Journal Articles

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Chapter 1: A Unique Way to View the World

Lessons from Sports: Children’s Socialization to Values through Family Interaction During Sports Activities
Tamar Kremer-Sadlik and Jeemin Linda Kim
Discourse and Society

  1. This article examines the research question objectively. If you wanted to study this question using applied sociology, how would you re-form the research question in a way that you could do this?
  2. Did this article challenge any of your common sense beliefs? If so, which ones? If so, how did you learn these things that you already assumed?
  3. What role does sport participation play in the socialization process? What greater values does it teach? How does it connect us to the larger society?
  4. The authors of this article show how values can be transmitted though a variety of sports forms. What ways do environment shape social experiences? If you were going to do a follow-up study on this topic, which environments would you think where most important? Explain.

Provocative Looks: Gang Appearance and Dress Codes in an Inner-City Alternative School
Robert Garot and Jack Katz

  1. What level of analysis do Garot and Katz employ when studying dress and dress codes? Explain.
  2. Garot and Katz argue that dressing oneself is incredibly social. What examples do they use to support this argument? How does this differ from our common sense understandings of why we dress the way that we do?
  3. How do the teens Garot interviews use common sense (or folk sociology) to explain the way they dress? How does this vary from Garot and Katz’s explanation? Does this suggest, in your opinion, that there is any value in folk sociology? Why or why not?
  4. Garot and Katz detail that the teens they study do not always have control over how they dress and often the teens have even less control over how their dress is perceived. How much control, then, does this suggest we have over our actions? How much control does society have over our actions? We tend to see dressing ourselves as a rather mundane activity, so does the balance of control vary for more important social activities? Explain.

Institutional Analysis and the Paradox of Corporate Social Responsibility
John L. Campbell
American Behavioral Scientist

  1. One contribution that sociology has made to social science is examining social units larger than the individual as social actors. How does Campbell show that the corporation is a social actor?
  2. In your opinion, does viewing the corporation as a social actor impact the level of analysis of the study? Why or why not?
  3. In your text, the authors outline the underlying assumptions of sociology. How do these assumptions apply to this article? In your opinion, do we need to transform these assumptions to apply to this article? If so, how? If not, is there any situation you can think of where we might have to change the assumptions?
  4. Imagine that you find yourself working for a business, and, because you are an emerging applied sociologist, your boss asks you to brief her on how to make your company more socially responsible. What would you tell her? Make sure to explain to your boss which things are individually up to the corporation and which things are social and are, at least somewhat, out of the company’s control.

Where Are the Leaders? Music, Culture, and Contemporary Feminism
Jo Reger
American Behavioral Scientist

  1. Reger details how the feminist movement can be very popular at the micro- and meso-levels, yet is less popular at the macro-level. What disconnect do you see between the movement at these levels?
  2. In your opinion, at which level of analysis should a social movement focus its efforts? Explain.
  3. How could an applied sociologist who is interested in growing the feminist movement use Reger’s findings?

A Qualitative Study of Early Family Histories and Transitions of Homeless Youth
Kimberly A. Tyler
Journal of Interpersonal Violence

  1. Using your sociological imagination, what larger social factors might have led to these youth currently being homeless? Until you learned about the sociological imagination, to what would you have attributed their homelessness?
  2. Which institutions have the youth studied in this article been involved with? How do you think those institutions might be related to one another?
  3. If you were to go back and re-interview these same adolescents, what questions would you want to ask about their process of socialization? What would you need to know to better analyze their place in the social environment?
  4. Using figure 1.2 in your book, make a model of the social world these youths live in. How does it differ from your own social world model?

Is Gay Parenting Bad for Kids? Responding to the ‘Very Idea Difference’ in Research on Lesbian and Gay Parents
Stephen Hicks

  1. Before reading the article, what does your common sense tell you will be the answer to, “Is gay parenting bad for kids?” What did the Hicks find? How are the findings similar to or different from your common sense ideas? Does this surprise you or not?
  2. In light of what you read, which belief do you personally agree most with: that of the U.S. Christian Opposition or of the sociologists Stacy and Biblarz? How do you think your own position in the social structure and your membership in various social units has affected your opinion on gay parenting?
  3. Some might argue that it’s possible to take a “middle ground” opinion between the U.S. Christian Opposition and Stacy and Biblarz’s findings. What might this “middle ground” position be? How is it possible to integrate both sets of findings?

Elderly Home Health Clients Who Abuse Alcohol
Marshelle Thobaben
Home Health Care Management Practice

  1. Are you shocked to find out that elderly individuals can be alcoholics, too? What cultural stereotypes does this support? Which does it break?
  2. This article examines alcoholism among elderly home health care clients from both a psychological and a sociological perspective. Which findings are sociological? Which findings are more psychological? Why?
  3. If you were to examine this same issue from anthropological, political science, and economic perspectives, what aspects of alcoholism among the elderly would you be most interested in exploring?

Gastronationalism: Food Traditions and Authenticity Politics in the European Union
Michaela DeSoucey
American Sociological Review

  1. What levels of analysis are represented in this article—Micro? Meso? Macro? Does the author attempt to draw connections between different levels? If so, what are these connections?
  2. The article defines “gastronationalism” as the use of food production, distribution, and consumption to solidify national attachments, and the use of nationalist (or patriotic) sentiments to market food. Does this occur in the United Sates, as well as in France?
    1. What foods symbolize U.S. national identity? Does this symbolism encourage you to feel a certain way about buying or eating these foods? How so?
    2. How do you think U.S. citizens would respond if a group (within or outside the U.S.) started criticizing one of our national foods?
    3. Do you think food is an important part of U.S. cultural and national identity?
    4. What is the symbolism of so-called “ethnic” food—tacos, spaghetti, sushi, etc.—in the U.S.? Does the presence of ethnic food challenge our national identity, or strengthen it? Does it encourage a global identity, rather than a national one?
  3. Unlike the European Union, the U.S. has not instituted any origin or specialty designation labeling laws for food—thus, “Chicago deep dish pizza” and “Philly cheese steak” can be made anywhere and by any method, not just in Chicago and Philadelphia by established, traditional recipes. Do you think the U.S. should enact such laws?
    1. Would designation laws change the way you think or feel about the U.S. or a particular region of the country?
    2. Would they change the way you think about food?
    3. Do you think they would make the food itself better or safer?
    4. Do you think they would promote the economic fortunes of the relevant regions and food producers? How so?

C. Wright Mills 50 Years On: The Promise and Craft of Sociology Revisited
Nicholas Gane and Les Back
Theory, Culture & Society

  1. What do you think explains the enduring nature of Mill’s work, The Sociological Imagination?
  2. In what ways did Mills take issue with functionalists of his day; Parsons in particular? Why did they respond negatively to Mills?
  3. How can public and applied sociologists use Mills’ approach in their research? According to Mills, how can sociology go beyond the classroom?

Chapter 2: Examining the Social World: How Do We Know?

Navigating the Waves: The Usefulness of a Pilot in Qualitative Research
Helen Sampson
Qualitative Research

  1. What problems did Sampson encounter when pilot testing her research?
    1. How did she solve those problems?
    2. Would you have solved them differently?
  2. Sampson discusses her fear and reluctance when entering the field for the first time. What settings would you be most reluctant to enter? Why?
    1. How do you think you could overcome those fears?
  3. Sampson asked her research subjects to comment on their experiences of the interview. How do you feel about this tactic?
    1. Does it seem ethical in light of what you read in chapter two about ethical issues in sociology?

The Effects of an Abstinence-Based Sex Education Program on Middle School Students’ Knowledge and Beliefs
Elizabeth Mayfield Arnold, Thomas E. Smith, Dianne F. Harrison, and David W. Springer
Research on Social Work Practice

  1. What research design is used in this article?
    1. What variables are used?
    2. How are those variables operationalized?
  2. If you were given the opportunity to use a different method to investigate the effectiveness of the abstinence-only education program, what method would you want to use and why?
    1. What key concepts would you want to explore?
    2. How would you operationalize your variables?
  3. Although this article appears in a social work journal, it could also be considered “applied sociology”. If you were to use ONLY the results of this study to advise the President on whether or not to keep funding abstinence-based sex education, what would you tell him and why?

