital.
  • Immigration used to be shaped by the government, but increasingly businesses and universities attract immigrants on their own.
  • There’s an increase of international students in Halifax due to lack of government funding. The universities and the private sector had to market themselves to appeal to international applicants.
  • International students are “ideal immigrants” because of high (and skilled) education in Canada.
  • But would these students stay in Canada? They can’t find a job or settle down easily because of their lack of social ties. There are “nuanced power dynamics”.

Notable quotes:

In Halifax, spaces of negotiation between the needs and duties of governmental branches and private stakeholders continue to shape the success of international students in becoming Canadian citizens.

Sinziana Chira

Chapter 25: Segregation versus Self-Determination: A Black and White Debate on Canada’s First Africentric School
by Shaun Chen

In 2008 TDSB voted 11 to 9 to approve the first-ever Africentric alternative school.
The author is in favour of the Africentric school.

  • Critical race theory suggests there is a collective voice spoken by people of colour from racialized experiences.
  • Reports say that Black students are disengaged in schools and face low expectations.
  • Ultimately the argument boils down to three points:
    1. Presence of racism (for) vs. absence of racism (against): from narratives of the Black people in education system racism seems to indeed exist. Opponents base their arguments on the assumption that “since Canada is a liberal democracy, racism can’t possibly exist”.
    2. Self-determination (for) vs. segregation (against): proponents view Afrocentric school as a place for enablement with voluntary enrollment. Opponents view the school as a backtrack to 1954 as an alternate form of segregation.
    3. Equity (for) vs. equality (against): equity is a means to achieve equality. Treating people differently to reduce social hierarchy is called equity. Ultimately, the author argues, this results in equality.
  • There are lots of paradoxes and contradictions as with liberalism.

Notable quotes:

It becomes clear, then, that the perspectives put forth by opponents rest on misinformation and false assumptions of what the school will be and for whom. The arguments fail to address the underlying impetus of improving black student outcomes. They also fail to understand the direness of current racialized realities and the means through which equality is achieved. Instead, they serve to help demonstrate how racism is deeply embedded within ostensibly liberal claims to racial equality.

Shaun Chen

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SOC103 Notes by digitalhardhat is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Week 5: Reading Sociology Part 5

Estimated Reading Time 00:05:05

Reading Sociology

Part 5: Families

Chapter 18: The More Things Change… the More We Need Child Care: On the Fortieth Anniversary of the Report on the Royal Commission on the Status of Women
by Patrizia Albanese

Four principles of the Royal Commission:

  • that women should be free to choose whether or not to take employment outside their homes;
  • that the care of children is a responsibility to be shared by the mother, the father, and society;
  • that society has a responsibility for women because of pregnancy and child birth, and special treatment related to maternity will always be necessary; and
  • that in certain areas women will for an interim time require special treatment to overcome the adverse effects of discriminatory practices

These recommendations are never put into action.

Albanese’s position:

  • Women nowadays have it so hard. Women need more affordable childcare to be able to balance work and child care effectively.
  • Stephen Harper sucks since he doesn’t support an affordable childcare plan.
  • According to UNICEF’s 2008 study, Canada ranked at the very bottom of the 25 developed countries in terms of accessibility of early childhood education programs.
  • Quebec is so good; it offers $7 a day reliable childcare. It’s a lifesaver for women!

Notable quotes:

The child care situation is miserable in this country, especially outside of Quebec. After 40 years, now more than ever, we need an affordable, flexible, high-quality national child care strategy. This would assist women in their choices and access to paid work, and in their ability to fulfill their own and their family’s well-being.

Patrizia Albanese

Chapter 19: Keeping the Family Intact: The Lived Experience of Sheltered Homeless Families
by Annette Tézli

Explores lived experience of homeless families sheltered at the Emergency Family Shelter (EFS) in Calgary, with ethnographic data relying on participant observation (i.e. stalking) and interviews with guests, staff, and board members.
On a side note some of the quotations are actually quite moving. Many participants wouldn’t have made it without their partners. Adversity has made them strong.
People couldn’t afford housing due to high rents.

Basically a restatement of common sense. Is there really anything to summarize here?

Notable quotes (pretty much sums up the whole chapter):

Shelterization may serve to keep together families that otherwise might have separated; and it may cause tensions that break apart families that otherwise might have stayed together.

Annette Tézli

She says nothing at all with that quote! Gee, is it easy to become a sociologist these days.

