Monday, September 9, 2013

The final blog post... for now...

So our summer session comes to a close this week. Six weeks, 19 lectures, some of them in a very hot environment - we made it through our fast and very surface level survey of what sociologists study and how they go about it. We've used the sociological imagination to briefly examine how we construct our social realities, the construction of categories that are then the basis on which power, privilege, and prestige are systematically distributed, the ways that the intersections of race, class, and gender at which we each exist structure how we experience health and illness, education, and family, and how the ways that we have constructed those institutions impact our abilities to experience the good things in life, and finally, how we simultaneously reproduce and resist the social inequalities that divide and discriminate.

Most of you will not go on to become sociology majors - and that's okay because I think that it is useful for individuals in all fields to have sociological imaginations, to be able to look at the everyday world through a sociological lens. [I do hope I piqued some interest and that at least a few of you will choose to take some sociology classes that explore these ideas in more depth.] A well-honed sociological imagination that connects history and biography, the personal and the social, will enable us to find solutions to the inequities we face in our daily lives.

So, for your last blog post, I'd like you to return to the idea of the sociological imagination. How did using a sociological perspective provide a different way of looking at a problem or an institution or a social phenomena? Be specific. Hint: You might return to the social phenomena that you discussed in your first post as something that you'd like to "make strange." Has your analysis changed? How? If you wish to pick a problem, institution, or social phenomena that you didn't discuss in your first post, that's fine, but be specific and concrete with your examples and analysis.

And then finally, reflect on what using a sociological imagination "looks" like for you. When we began the course, you defined it - but what is it to use a sociological imagination in practice? Is there something you will take from this class for your future classes?

It was truly a pleasure to serve as your instructor this Session. I wish you lots of luck in your future endeavors and I hope that, no matter what life path you follow, you continue to develop your sociological imaginations and become engaged, critical, and reflexive citizens.

Week Five Blog Prompts

This week we continued our survey of topics that sociologists study by examining the sociology of health and the sociology of family.

Option 1:
In this article, the author tells a story about the life and death of a poor white woman. Read and analyze this article using the sociological concepts we discussed in class. Specifically, identify and use the elements of social determinants theory, psycho- social, materialist, and the fundamental causes theories, to explain Crystal Wilson's life and death? Finally, be sure to consider the author's analysis - what might you add or argue with (if this is difficult, identify some further questions we should ask).

Option 2:
In this audio and written article, the author queries the phenomena of stay-at-home dads with breadwinner moms. Read and listen and then discuss. First, why is this a "hot topic?" What gender roles and ideas about the family are being challenged by families such as those profiled (include some specific evidence from the article/audio)? In your answer, be sure to discuss the myth of the traditional family and the division of labor. Given what you've learned in class, what questions might you ask these families if you had the opportunity?