African American Substance Use: Epidemiology, Prevention, and Treatment
William L. Turner and Beverly Wallace
Violence Against Women

  1. Based on what you know about feminist theory, how do you think this article would be received by feminist theorists?
    1. What would critics of feminist theory have to say about this article?
  2. The authors conclude with the suggestion that, “Researchers must demonstrate knowledge of the culture and diversity of African Americans and be familiar with the approaches and problems identified by investigators who work with this group.” How familiar do you feel researchers should be with the group they study? For example, must researchers who study African American women be African American women themselves?
    1. What are the advantages and disadvantages of being a member of the group you are studying?
  3. How would humanistic sociologists respond to the suggestion that researchers should be very familiar with the groups they study?
    1. How would scientific sociologists respond to this request?

The Media Depiction of Women Who Opt Out
Arielle Kuperberg and Pamela Stone
Gender & Society

  1. Why do the authors choose to examine media images of “opting out”?
    1. What effects do they think these images have on individuals and on society?
    2. Do you agree that media images have such an impact?
    3. How could you use sociological research methods to find out?
  2. What level of society does this article examine: Macro? Meso? Micro? Does it depict how different levels are related to one another?
  3. The authors describe their sampling strategy (pp. 501-502) as “purposive”: rather than using a random sample, they deliberately chose the set of publications they believed were best given their research questions. As a result, their sample is not representative of the total population of publications: it over-represents those with large circulations and under-represents those from small towns. Do you believe this choice was justified, or should the authors have used a random sample? Why?
  4. One critique of feminist theory is that it has not paid sufficient attention to how gender inequalities intersect with other inequalities and differences, such as class, race, and sexuality. Do you think this article addresses those multiple inequalities well, or does it focus too much on white, middle class women?
  5. Aside from media coverage, are there other questions about the “opting out” phenomenon that sociologists might want to ask? If so, what are the questions, and what research methods could be used to answer them?
  6. Thanks to search engine advances, it is getting easier and less costly to study the media and other documents using content analysis methods like those in the article. If you were to carry out such a study, what topic and questions would you focus on?
    1. What types of documents (magazines, websites, congressional reports, etc.) would you examine? What years would you cover?
    2. Would you analyze your data quantitatively (e.g., by counting articles, themes, or particular words), qualitatively (e.g., by reading the material closely and interpreting its meanings), or both?

Conflict Theory and Deviance in Sport
D. Stanley Eitzen
International Review for the Sociology of Sport

  1. This article demonstrates how sociologists use a sociological theory to frame their work. Though written in the late 1980’s, is the use of conflict theory still relevant? Why or why not?
  2. Though the various tenants of conflict theory might vary, what are some consistent, underlying assumptions that the theory holds?
  3. Do you think that the author’s use of conflict theory is appropriate? Is there another perspective that he might have used to consider deviance in sports?

Chapter 3: Society and Culture: Hardware and Software of Our Social World

Dedicated Followers of Fashion? The Influence of Popular Culture on Children’s Social Identities
Sharon Boden
Media, Culture, and Society

  1. What are “tweens” and why are they different than children and teenagers, according to the authors? Do you believe that “tweens” exist as a separate social category?
  2. The article discusses how popular culture affects tweens in the UK. Is popular culture more or less salient in the identities and purchases of tweens in the US? Why?
  3. Can you think of examples of cultural norms being affected by popular culture?
  4. How do social status markers, like clothing style or brand, influence peer relations? Is there a difference in the status markers that influence peer relations as we age? What markers are important as children? As tweens? As young adults? As adults?
  5. Is the idolization of cultural icons a good or a bad thing? When should we encourage this behavior? When should we discourage it? What social problems could it potentially create?

Studying Extreme Sports: Beyond the Core Participants
Michele Donnelly
Journal of Sport and Social Issues

  1. As the article states, subculture research has typically focused on individuals who are active participants in the subculture. However, what different information can we gain by studying not only the active participants in the subcultures, but periphery participants and non-participants?
  2. The author states that “posers” are an important element of all subcultures. How are “posers” created? Are they a necessary part of a subculture? Why are they labeled as outsiders or ostracized from the core group? Are there subcultures without posers? What distinguishes subcultures with posers from subcultures without posers?
  3. What is authenticity? Why is it so important to subcultures?
  4. How does the “us” (members) versus “them” (posers) mentality arise in a subcultural context? Does ownership of a culture exist? If so, how should we define culture ownership? If not, why do people make claims to culture ownership that are sometimes effective?
  5. Do successful subcultures always become integrated into the mainstream? How do we know when a subculture has been integrated into the mainstream? How does mainstreaming affect membership? Norms? Values? Claims of authenticity?
  6. The authors highlight many contradictory values within the snowboarding subculture. What are some of these contradictory values? Are contradictory values a common trait of a subculture? How specifically do snowboarders emphasize inclusiveness and a refuge for cultural outsiders while also practicing elitism?

Cultural Trauma: The Other Face of Social Change
Piotr Sztompka
European Journal of Social Theory

  1. How does the author define his concept of social trauma? How is this concept defined differently than cultural disorientation? How is it different from culture shock?
  2. Why is culture so vulnerable to social change? What are some examples of cultures that have experienced social trauma due to social change?
  3. Which of the following events do you think caused a social trauma? How has the culture of the societies changed after experiencing the event? How were norms, values, and beliefs reformed in an effort to heal the culture after experiencing the trauma?
    1. September 11, 2001 in the US
    2. Hutu and Tutsi genocide in Rwanda (or similar genocides in the Balkans and Darfur)
    3. The collapse of a communist economy in Russia, Poland, Czechoslovakia, or China
    4. Hurricane Katrina in the US
    5. Ethnic conflict in Israel and Palestine
    6. The death of Pope John Paul II
    7. The 2004 tsunami that struck Thailand, Sri Lanka, India, and Indonesia
    8. The death of Diana Princess of Whales
    9. The Columbine school shootings in the US
    10. The Los Angeles riots in the US
  4. How can society stay intact after a serious event occurs? Can a society maintain its culture after experiencing a cultural trauma, or does it have to change its culture?
  5. Can the aftermath of a cultural trauma be positive? Can you think of a cultural trauma that strengthened society or advanced technology or beliefs in a way that benefited the society?
  6. The author states that education and capital can help individuals adapt and persist after experiencing a cultural trauma. Do you believe this is always true? What about in the instance of a natural disaster? Or when the change results from the activity of another culture or society?

Domestic Dinner: Representations and Practices of a Proper Meal among Young Suburban Mothers
Annechen Bahr Bugge and Reidar Almas
Journal of Consumer Culture

  1. What are some of the food norms in Norway discussed by the authors? How are these norms similar to and how are they different from norms in the US? What cultural values do these norms reflect? How do the cultural values performed through food vary between the US and Norway?
  2. The article discusses how food is one cultural product that reflects the shift in almost every culture toward multiculturalism. Are there other cultural products you can think of that embrace multiculturalism? Why might some cultural products be more likely to reflect multiculturalism than others?
  3. The article (and your textbook) highlights how a biological drive, eating to survive, becomes a means of cultural expression. Why do you feel we integrate cultural values and norms into the most basic activities? Why do we make rituals of activities that could be routine?
  4. In the article, the authors highlight how gender and social class dictate food preparation, food use, and food service norms, despite the strong policies in Norway that promote gender and social class equality. Is this a breach between real and ideal culture, in your opinion? Why or why not? How do these contradictions between expectations and practice affect Norwegian society?

Symbiotic Transformations: Youth, Global Media and Indigenous Culture in Malta
Joe Grixti
Media, Culture & Society

  1. The author notes that cultural globalization has been described as “Americanization” and “Coca-Cola-ization,” suggesting that U.S. culture is especially pervasive and influential throughout the world.
    1. Can you think of examples in which U.S. culture has been influenced by cultural elements from abroad?
    2. Do you think foreign cultural influences could seriously alter culture within the U.S.?
  2. The author discusses the question of whether increasingly global media will cause cultures to undergo hybridization.
    1. What does he mean by “hybridization”?
    2. In what ways does Maltese youth culture exhibit hybridization?
    3. Can you think of examples of cultural hybridization in the U.S.?
  3. The article cites prior research suggesting that the influence of global culture has been more pronounced among youth than among older people. Drawing on your own observations, would you agree?
    1. If so, why do you think that young people are more susceptible to the influence of global culture?
  4. The author finds that working-class Maltese youth are more likely to favor locally produced TV programs, while middle-class youth prefer global programming (i.e., from Italy, Britain, and the U.S.).
    1. What factors explain this class difference in television preferences?
    2. Do you think the same pattern would be found in the U.S.?
  5. What cultural levels does the author discuss?
    1. In addition to global culture, do national culture, subcultures, counter-cultures, and/or microcultures play a role in his research?
    2. How are the different levels related or linked?
  6. The author reports that many Maltese youths are critical of indigenous (native) Maltese culture and instead identify with foreign culture.
    1. Do you think this is good or bad for Maltese society?
    2. What would you think if U.S. youth took the same stance?