Chapter 20: Love and Arranged Marriage in India Today: Negotiating Adulthood
by Nancy S. Netting

General ideas:

  • Modernization theory predicts that Indian youth would oppose arranged marriage.
  • Neo-traditionalism predicts that Indian youth would support it.
  • Indian arranged marriage (in the perspective of 30 middle-class interviewees) has qualitatively changed. Young people can veto and have choice to some extent. Ideals such as romantic love has become an important value.
  • Young people want to create an intimate space where emotion, sexuality, ideas, and needs could safely be expressed, which is difficult with the patrilocal multigenerational families in India.

Notable quotes:

The prevailing tone expressed by Indian youth approaching marriage is not one of defiance or rebellion, but of conscious attention to their own needs and empathy for those of their parents. They do not want to abandon a cherished home, but to renovate it to accommodate modern requirements. Freer communication between generations, based on respect and trust, as well as assured space for intimacy between marriage partners, are key goals to be achieved.

Nancy S. Netting

Chapter 21: Gender Equality and Gender Differences: Parenting, Habitus, and Embodiment (the 2008 Porter Lecture)
by Andrea Doucet

Feminists want gender equality on one hand yet some of them deny that “men can mother” ie. fill the role as a mother in the development of a child. Gee they are hard to please.

  • Maternal demands — “preservation, growth, and social acceptability” — not only as demands but also emotional, communal, and moral responsibilities.
  • Emotional responsibility: you need to be able to emphasize — know about others’ needs — to care for others.
    • Three forms for men to connect with their children: 1) play2) go out and do sports together, and 3) promote their children’s independence.
  • Community responsibility: you need to coordinate and balance others who will be involved in your children’s lives. One obvious way is to talk to other parents as your children are playing in the field.
    • Two other ways for men to form networks: 1) connect with other stay-at-home mothers, and 2) network around their children’s sports.
  • Moral responsibility: traditionally men go out and break their backs labouring. What do stay-at-home dads make of that? They are also stereotyped to be lesser carers than women. Things get particularly awkward if you are a single dad and you have a teenage girl whose bunch of girl friends are staying over at your house tonight. Behave yourself and don’t get labelled as a child predator, man.
  • Reasons for gendered differences in parenting: hegemonic masculinities, embodiment, maternal gatekeeping, gendered friendship patterns, habitus, and gender ideologies.
  • Habitus: having “grown up as a girl” or “grown up as a boy” has bearings to how parents parent their own children.
  • Embodiment: a mother can hug and kiss her teenage boy all she wants. But a father that hugs and kisses his teenage girl? Uhhhhh…

Five concluding points:

  1. The issue of responsibility is the one area where gendered differences persisted.
  2. The view that gender differences are bad may need to be reexamined.
  3. When father takes care of a child don’t apply your gyno-centric views because it is prejudiced.
  4. I presented some views here but you need to take into account differences in class, ethnicity, and sexuality kk?
  5. Why do we differentiate between mothering and fathering in the first place? They are one and the same (kind of).

Notable quotes:

One of the main conclusions emanating from my research on gender equality and gender differences in parenting is that, rather than using a maternal lens and comparing fathers to mothers, what is required are novel ways of listening to and theorizing about fathers’ approaches to parental responsibilities and how they are radically reinventing what it means to be a man and a father in the 21st century.

Andrea Doucet

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SOC103 Notes by digitalhardhat is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Week 5: Reading Sociology Part 3

Estimated Reading Time 00:05:30

Reading Sociology

Part 3: Socialization

Chapter 10: Online Interactions among Men Who Have Sex with Men: Situated Performances and Sexual Education
by Anthony P. Lombardo

This article draws upon Erving Goffman’s notion of “presentation of self“. Researched 23 MSM in the GTA. In the article it also mentioned lots of online-sex websites for anyone interested in this stuff.

Research on men who have sex with men (MSM):

  • Quantitative: risk behaviours among MSM who do and do not seek sex online
  • Qualitative: how men use the Internet in their sexual lives for learning about gay culture and social networking, and their experiences seeking sex online.

Lombardo’s Findings:

  1. Men learn to give “legitimate performances” of self – “presentation of self” appropriate to a given online setting.
  2. Online sex gives possibilities for men to portray numerous and diverse “selves”, each on appropriate to a particular setting.
  3. Goffman’s concepts of “given” and “given off”: just like the heterosexual dating game, you need to present yourself carefully and read the signs of your potential partners carefully.
  4. Online interactions come to be a conduit for sexual education. (Well, schools only teach about heterosexual sex).