Popular culture and social change in Africa: the case of the Nigerian video industry
Adedayo Ladigbolu Abah
Media, Culture & Society

  1. According to the author, to what extent does popular culture impact social change in a society?
  2. In what ways do people “use” popular culture?
  3. How does popular culture in an African context vary from Western notions of popular culture?
    1. On the microlevel?
    2. On the macro/political level?
  4. Why, according to the author, is it important to consider film images of events in a particular culture?

Chapter 4: Socialization: Becoming Human and Humane

“Shaking It Off” and “Toughing It Out”: Socialization to Pain and Injury in Girls’ Softball
Nancy L. Malcom
Journal of Contemporary Ethnography

  1. What was the process of socialization for the girls on the team?
    1. What role did particular others play in socialization?
    2. What role do you feel the generalized other played in socialization?
  2. How do you think the girls’ socialization is different from that of boys who play baseball? Why?
  3. The author implies that what is commonly called “playing through the pain” might actually be “calling attention to one’s self” in some instances. Do you agree with this assessment? Why or why not?
  4. What motivations exist for girls to “play hurt”?
    1. Do you agree or disagree with the push for athletes to continue playing sports while they are injured? Why?
    2. What harm can come from “playing hurt”?

Becoming an American Parent: Overcoming Challenges and Finding Strength in a New Immigrant Latino Community
Krista M. Perreira, Mimi V. Chapman and Gabriela L. Stein
Journal of Family Issues

  1. How does this article relate to the concept of “transnationalism” addressed in your text?
  2. What types of difficulties do these parents face because they are bicultural?
    1. If you were an applied sociologist and wanted to help these parents cope with their challenges, what suggestions would you make and why?         What additional research would be necessary?
  3. What effect do you think bicultural socialization will have on how the Latino children in this study socialize their own children someday?
    1. What do you see as the advantages and disadvantages of being socialized into two cultures?

Marital Meaning: Exploring Young Adults’ Belief Systems about Marriage
Scott S. Hall
Journal of Family Issues

  1. The author of this study states that he is taking a symbolic interactionist perspective. How does symbolic interactionism relate to the meaning of marriage?
    1. How might a person’s view of marriage be influenced by the looking glass self?
    2. What messages about marriage do you receive from your family? Your peers?
      1. How do you think these messages differ by social position? How would they be different if you were a member of the opposite sex?
      2. What if you were a member of a different social class?
  2. The study assumes that the meaning marriage has for someone will impact the way they behave toward and within marriage.
    1. How do you think someone who feels very negatively would react to the marriage of his/her best friend? Why?
    2. How do you think someone who feels very positively about marriage would react if they had not found a suitable spouse by age 45? Why?

Bowling Young: How Youth Voluntary Associations Influence Adult Political Participation
Daniel A. McFarland and Reuben J. Thomas
American Sociological Review

Note: This article uses complex quantitative research methods. In reading it, you do not have to understand the methodology, but do aim at learning what the authors’ hypotheses and conclusions are. To aid in the latter: In Tables 1 and 2, negative numbers mean that youths with the relevant characteristic on the left (e.g., not involved in school groups) are less likely to be politically active as adults; positive numbers mean that youths with that characteristic (e.g., affiliated with the National Honor Society) are more likely to be politically active. Numbers without stars next to them are not statistically significant, which means we can not be certain that they are really accurate for the youth population as a whole; focus on the numbers with stars, which are statistically significant. 

  1. Focusing on the introductory parts of the article (before the section on data and measures), distinguish the “class reproduction” explanation of political socialization from the “social learning” view.
    1. Which explanation do you find more persuasive initially?
    2. Are one or both explanations supported by the article’s research findings?
    3. Considering both explanations, list all the agents of socialization that might be involved in shaping adult political participation.
  2. The authors claim that adult political activity is positively affected by youthful participation in groups such as honor society, student council, service clubs, drama clubs, debating societies, and some vocational clubs, but not by clubs related to academic subjects such as history, math, or Spanish. Given your own high school background, does this make sense? Why do you think some clubs have a bigger impact than others?
  3. The authors claim that one policy implication of their work is that funds for high school drama and debate clubs should be maintained because the clubs help develop politically active citizens who will contribute to the future of our democratic society.
    1. Do you agree?
    2. Is this a valid reason for maintaining funds for high school clubs?
    3. Is it the only reason for supporting them?
  4. Much of what you read about socialization in the text focused on social interaction, but the research in the article uses surveys and quantitative analysis and does not examine interaction directly.
    1. Overall, do you think the article’s methods were successful in contributing to our understanding of socialization?
    2. Should the authors have instead focused on interaction, perhaps using qualitative methods such as field observation?
    3. Could they have addressed the same questions if their research had employed qualitative methods?

“Look Out New World, Here We Come”? Race, Racialization, and Sexuality in Four Children’s Animated Films by Disney, Pixar, and DreamWorks
Carmen R. Lugo-Lugo and Mary K. Bloodsworth-Lugo
Cultural Studies <=> Critical Methodologies

This article addresses the role that popular film plays in childhood socialization.

  1. Describe the myriad ways that film teaches children.
  2. Why is it important to consider the material that is in film?
    1. What is the significance of racializing characters in children’s film?
    2. What stories of sexuality are told in children’s films?
  3. According to the authors, do these films challenge or support the status quo? Explain.

Chapter 5: Interaction, Groups, and Organizations: Connections That Work

Does the Internet Increase, Decrease, or Supplement Social Capital?
Barry Wellman, Anabel Quan Haase, James Witte, and Keith Hampton
American Behavioral Scientist

  1. What is the relationship, according to the authors, between meso-level network participation, like the National Geographic Society Website, and macro-level network participation, like voluntary and political organizations? Do these findings surprise you? Why or why not?
  2. What impact do you believe the Internet is having on communities? What about on social capital and social networks? Do you anticipate these changes having an impact on society as a whole? Explain.
  3. Drawing on the authors’ argument, do you believe that the Internet has the greatest impact on who we are connected to, how we are connected to them, or what it means to be connected to others? Explain.

From Tree House to Barracks: The Social Life of Guilds in World of Warcraft
Dmitri Williams, Nicolas Ducheneaut, Li Xiong, Yuanyuan Zhang, Nick Yee, and Eric Nickell Games and Culture

  1. According to the authors, how do players gain social capital in World of Warcraft? In your opinion, is the benefit of this social capital limited to the gameplay community or does it have similar impacts on other aspects of the gamers’ social lives? Explain.
  2. How do social organizations emerge in World of Warcraft? What factors shape their creation and formation? How does this vary from social organizations you are a part of?
  3. Based on the authors’ description of the World of Warcraft community, would you define it as a primary or a secondary group? Explain.
  4. According to your reading of the article, do you feel that World of Warcraft uses social capital and social networks to create in-groups and out-groups? How so or how not?
  5. The authors find that “Player WoW (World of Warcraft) is as social as a team sport, which has its own rules, literal boundaries, and social norms.” Do you agree with this assessment? Why or why not? What differences, if any, do you find between the rules, boundaries, and norms of World of Warcraft and team sports?

Inequality Regimes: Gender, Class and Race in Organizations
Joan Acker
Gender and Society

  1. According to Acker, how does the structure of organizations work to create inequality regimes? In your opinion, is this a new dysfunction of bureaucracies? Or, is it simply the result of existing dysfunctions of bureaucracy described in the text. Explain.
  2. Acker highlights several practices that organizations engage in that produce inequality. What are these? Do you feel like these practices are visible at the micro-level or would they only be visible by stepping back and researching organizations at the macro-level? Explain.
  3. Have you seen any of these practices producing or replicating inequalities in organizations you have been a part of? Explain.
  4. According to Acker, after practices are in place in an organization, how do they continue? What is an example of this that you have seen in the organization of your university or job?
  5. Based on your reading of the article and what you have learned about organizations, what movement, if any, do you see organizations making toward creating equality? How does your opinion compare to Acker’s?