Notable Quotes:

Men’s online presentations of selves and interactions were thus “situated” within certain online norms, which the men came to learn as a function of their experiences online.

Anthony P. Lombardo

Chapter 11: The Ecology of College Drinking: Revisiting the Role of the Campus Environment on Students’ Drinking Patterns
by Nancy Beauregard, Andrée Demers, and Louis Gliksman

This article’s technical material is difficult to understand without at least two years of background in statistics. Do they really expect froshies to know what an “estimation of multilevel logistic regressions model parameters relying iterative generalized least squares using a predictive quasi-likelihood method with second order Taylor expansion (PQL02)” is?
Unrelated note: Beauregard == “good looks” in French.

Concepts:

  • Anchored in social practice theory. (More specifically, social norms theory).
  • Subjective perception: your own perception
  • Collective perception: present when social norms are shared by a given group of students exposed to the same normative environment.
  • Drinking is a life choice, made available by life chance.
  • Anthony Gidden’s work: drinking — or any human activity — is comprised of three specific modalities: 1) normative (peer pressure), 2) political (alcohol policies control), and 3) semantic (assumptions about drinking; e.g. 19 shots for my 19th birthday? it’s no biggie).
  • Risk factor: a variable associated with an increased risk of disease (in this case, drinking).

Result:

  • Normative: collective but not subjective measures (ie. social acceptance based on drinking) emerged as risk factors.
  • Political: greater risk of drinking when regulations were more strictly enforced.
  • Semantic: no collective effects were found. Individual perceptions that drinking is a meaningful practice and a necessary part of campus life lead students to drink.

Notable quotes:

Research question 1: What is the nature of the pathways characterizing the association between alcohol-related practices on campus and students’ drinking patterns?

Research question 2: Do alcohol-related practices on campus shape students’ drinking patterns from a subjective or a collective level of analysis?

Nancy Beauregard, Andrée Demers, and Louis Gliksman

Chapter 12: Duality and Diversity in the Lives of Immigrant Children: Rethinking the “problem of the Second Generation” in Light of Immigrant Autobiographies
by Nedim Karakayali

Social statistician Richmond Mayo-Smith:

  • Three categories of “whites” in America (in 1894):
    • Native-born of native parentage
    • Foreign immigrants
    • Native-born of foreign immigrants (second-generation)
  • Second-gen immigrants represent “assimilation in the act”

Karakayali:

  • Examines two-worlds thesis, focusing on duality, by studying autobiographies
  • People commonly believe that immigrant children are split between two worlds (two-world thesis), but this is not true. In fact second-gens live in many more worlds, with often shifting family dynamics, and dreams to escape this terrible duality that society has been forcing onto them.

Notable Quotes:

The real problem with the two-worlds thesis is not its argument that immigrant children feel caught between two worlds, but its failure to note that this experience follows from the condition of living in a world where most people believe that there are only two worlds. Moreover, to state […] that all the “woes” of immigrant children can be located in the “duality into which they were born” is to miss the point that there is also a desire to escape this duality–a desire for a new identity. The actualization of this desire is no less a “problem” than the experience of being caught up between two worlds.

Nedim Karakayali

Chapter 13: “Even If I Don’t Know What I’m Doing, I Can Make It Look Like I Know What I’m Doing”: Becoming a Doctor in the 1990s
by Brenda L. Beagan

What processes of socialization goes into the making of a doctor?

  • You get used to being treated as a doctor, simply through repetition.
  • They ingrain into you the habit of dressing neatly and professionally.
  • You learn the language of medicine, which “constructs a new social reality”.
  • You are now part of the medical hierarchy and do not question your boss (as long as there’s no direct harm done to a patient).
  • You exercise power over your patients, and you try to avoid overidentifying with them, so that you can make sound, rational judgments.
  • Even though you learn a lot in med school, the real world is still more complicated. Sometimes you just don’t know if a patient is going to make it out OK. But you learn to exude a sense of confidence and know-it-all, and you learn to handle uncertainties of the real world.
  • You receive confirmation of your own identity from your patients, who respect you and listen to everything you have to say.

Downfalls?

  • Being a doctor is time- and energy-consuming. After a long day of work, when you go home, do you still have enough energy to play with your kids? Can you still comfort your best friend going through a tough time if you have 16-hour shifts? If you have to cancel a date due to emergency call, does that really make you a good spouse?

Can you resist this socialization?

  • Those most able to resist socialization minimized contact with those in medicine and maintained outside relationships. Also tend to have a strong sense of identity prior to med school.