‘Meat, Mask, Burden’: Probing the Contours of the Branded ‘Self’
Alison Hearn
Journal of Consumer Culture

  1. In Chapter Four of Our Social World, the authors suggest that the self is either something we develop physiologically/cognitively or socially. Hearn suggests that the self is a social product, but she argues this in a much different way than Mead or Goffman. How does her argument vary, in your opinion?
  2. Do you believe, as Hearn suggests, that our ‘self’ becomes an entity geared to earn us status? Why or why not? How does your experience on or speak to this argument?
  3. Based on Hearn’s explanation of the self, do you believe that rational choice theory, ethnomethodology, or dramaturgy most accurately describes our interactions with others? Explain.
  4. What is the purpose, in your opinion, of social networking sites like or Do they primarily create social networks and social capital? Do they serve as a tool for users to work on constructing and branding their ‘selves’? Or, do they do something else entirely? Explain.

McDonald’s as a Disneyized Institution
Alan Bryman
American Behavioral Scientist

  1. How does the process of Disneyization vary from McDonaldization? Which do you see as having a greater influence on American culture? Explain.
  2. What do phenomena like Disneyization and McDonaldization do to connect to global society? Explain.
  3. In your opinion, is Disneyization or McDonaldization significantly different from bureaucratization? Why or why not? Do they share any of the same defining characteristics? Dysfunctions?

Reactions to Positive Deviance: Social Identity and Attribution Dimensions
Kelly S. Fielding, Michael A. Hogg, and Nicole Annandale
Group Processes and Intergroup Relations

  1. What does this article suggest about the importance of individuality in groups? What about the importance of individuals to groups? Are we expected to surrender part of our identity to belong to groups?
  2. Before reading this article, did you see high achievers as deviants?
    1. After reading this article, does it make you want to be a high achiever or a “regular” group member? Is the potential of a high achiever to stand out a positive or negative function of ingroups?
  3. What factors contribute to individuals attributing their ideas to the group? Do you think high achievers are more or less likely to attribute their ideas to the group? Why or why not?
  4. Are ingroups stronger when they have “better” members? Does quality of members affect the ability of the group to achieve? Does quality of members affect group pride?
  5. What social norms and cultural values support the authors’ findings?
  6. What does this article tell us about ingroups and outgroups? Why do you feel that ingroup members were more favorable of outgroup self-attributors? What does this suggest about stereotyping outgroup members?
  7. Do the authors’ findings (especially their findings on how people perceive how test subjects credit success and failures) support an exchange or a symbolic interactionist perspective?

Can’t We Pick Our Own Groups? The Influence of Group Selection Methods on Group Dynamics and Outcomes
Kenneth J. Chapman, Matthew Meuter, Dan Toy, and Lauren Wright
Journal of Management Education

  1. Are groups more or less important in the rest of the social world as they are in the business world? Why or why not?
  2. Does the emphasis on group work counter or reinforce the problems created by bureaucracy?
  3. The authors find that self-selected groups and assigned groups both have problems and benefits. What style of membership assignment works best, in your opinion?
    1. Can you think of a situation where self-selected groups would work best? What about situations where membership assignment works best?
    2. What is a way instructors can best assign group membership that would counter the problems created by self-selected groups and the problems with assigned groups?
  4. What are benefits and disadvantages of the research design? Does the research design make you question any of the authors’ findings?

How Conflict Escalates: The Inter-Group Dynamics of Collective Football Crowd ‘Violence’
Clifford Stott and Steve Reicher

  1. How do ingroups and outgroups form in football (soccer) crowds? Why do you think the crowd separates the way it does instead of uniting as football fans? How does group size contribute to separation? What kinds of groups exist at a football game?
  2. How would you analyze the groups’ behaviors using dramaturgy? Was each group trying to present a “self”?
    1. In your opinion, was the hooliganism the result of failed interaction/communication?
  3. Do you believe it takes a group to create violent norms? Is this something that an individual is capable of? Would the acts of violence vary according to group size? Why or why not?
  4. How do football fans experience role strain and/or role conflict? What is the role of conflict in group membership?
  5. How do the authors perceive identity? How is identity created, according to the authors? How does the authors’ theory of identity lead to their theory of group behavior?
  6. What was the role of the FSA, NFIU, or the Metro Police in the groups’ presentations of “self”? Did the actions of the bureaucracy increase or decrease hooliganism, in your opinion?
  7. In your opinion, what does it take for an ingroup to go from being hostile toward an outgroup to being violent toward them? Does the potential for violence and hostility outweigh the positive functions of ingroup membership? Why or why not?
  8. Prior to the hooliganism, did fans of England define their team affiliation as their master status? What did police see as the fans’ master status? What about the media? What was the result of how each group defined the “England fan” status?

Mobile Phone Communication: Extending Goffman to Mediated Interaction
Ruth Rettie

  1. The article notes that Erving Goffman’s dramaturgical theory of interaction focuses on face-to-face situations, which are understood to offer better conditions for sustained, focused, coordinated communication than mediated (telephone, written) interaction does.  Does the author of the article agree? Do some forms of mediated communication come closer to face-to-face conditions than others?
  2. Why, according to the author, is the distinction between synchronous interaction (i.e., real-time communication, as in a face-to-face discussion) and asynchronous interaction (i.e., not in real-time, as with email) important?
  3. The author claims that the distinction between synchronous and asynchronous communication is not just a matter of technological capacities but is also produced by the expectations and norms of participants.  For example, people in the study expected immediate responses in telephone interaction and nearly immediate responses via texting (SMS), but found delayed responses to email acceptable.
    1. For media discussed in the article (telephone, SMS, email, instant messaging), are your expectations about communication responses similar to those in the study?
    2. Consider media not discussed in the article, such as Facebook, Twitter, Skype, etc.  In your experience, do these media involve norms and expectations about communication synchronicity?
    3. Do you find that norms about whether communication should be synchronous or asynchronous depend on who you are communicating with? Do they differ for communications with your parents, friends, co-workers, etc.?
  4. This article emphasizes symbolic interactionist perspectives, particularly dramaturgy and ethnomethodology.  Could you also study expectations and uses of mediated communication using the rational choice approach to interaction? How would you do so? What questions would you ask?

Max Weber and the Iron Cage of Technology
Terry Maley
Bulletin of Science Technology & Society

  1. What did Weber mean by “disenchantment?”  How was this true in his life time and how is it relevant now?
  2. Why did Weber have such scathing responses to modern science? In what ways did science begin to replace religion in terms of “meanings” we seek?
  3. To what degree was Weber forward-thinking in terms of contemporary technology?
  4. Has modern technology increased the “iron cage” that Weber described?
  5. Can contemporary social scientists “puncture the dense web of bureaucratic technological rationality?”

Chapter 6: Deviance and Social Control: Sickos, Freaks, and Folks Like Us

Best Friendships, Group Relationships, and Antisocial Behavior in Early Adolescence
Robert D. Laird, Gregory S. Pettit, Kenneth A. Dodge, and John E. Bates
The Journal of Early Adolescence

  1. Why do you think that best friends’ behavior did not correlate with subsequent antisocial behavior (only current antisocial behavior)?
  2. How do these findings relate to the theory of differential association?
    1. For how long would you expect a deviant association to influence a person’s behavior? Why? What factors would it depend on?
    2. For how long would you expect non-deviant (conformist) associations to “protect” a child from engaging in deviant behaviors? Why? What factors would it depend on?
  3. How do you explain people who associate with others who are deviant, but who do not become deviant themselves?
    1. What sociological theory would best explain the actions of these non-deviants? Why?

Joining and Leaving Gangs: Selection and Facilitation Effects on Self-Reported Antisocial Behaviour in Early Adolescence
Mons Bendixen, Inger M. Endresen, and Dan Olweus
European Journal of Criminology

  1. This article discusses findings related to a selection effect. What is a selection effect?
    1. Why do you think children behaving in deviant ways decide to join gangs?
    2. Which sociological theory best explains this phenomenon? Why?
  2. Why do you think individuals leave gangs?
    1. Do you think violent behavior stops before or after leaving the gang? Why?
  3. How do you personally label gang members?
    1. Now that you’ve studied sociology, has your opinion about why people join and remain in gangs changed at all? How?

Unlocking Potential: Active Citizenship and Volunteering By Prisoners
Joe Levenson and Finola Farrant
Probation Journal

  1. What volunteer work would you feel comfortable having a prisoner do?
    1. Working with children?
    2. Working with adults?
    3. Working with animals?
    4. Doing tasks that do not involve other people, like stuffing envelopes or cleaning up the community?
  2. Would your level of comfort depend upon the type of crime the prisoner committed?
    1. Which crimes would you be most comfortable with? Why?
    2. Which crimes would you be least comfortable with? Why?
  3. Why do you think some people are so reluctant to have prisoners receive volunteer, occupational, and educational careers?
  4. If you were an applied sociologist, how would you go about choosing which prisoners would be allowed to participate in the volunteer programs?
    1. Why would that be your criteria?

Ain’t Misbehavin: Workplace Deviance as Organizational Resistance
Thomas Lawrence and Sandra Robinson
Journal of Management

  1. Which theoretical perspective(s) do you think the authors of this article take?
    1. What leads you to believe that?
  2. If you wanted to study the authors’ propositions, what methodology would you use? Why do you think this would be the best choice?
  3. How do the authors’ propositions compare to what your textbook says about occupational deviance?

Self-Confessed Troublemakers: An Interactionist View of Deviance during Organizational Change
Melanie Bryant and Vaughan Higgins
Human Relations

  1. The authors criticize the functionalist (or structural functionalist) approach for treating existing norms and definitions of deviance as stable and unproblematic; instead of questioning why some acts are defined as deviant, functionalists focus on causes of deviant behavior by individuals.
    1. Does this criticism also seem to apply to the functionalist theories of deviance outlined in the text, anomie and strain theory?
    2. Do you agree with the criticism?
  2. The authors take an interactionist approach to deviance, focusing specifically on labeling theory which states that groups create deviance by establishing social norms which define or label certain behaviors and people as deviant.
    1. In the article’s data on organizational change, how were employee actions defined as deviant?
    2. Overall, does labeling theory seem to fit the empirical data the article presents?
  3. The authors note that managers, as well as employees, engaged in problematic behavior as their organizations underwent change.
    1. Which actions do you see as more problematic—those of the managers or the employees?
    2. Why were employee actions, and not managerial actions, defined as deviant?
    3. How do the authors incorporate conflict theory, as well as labeling, into their explanations?
  4. Think about (or imagine) a situation in which an organization you are involved with, such as a school, workplace, or church group, experienced significant change.
    1. Did (or would) this change lead to accusations of deviance, as in the article?
    2. What kinds of people would and would not be defined as deviant?
    3. How would the deviant label affect the behavior of the people to whom it was applied?

Revisiting the Guilty Mind: The Neutralization of White-Collar Crime
William A. Stadler and Michael L. Benson
Criminal Justice Review

  1. According to the authors, how are white-collar offenders similar or different from other offenders?
  2. Explain how the authors use Sutherland’s differential association theory to guide their work.
    1. Would another theory have worked as well? Why or why not?
  3. How does neuturalization work to diffuse guilt for these offenders?
  4. Describe how this work could be used by policy makers.

Chapter 7: Stratification: Rich and Famous – or Rags and Famine?

Rejecting the American Dream: Men Creating Alternative Life Goals
Eric Magnuson
Journal of Contemporary Ethnography

  1. What is your definition of the American Dream? How does it vary with the men in Magunson’s sample? What role do you think social status differences between you and the men in the sample play in the differences in your views on the American Dream?
  2. What, if any, types of social mobility did the men in this study experience? How often did they experience mobility?
  3. Your text details several factors that influence whether or not an individual will experience mobility. How did these factors influence the men in this study’s experience with mobility? Where there factors that were not in this text?
  4. Magnunson claims that he studies these factors on a micro-level. How does he do this? The vast majority of research on social inequality focuses on the meso- and macro-levels. Why do you think this is? What questions about inequality can we answer from each level of analysis?
  5. As your text stresses, most theorists see social class as being some combination of wealth, power, and status. How does Magnunson define class? What role does he see family playing in social class location and social inequality? In your opinion, should other factors be included in our understanding of social class?

Talk of Class: The Discursive Repertoires of White Working- and Upper-Class College Students
Jenny Stuber
Journal of Contemporary Ethnography

  1. Stuber’s sample for this article is ultimately made up of your peers. In your everyday conversation with your peers, do you find yourself talking about social class? If no, why do you think you do not discuss this? Is yes, does our conversation tend to reflect the themes that Stuber details in the article?
  2. Stuber shows that individuals seem reluctant to identify what social class their fellow students belong to. Do you believe this is because social class is hard to identify or because it is an uncomfortable topic in our society? Explain. How do your opinions mirror Stuber’s argument?
  3. Stuber also shows that, despite their willingness to identify social class or state that it matters, students create social barriers based on social class. How does this impact stratification? What about mobility?
  4. Stuber highlights the debate among sociologists about whether social class is important because of the macro-level outcomes in social class inequalities or because of the lived experiences among individuals. In your opinion, do you feel that social class would be more important if it shapes an individual’s life chances in unnoticed ways or if it is part of an individual’s lived experience? Explain.

The World Bank’s View of Early Childhood
Helen Penn

  1. How does the World Bank’s view on childhood impact how they attempt to address global poverty? In your opinion, should they reform their view of childhood? Why or why not?
  2. Based on your reading of the text and from examples in this article, how does poverty differ between the global North and the global South? In your opinion, which poverty is most central to address? Explain.
  3. Your text discusses several strategies the United States has explored to eliminate poverty. Would these or similar strategies be helpful, if adopted by the World Bank, to eliminate poverty on a global level? Why or why not? What efforts would be most helpful?
  4. In your opinion, is this article objective or applied sociology? Explain.

Inequality and Sociology
Lane Kenworthy
American Behavioral Scientist

  1. One of the issues in sociological stratification research, according to Kenworthy, is that sociologists shifted from caring about how much inequality existed in society to caring about what determines mobility. In your opinion, which of these issues is more important? Explain. Can we thoroughly understand one without examining the other? Why or why not?
  2. Inequality theorists focus on wealth, power, and status. Kenworthy, on the other hand, focuses primarily on income and earnings inequality. Is this a thorough enough understanding of inequality? Why or why not?
  3. Kenworthy argues that comparative research is best to understand inequality in the United States. Are you convinced by this argument? Why or why not? What can comparative research add to our understanding of U.S. inequality? What limitations does comparative research bring to our understanding of U.S. inequality?
  4. Kenworthy also compares the amount of inequality across 10 nations using multiple measures. What measure is best, in your opinion? Why or why not? Is each measure reliable? Is each measure valid? Explain.

The Declining Political Significance of Social Class
Terry Nichols Clark, Seymour Martin Lipset, and Michael Rempel
International Sociology

  1. What evidence do the authors cite to suggest the declining political significance of class?
  2. Do you agree or disagree with the authors’ argument that Westerners cannot assess the significance of social class in the same way as those who have lived through the intellectual, political, and economic revolutions that occurred in Eastern European, Asian, and Caribbean nations?
  3. In the US, we see a rise in social stratification and employment instability. Does this suggest a resurrection of the significance of class in the US?
  4. The authors suggest social class is less important because individuals have other ways to mobilize in modern societies. What are some other ways individuals can mobilize? Do you think individuals are more or less likely to mobilize around new issues than social class?
  5. In your opinion, has a blurring of the Left-Right political continuum occurred in the US? How so or how not? Explain.
  6. Table 1 shows correlations between social and fiscal issues. Were you surprised by the correlations or were they what you expected? Note that 0.3 or less is considered a low correlation and 0.7 or greater is considered a high correlation
  7. With a change in the relative affluence of the middle-class in the US and the rise in middle-class social movements, do you expect New Fiscal Populists to flourish or decline in the US? Why?
  8. The rise of a new creative class is discussed in Chapter 3 (see the “Applied Sociologist at Work” discussion of Richard Florida and the “creative class”). Where does this new class fall on the social stratification hierarchy? What challenges do they face?
  9. What is the role of globalization in the declining political significance of social class?