Notable quotes:

The basic processes of socializing new members into the profession of medicine remain remarkably similar, as students encounter new social norms, a new language, new thought processes, and a new world view that will eventually enable them to become full-fledged members of “the team”, taking the expected role in the medical hierarchy.

Brenda L. Beagan

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SOC103 Notes by digitalhardhat is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Week 3: Reading Sociology Part 2

Estimated Reading Time 00:03:27

Reading Sociology

Part 2: Culture

Chapter 6: Maintaining Control? Masculinity and Internet Pornography
by Steve Garlick

Robert Jensen’s position:

  • Radical feminist.
  • Internet has revolutionized delivery of pornography
  • Technology increases men’s ability to control women’s bodies
  • Gender politics of porn: fantasy world in which women always want sex because it is in their nature.
  • Mainstream pornography: man vs. nature

Heidegger:

  • Amateur porn can potentially “save” mainstream porn from constraints of hegemonic masculinity.
  • (Such awkward phrasing, but I think I can make an analogy: the situation is similar to how open-sourcing weakens corporate’s ability to make profit. e.g. Open Office vs. Microsoft Office; Octave vs. MatLab; OpensCAD vs. AutoCAD; Arduino vs. pretty much everything else on the market.)
  • We shouldn’t push boredom away, but think about what it says about ourselves.

Garlick:

  • I am going to tell you all about porn.
  • Builds on Jensen: Internet may change the nature of porn itself.
  • Porn is a technological confrontation between men and nature.
  • Internet achieved “democratization of desire”.
  • Do you know that porn becomes boring if you watch it too much?
  • Goes on to talk about how porn becomes boring (In and out. What more?) without making any apparent connection to his central thesis.
  • Internet as a media may change porn, and thereby gender relations, itself.

Notable quotes:

Yet, insofar as marginal forms of online porn are able to break away from the profit-driven imperative to reinforce the existing gender order and, instead, to give us glimpses of sex that rupture the usual narratives of gender and sexuality, they thereby alert us to the sway of technological enframing and potentially disrupt the production of hegemonic masculinity within the pornographic imagination.

– Steve Garlick

Chapter 7: What a Girl Wants, What a Girl Needs: Examining Cultural Change and Ideas about Gender Equality in Relationship Self-Help Books, 1960-2009
by Sarah Knudson

What a mouthful for a title. The author’s clearly amusing herself writing an article like this. Mainly summaries and restatement of common sense, but I’m sure she’s had a lot of fun reading all those relationship guide books.

Knudson:

  • Old support systems (church, extended families, etc.) lose potency. Relationship self-help books, therefore, would remain popular.
  • Three clusters of books (categorized by year published) show three now-liberal, now-traditional attitudes. This difference can be explained by macrosociological trends.
  • rising spiral, conflicting ideas resurface, always in new packaging.

Notable quotes:

These changes have made love and loving in the late modern era “chaotic”, as couples try to build successful relationships in a culture where multiple scripts for loving (the traditional, the modern, and the postmodern) coexist. It also creates a climate ripe for individuals to seek out relationship guidance.

-Sarah Knudson

Chapter 8: The Bonds of Things
by Stephen Harold Riggins

He wrote about Allen Ginsberg in his introduction. I immediately gained respect for this man.

Riggins:

  • Symbolic interactionist.
  • The same object can have different meanings depending on how it is used or conceptualized by people. (Reminds me of the bowler hat in Unbearable Lightness of Being).
  • Lots and lots of technical details! Unfortunately I don’t have much time.
  • Instead of researching objective measures such as income, etc. Perhaps more insight can be gained by interview people about their objects, and the symbolic meaning of these objects.

Notable quotes (other than the Allen Ginsberg quote, of course):

Objects bind people, generations, castes, and classes. They symbolize the kind of people we are or the kind we aspire to be. They help individuals and societies remember the past.

– Stephen Harold Riggins

Chapter 9: Nationalism from Below
by Slobodan Drakulic

Drakulic:

  • People think that nationalism is invented by European literati.
  • But no! They are wrong. This belief is FLAWED and unsupported by evidence.
  • In fact I studied Croatian songs to prove them wrong.
  • Nationalism is preserved through such things as culture and songs. It comes from below.
  • Elites and masses are not worlds apart, but part of the same complex universe.

Notable quotes:

The image of cultural elites leading the masses is doubly erroneous: it conflates social movements with social division of labour and postulates what must be ascertained by research.