The Persistence of Classes in Post-Industrial Societies
Mike Hout, Clem Brooks, and Jeff Manza
International Sociology

  1. The authors make three arguments about why social class is indispensable for sociology. What argument do you find most convincing? Why? Can you think of other reasons sociologists should continue to examine the role of social class?
  2. The authors put forth two schemas for classifying social class. Do you agree or disagree with their definition of social class? Which schema do you feel is the most accurate way to classify social classes? Why?
  3. The authors state that the manual working class has declined in size in numerous countries. Could the decline of the manual working class explain the “death of class”? Is the “death of class” just the restructuring of social class? Is it the increasing complexity of the importance of social class? Or is the importance of class fading?
  4. Hout et al. take issue with Clark et al.’s claim that the modern family is more equal. What is the main argument of both authors? Which argument do you believe is most accurate? Why?
  5. This article and the Clark, Lipset and Rempel articles are critiques of one another. Which piece has the most effective critique of the other? Why?

Class Identities and the Identity of Class
Wendy Bottero

  1. What is the difference between an occupational definition of class and a lifestyle definition of class? In your opinion, which definition is more important for sociologists to consider? Why? Which definition is most important to individuals? Why?
  2. In your opinion, how important is economics in defining social class?
  3. Does identity have to be self-defined? Why do we identify social classes that those around us belong to, yet fail to place ourselves in social classes?
    1. Some researchers suggest that social class is not important because most individuals do not identify as members of a social class. Do you agree or disagree with this argument? Why?
  4. The author states that social class is acceptable to discuss as a political issue, but not as an identity issue. Do you agree or disagree with this assessment? Why?
  5. As stated in the article, Pierre Bourdieu (an influential French sociologist) argued that the middle-class actively devaluated and stigmatized working-class culture to maintain their social location. Do you agree or disagree with this assessment? If so, how do we work to re-create stratification on a daily basis? If not, what creates social stratification?
  6. Do you believe that social class stratification exists at the micro-, meso-, and macro-level? If not, where is it most salient?
  7. How else can “people like us” be construed if it does not relate to social class? Does this mean that we have to consider every possible definition of “people like us” when we evaluate the role of social class in inequality?
  8. What is the difference between class consciousness and classed consciousness? What is the implication of each existing in society?
  9. In your opinion, which is more socially challenging, interacting with people unlike yourself or liking things those around you do not like? Explain.
  10. What is the role of exclusion in social class stratification?
  11. How does this article tie into the “death of class” debate that was the focus of the previous two articles?

Social Class and the Daily Lives of Children: A Study from the United States
Annette Lareau

  1. How do the lives of children differ by class? By race? Give specific examples the author provides in the article.
  2. Which childhood activities do you think kids enjoy most? Do you think they enjoy structured or unstructured activities more? Which types of activities do you think will help them the most in the future? Why?
  3. How do parents’ jobs influence their children’s routines? What about their activities?
  4. How does the definition of “busy” vary by social class? Do you think this reflects larger social class differences? Why or why not?
  5. How does the difference in scheduled activities impact children’s interactions with adults? How does interaction with adults affect children?
  6. How does social class affect the activities and schedules of mothers? What about fathers?
  7. In your opinion, how autonomous should children be? What problems does autonomy create? How does autonomy help children? Explain.
  8. What is the role of performance in the lives of these families? How is performance connected to social class?

Social Stratification and the Digital Divide
Kenneth R. Wilson, Jennifer S. Wallin, and Christa Reiser
Social Science Computer Review

  1. What is the digital divide? Which social groups are most affected by the digital divide?
  2. The authors use computer ownership, home internet access, and public internet access as measures of the digital divide. Which of these measures do you feel is most effective? Why? What are the limitations you see in the other measures? What do you think the optimal measure of the digital divide would be and why?
  3. The article discusses numerous initiatives to increase computer and internet access in the US. When do you think the clear majority of Americans will have computer access? What about computer literacy? Internet access?
  4. Do you think it is easier or harder to learn how to use a computer now than it was 15 years ago? How can we ensure that individuals have computer knowledge even if we are unable to ensure that all individuals own a computer?
  5. How can social policies affect the digital divide? What would you do, as a policy maker, to close the digital divide in the US? What about internationally? Explain.

Beyond Deservingness: Congressional Discourse on Poverty, 1964-1996
Joshua Guetzkow
The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science

  1. The author analyses two sets of frames that were used for understanding and addressing poverty in the 1960s and the 1980s-90s.
    1. How does each set of frames describe the causes of poverty and the nature of poor people?
    2. Do your own views on poverty and the poor correspond to either set of frames? To a mixture of the two? How so or how not?
    3. Which set of frames do you think is more prevalent today among policy-makers? Among people you know?
    4. Do you think that the “Great Recession” which began in 2008 will lead to the development of new frames for understanding poverty and/or new policies to address poverty?
  2. The article focuses on how poverty policy is shaped by “frames,” which the author describes as “shared, negotiated cognitive schemas” that provide “individuals with a framework for interpreting the world around them.”
    1. Of the major theoretical perspectives outlined in your textbook (symbolic interactionism, rational choice theory, conflict theory, structural functionalism), which does this article seem to exemplify most closely?
    2. Pick a different major theoretical perspective: can you use it to develop an alternative explanation for the shift in poverty policy discussed in the article? Do you like this explanation better than the one offered in the article? Why?
    3. Would you describe the article as offering a micro-, meso-, or macro-level account of poverty policy?
  3. Recently, policy makers in the U.S. have been faced with not only with poverty, but also with problems stemming from the other end of the stratification system: some very highly paid banking and investment professionals have engaged in unwise and potentially unscrupulous practices, resulting in government bailouts in the financial industry.
    1. Can the two sets of poverty frames described in the article also be used to understand the actions of the wealthy?
    2. If so, what types of policy initiatives might be implemented to prevent future financial turmoil under each set of frames? Would you agree with those policies?
  4. Pick a different social issue or problem (which need not be related to poverty or stratification) and think about public debate on policy related to that issue.  What diagnostic and target frames are used to understand it?

Chapter 8: Race and Ethnic Group Stratification: Beyond “We” and “They”

Negotiating Blackness, for Richer or for Poorer
Mary Pattillo

  1. In this article, Pattillo uses a measure of class that does not look to income as the primary component. How, then, does she measure class? What does this bring to the study, in your opinion? Make sure to discuss both benefits and limitations.
  2. How do the black residents in Pattillo’s study use boundaries to both create community in their neighborhoods and to create divisions? In your opinion, were these boundaries most heavily employed to create class or race distinctions?
  3. One of the theories your text discusses, intersectionality, stresses the importance of recognizing the influence of multiple statuses simultaneously on individuals’ lived experiences. What would Pattillo have lost in her study had she just focused on class? What about if she had just focused on race? In your opinion, are there any limitations of her taking an intersectional perspective? Explain.
  4. Pattillo challenges our common understanding of privileged groups in society. Can individuals be simultaneously privileged and disadvantaged based on their social statuses? What impact does this have?
  5. Which theory of racial and ethnic stratification explains the relationship between the affluent and poor African Americans in Chicago’s South Side? Explain.

“Assume the Position. . .You Fit the Description”: Psychosocial Experiences and Racial Battle Fatigue Among African American College Students.
William A. Smith, Walter R. Allen, and Lynette L. Danley
American Behavioral Scientist

  1. How does stereotyping influence the college experiences of the African American males in the sample? What about institutionalized discrimination? Based on their experiences, which is worse for lived experiences? Which is worse for perpetuating inequality?
  2. Your text examines several explanations of prejudice. Which of these best explains the experiences of the men in this study? Explain.
  3. Your text also details several reactions that minority individuals show to prejudice, discrimination, and racism. What are some examples of each of these from the data? As your text argues, the majority of these strategies only address inequality at the micro-level. Is this an issue for concern? Why or why not?
  4. The authors do show that some of the experiences of the men in their sample are caused by structural factors at the university level. What efforts does your university take that may alienate racial minorities? What efforts does your university take to alleviate alienation among racial minorities? Are they effective? Why or why not?
  5. The article concludes by discussing the persistent problem of underrepresentation of African American males on college campuses. What changes can colleges make if they want to address this inequality?

From Sombreros to Sincronizadas: Authenticity, Ethnicity, and the Mexican Restaurant Industry
Marie Sarita Gaytan
Journal of Contemporary Ethnography

  1. In this article, the author shows that ethnicity can be socially constructed at the individual and organizational level. How do the employees work to socially construct ethnicity? How is ethnicity socially constructed at the restaurant level? Does the process vary? How so or how not?
  2. Ethnicity by its definition is about meaningful differences between cultures. What elements of culture are important for Mexicans and the Mexican restaurant industry?
  3. In your opinion, do you see the adherence to traditional Mexican culture in the article as an attempt to assimilate to mainstream culture by conforming to its stereotypes and assumptions, or is it a desire to maintain authenticity? Explain.
  4. When the restaurateurs discuss whether or not Mexican restaurants will be successful in various locations, what model of ethnic contact do you believe they are basing their decision on? Explain.
  5. Which groups play a role in constructing what ‘authentic’ Mexican culture is? Do you believe that all of these groups should have a role in this? Why or why not? What does this suggest about Mexican culture to you?

Color-Blind Ideology and the Cultural Appropriation of Hip-Hop
Jason Rodriquez
Journal of Contemporary Ethnography

  1. A major characteristic of this subculture is an awareness of racism on the macro level. However, they also exhibit characteristics of symbolic racism. What does this say about the effectiveness of color-blindness as a strategy to address racism and racial discrimination?
  2. Do you feel that limiting the sample only to conscious hip-hop influences Rodriquez’s results? Why or why not?
  3. How does the white audience members’ presence in the hip-hop community work to perpetuate advantage?

The Underlife of Kids’ School Lunchtime: Negotiating Ethnic Boundaries and Identity in Food Exchange
Misago Nukaga
Journal of Contemporary Ethnography

  1. The author argues that understanding ethnicity among young children may be different than understanding ethnicity among adults. Do you agree with this assessment? Why or why not? Why might ethnicity be difficult to measure in children? What does this tell us about ethnicity?
  2. Food, Nukaga argues, plays a major role in defining ethnic identity for these young children. Do you feel that food plays a major role in defining ethnic identity for all individuals? Why or why not?
  3. We think of food being something that is relatively easy to share, making it a reasonable means of assimilation. However, the exchange of food seems very complex, by Nukaga’s account. What does this say, then, about the role of food in assimilation and group contact?
  4. How do the children use food to construct social relationships? How did this reflect or construct stratification among these children?

“I Am Not a Racist But. . .”: Mapping White College Students’ Racial Ideology in the USA
Eduardo Bonilla-Silva and Tryone A. Forman
Discourse and Society

  1. Before reading the article, how would you have defined racism? Did your concept of racism change after reading the article? How did the student subjects define racism? What about the researchers? What is the new kind of racism, according to Bonilla-Silva and Forman?
  2. What cultural shifts in the US have led to the emergence of a new form of racism?
  3. Do you think the authors would have had different findings if they chose to include other students in their sample? How so or why not?
  4. Is it possible to see social problems in our society and not want to change them? Why or why not?
  5. How did the students’ views reflect issues of privilege and disadvantage?
  6. If people fear being “outed” as racists, doesn’t that suggest that they are racist or have racist thoughts? Why else would we ever say “I’m not a racist, but. . .”?
  7. The authors discuss how the students often had difficulty talking during the interview. Does this reflect the complicated nature of racial issues or their fear of exposing their beliefs about race? Have you seen communication difficulty with another sensitive topic (like sexuality or politics)? What might contribute to conversational difficulty?
  8. How does new racism correspond to Goffman’s notion of the presentation of self? How does a “new racetalk” tie into Goffman’s ideas of interaction?
  9. Why are Affirmative Action and other policies so difficult for Americans to accept? What cultural beliefs and values support Affirmative Action policies? What cultural beliefs and values go against Affirmative Action?
    1. Based on the discussion of Affirmative Action policies in your textbook, which view of Affirmative Action do you believe the majority of Americans hold?
  10. What social problems are created by whites’ denial of racism? In what ways do the students identify racism and structural discrimination?
  11. What is “color-blind racism” and what are the different manifestations of color-blind racism in our social world? If policies are held back or defeated because of color-blind racism, what can we do to lessen racial discrimination in our society?
  12. What is “reasonable racism” and what is its social significance?
  13. What does this study suggest about the overall general assessment that racial tolerance is increasing in the US?

Anti-Muslim Racism and the European Security State
Liz Fekete
Race and Class

  1. How does Fekete’s concept of new racism relate to Bonilla-Silva and Forman’s concept of new racism?
  2. What is the relationship between the perceived danger of terrorism and the measures that have been taken to counter it?
  3. What are the functions and dysfunctions of the forced assimilation of Muslims in Europe? Does forced assimilation of Muslims exist in the US?
  4. How did the events of September 11th change the global definition of terrorism? In your opinion, is the new definition an ethnocentric or a culturally relative definition?
  5. In your opinion, can we respond to terrorism without responding to unsubstantiated threats? What are the social and political dangers of responding to unsubstantiated threats?
  6. Is Muslim student profiling discrimination? Is it different from racial profiling, like “DWB” or “driving while black”? Why or why not?
  7. The author argues that generalized anti-Muslim xeno-racism does not meet any of the functions it was created to serve. How is this possible?
  8. The article details many instances of innocent Muslims arrested or accused of supporting terrorism while conducting everyday activities. What do you think about this kind of behavior? Do you think profiling is more or less prevalent in the US?
  9. How can there be a difference in Muslim profiling between the US and Europe when the profiling is the response to the same event?
  10. Are Muslims characteristically different from other minority groups in the world? In the US? In Europe? Why or why not?
  11. Why does the author say that the rise in anti-Muslim security measures equates to the “death of multi-culturalism”? Do you agree or disagree with her assessment? Why?
  12. How do identity cards, language tests, or integration contracts decrease the threat of terrorism?

Contextualizing Immigrant Labor Market Incorporation: Legal, Demographic, and Economic Dimensions
Jacqueline Maria Hagan
Work and Occupations

  1. Who are US immigrants? What important changes are emerging in US immigration patterns?
  2. How have immigration policies changed over time? How have policy changes impacted the demographic trends we see in immigration patterns?
  3. What is the role of immigrants in the US workforce? Why might it be too simple an argument to state that “immigrants take jobs from Americans”?
  4. What social factors, in your opinion, account for the extreme level of stratification we see between immigrants? Why do they vary so much in educational attainment, occupational prestige, and income?
  5. What are the important factors contributing to immigration from both the supply and the demand side? In your opinion, does the supply or demand side of immigration best explain the state of immigration in the US? Why?
  6. What social factors contribute to the concentration of immigrants in certain occupational sectors?
  7. What are the different ways immigrants use social networks, according to the author? What are other ways social networks can significantly impact an immigrant’s experiences?
  8. How do you think that current policies (either proposed or implemented) will affect the demographic characteristics of immigrants? Do you believe these changes will be best for our society? Why or why not?
  9. The author suggests that the most practical or functional policy the US could adopt toward immigration would be to allow a specific number of immigrants entry to fill jobs in the professional, skilled, and unskilled markets. Why does the author suggest this policy? What do you think about this policy? Would this be a functional immigration policy? What problems would it address? What problems would it not address?

Complicating Race: The Relationship between Prejudice, Race, and Social Class Categorizations
Matthew Weeks and Michael B. Lupfer
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin

  1. What evidence do the authors use to support their claim that it is impractical to consider race and class as separate entities?
  2. Do you think our society discusses race and class as independent social statuses? Why or why not?
  3. Which do you think is more important in our society, race or class? How might it depend on the context? Do you think race and class ever act independently of one another? Explain.
  4. How do stereotypes of Blacks and Whites vary when they are associated with social class?
  5. Do you think the authors would have had different findings if they included gender in the study? What about if they had included women in the first research design? What do you expect the gender differences might have been, if any?
  6. The authors find that “lower-class Blacks were categorized predominantly by race . . ., whereas middle-class Blacks were categorized predominantly by social class membership” (p. 980). Why do you think this is?
  7. What is the impact of stereotyping on classification and judgment, according to the findings of this article? What is the importance of lived experiences of classification and judgment, according to this article?
  8. What do the findings of this article suggest about the impact of material status symbols on stereotypes and classification?
  9. In your opinion, do these authors give enough attention to the structural determinants of stereotypes and discrimination? Do the authors’ findings suggest changes we could use to address institutional discrimination in our society?