– Slobodan Drakulic

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SOC103 Notes by digitalhardhat is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Week 1: Reading Sociology Part 15

Estimated Reading Time 00:03:55

Reading Sociology

Part 15: Environment

Chapter 59: “How Can You Decide about Us without Us?” A Canadian Catastrophe in Copenhagen
by Sherrie M. Steiner

This is a really technical, really esoteric piece of reading and I must say I don’t have enough international politics background to really understand what the author’s getting at. So I’ll just copy the part summary.

Steiner:

  • The process of assessing accountability and consequent responsibility for restitution is made all the more difficult by the power contest between nation-states and multinational industries, and between more and less developed countries regarding the allocation of restrictions.
  • “Governance without government” (governance – government = ance-ment).

Notable quotes:

A key question for global governance is “What do adapted democratic principles imply about desirable patterns of accountability in world politics”?

– Sherrie M. Steiner

Chapter 60: The Production of Modernity in Classic American Whale Hunting
by Katja Neves

Latour’s analysis of modernity:

  • Two fundamental dichotomies define modernity:
    1. Society is distinct from nature.
    2. Discrete entities (for sale in the market) is irrecognizable from its complex, hybrid origins.

Neves’s analysis:

  • Links between Latour and Marx.
  • Production of commodities within capitalism helps dichotomy 2.
  • Sociologists are morally obliged to help the public understand the complex interactions behind goods they see for sale on the market.

Notable quotes:

To be sure, in the context of capitalism, commodities appear in markets as if by magic, expunged of the complex human-non-human matrices out of which they come to be. Karl Marx called this process the fetishization of commodities.

– Katja Neves

In agreement with Latour’s call for such a political ecology, I contend that it is our role as sociologists to unveil and explain these processes and, in so doing, help nurture higher degrees of reflexivity concerning the politics and implications of distinct epochs of human-non-human collectives.

– Katja Neves

Chapter 61: “Keep It Wild, Keep It Local”: Comparing News Media and the Internet as Sites for Environmental Movement Activism for Jumbo Pass, British Columbia
by Mark C.J. Stoddart and Laura MacDonald

A case study investigating the transformative power of the Internet in environmental activism.

Stoddart and MacDonald:

  • It used to be that the relationship between social movements and mass media is asymmetric. Activists had to make their story newsworthy. But this may change with the Internet.
  • Case study comparing and contrasting mass media and websites. It has a lot of words.
  • More mass media access may result in less attention paid to core arguments.
  • The Internet is a game-changer!

Notable quotes:

However, it is probably that newspapers reach both a larger audience and a more general audience than that reached by environmentalist websites. By contrast, activist-produced websites may be limited to speaking to smaller, more attentive audiences. If this is the case, social movement communication strategies should focus on how these different media may be used to complement each other.

– Mark C.J. Stoddart and Laura MacDonald

Chapter 62: Regulating Agricultural Biotechnology in Canada: Paradoxes and Conflicts of a Closed System
by Wilhelm Peekhaus

Article about government regulations on biotechnology.

Peekhaus:

  • The regulatory system champions biotechnology, which is something an impartial government shouldn’t do.
  • The government’s favour of biotechnology disallows consideration of broader social justice, politico-economic, and ethical concerns that attach to biotechnology.
  • This is wrong!
  • We, as social subjects, want the government to be more careful in decision-making.

Notable quotes:

In Canada, we regulate the product and not the process; that is, regulatory oversight is triggered by the end product rather than the processes by which it is created. As a result, our regulatory system fails completely to adequately consider the secondary effects that accrue from manipulation of an organism at its genetic level, despite the fact that genetic engineering affects an organism’s metabolic pathways in ways that are often quite difficult to detect and determine.

– Wilhelm Peekaus

Chapter 63: The Science and Politics of Polar Ice
by Mark Vardy

Do you know that Polar Ice is a brand of vodka? It tastes horrible.

Vardy:

  • Sea ice (forms and melts every year) and ice sheets (remains of the Ice Age), because of their different time scales, elicit different political responses.
  • In response to sea ice, nations are claiming the ocean floor underneath.
  • In response to melting ice sheets, scientists argue over whether their melting would pose significant danger.
  • Too much modernist thinking in politics is bad. We need to engage with the limits of modern tropes about sovereignty. We also need to engage with findings of earth sciences.

Notable quotes:

Are our current politics capable of responding to non-linear earth system without imposing the modernist authority of territorially based nation-states? The response seen thus far to reductions in sea ice does not bode well.

– Mark Vardy

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SOC103 Notes by digitalhardhat is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.