The Changing Face of Racial Discrimination: Hispanics as the Dominant Minority in the USA - A New Application of Power-Threat Theory
John Markert
Critical Sociology

  1. The article draws on Blalock’s power-threat theory, a version of conflict theory which claims that a dominant group will engage in more prejudice and discrimination against a minority group if the latter is perceived as a large enough threat to the dominant group’s privileged economic and political position.
    1. In general, how well do you think this theory explains White/Anglo American attitudes and actions towards Mexicans and other Hispanics? African Americans? Asian Americans?
    2. The author notes that there is evidence of anti-Hispanic prejudice among some African Americans – members of a minority rather than a dominant group.  Can power-threat theory explain this phenomenon? How?
    3. Besides the power-threat thesis, what other theories might explain anti-Hispanic prejudice and discrimination among White and Black Americans?
  2. The author claims that prejudice and discrimination are amplified by the media, which portray the U.S. Hispanic population as larger and more distinct (illegal, non-English-speaking) from mainstream Americans than it really is.
    1. Were you convinced of this claim by the evidence the author presents? By your own engagement with media coverage of Hispanics and immigration?
    2. Do the media also present distorted images of other racial and ethnic minorities, such as African or Asian Americans?  Does this contribute to their being perceived as a threat to the dominant group?
  3. What characteristic of the U.S. Hispanic population do you think dominant Whites see as most threatening—its perceived size or its perceived distinctness from the mainstream? Why?

    1. Which aspect of perceived distinctness do you think is more threatening—illegality or lack of desire to learn English?
    2. If the U.S. Hispanic population were the same size as it is (or is perceived to be) but all members were known to be English-speaking and in the country legally, would White and African Americans cease to see it as a threat? Would anti-Hispanic prejudice and discrimination end?
  4. The author notes that Hispanics are supplanting African Americans as the “dominant minority” in the U.S.  Do you think this means that in the future, African Americans will be subject to less prejudice and discrimination than in the past?
  5. Your text outlines several types of policies designed to reduce prejudice, racism, and discrimination, including individual, group, and institutional or societal strategies.  Which of these might be most effective in alleviating White and African American prejudice against Hispanics?

Work Attitudes of Mexican Americans
Charles N. Weaver
Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences

  1. What characteristics of Mexican Americans led the author to assume that he would find difference between Mexican and Euro-American workers?
  2. Would you, like the author, assume these differences? What factors contributed to your social construction of reality concerning Mexican Americans and work?
  3. What differences DID the author find and how can these be explained?
  4. What theoretical perspective would best guide this research?

Chapter 9: Gender Stratification: She/He – Who Goes First?

Unpacking the Gender System: A Theoretical Perspective on Gender Beliefs and Social Relations
Cecilia Ridgeway and Shelly Correll
Gender and Society

  1. What impact do you think it has on female employees if men are considered more competent workers?
    1. How might this be related to the glass ceiling?
  2. If men are considered equally or slightly less competent in female-dominated fields, how might you explain the glass escalator?
    1. How might you explain the sticky floor phenomenon?
  3. Which hegemonic beliefs about masculinity and femininity are most common among your cultural group?

American Steroids: Using Race and Gender
CL Cole and Alex Mobley
Journal of Sport and Social Issues

  1. Do you feel that there is increasing pressure on men to have “perfect bodies”?
    1. What does the standard of a perfect male body look like?
    2. How might this standard differ by race?
  2. What sociological theory do you feel best describes the use of steroids by major league athletes? How?
  3. How might white male athletes feel threatened by black male athletes?
    1. Is this threat legitimate?
    2. How might it be related to discrimination against Black men in American society?
  4. Do you think there is such a thing as a “Superman image” (similar to a “Superwoman” image)?
    1. If not, why not?
    2. If so, what does the “Superman image” entail?

Becoming “One of the Girls”: The Transition to Lesbian in Midlife
Nancy C. Larson

  1. Do you feel that these women were born lesbians or did they become lesbians later in life?
    1. How would you go about answering that question scientifically?
    2. Why might relying on self-reports be problematic?
  2. If you were an applied sociologist, how would you help these women deal with their new “loss of status and privileges”?
    1. Do you think these women were aware of the heterosexist bias in society before becoming lesbians? Why or why not?
  3. What do you think makes some lesbian women choose not to leave their husbands?
    1. If your own romantic partner decided after 20 years that he or she wanted to be with someone of a different sex than you, would you want to know? Why or why not?
    2. Would you encourage them to pursue their desire or would you try to talk them out of it? Why?

Pimp-Controlled Prostitution: Still an Integral Part of Street Life
Celia Williamson and Terry Cluse-Tolar
Violence Against Women

  1. Do you feel that independent entrepreneurial prostitution is more empowering than pimp-controlled prostitution? Why or why not?
    1. Can prostitution ever be empowering for women? In no, why not? If yes, in what situation?
  2. How is “pimping” related to domestic violence?
  3. Is pimping a form of “doing masculinity”? Why or why not?
  4. If you were to do a follow-up study of these women and their pimps, what would you expect to find?
    1. Will most of the women still be prostituting? Why or why not?
    2. Will most of the men still be pimping? Why or why not?
    3. If you were an applied sociologist, what types of programs would you create to help the prostitutes? What programs would you create to help the pimps?

Young Muslim women on the face veil (niqab): A tool of resistance in Europe but rejected in the United States
Faegheh Shirazi and Smeeta Mishra
International Journal of Cultural Studies

  1. Before reading this article, what did you understand the veil (face veil, headscarf, burqa, etc.) to mean when you saw a woman wearing one (or perhaps wore one yourself) in public?
    1. What about the coverings worn by women of other religions, such as Mennonites or orthodox Jews?
    2. Were you surprised at the views of the niqab (face veil) expressed by the American Muslim women in the authors’ study?
  2. Some Westerners have argued that veiling is evidence of Muslim women’s subjection to patriarchal control. In the article, however, the veil is described as part of a Muslim emphasis on modesty in dress, which can be constraining for women or can empower them, even offering opportunities for agency and resistance.
    1. Which argument do you agree with more? Is veiling a result of male domination, or can it lead to women’s empowerment? Could both be the case?
    2. What about other religions’ practices emphasizing modesty, particularly for women?
    3. Take the opposite case of immodest women’s clothing—the bikinis, low-cut tops, mini-skirts, and such that are popular in Western countries, but not among religious Muslims.  Do these symbolize women’s subjugation to men, their empowerment, or both?
    4. Can you think of any religious meanings or rules for men’s clothing and physical appearances? If so, what are the meanings of men’s appearances? Are they subject to as much political and social debate as Muslim women’s veils are?
  3. The article (pp. 49) describes several instances in which Muslim women in the U.S. and Europe were excluded from public services and proceedings, including school and work, because they refused to remove their veils.
    1. Were the decisions to exclude the women justified, or do they represent discrimination against Muslims? Against women? Against Muslim women in particular?
    2. What do you think would be appropriate government policy regarding women wearing veils in public places? What about women and men wearing other religious garments and symbols?
  4. The “intersectional” strand of feminist theory, described in your text, argues that gender meanings and inequalities cannot be understood in isolation from other differences and stratification systems, such as race and class.
    1. In the article, how are gender roles impacted by religion and national context? Are the meanings and practices of being a woman different for Muslim and non-Muslim Americans? For Muslims living in different countries?
    2. The authors also suggest that class plays a role: American Muslim women’s attitudes towards the niqab are different from European Muslim women’s in part because the Americans have a higher socio-economic standing.  Why might class make a difference?

Gender Discrimination at Work: Connecting Gender Stereotypes, Institutional Policies, and Gender Composition of Workplace
Donna Bobbitt-Zeher
Gender & Society

  1. Explain how this research touches on micro, meso and macro level understandings of how gender discrimination unfolds in the workplace.
  2. According to the author, men and women experience work in different ways.  Outline some of these differences and provide an explanation for them at the micro, meso, and macro levels.
  3. The author finds evidence of gender stereotyping in the narratives that she examines.
    1. What are the various types of stereotyping that she considers?
    2. What cultural and structural forces help to maintain these stereotypes?
  4. How could this research be used by employers to make work experiences more similar for men and women?

Chapter 10: Family: Partner Taking, People Making, and Contract Breaking

Work Stress in the Family Life of African Americans
Clifford L. Broman
Journal of Black Studies

  1. The authors theorize that physically demanding jobs negatively impact marriages because those with physically demanding jobs come home tired and stressed out.
    1. Do you feel that physically demanding jobs are more stressful than other types of jobs? Why or why not?
    2. What alternative explanations can you think of that explain this relationship between physically demanding jobs and marital disharmony?
  2. How do you think unemployment affects the family?
    1. Does is matter if the unemployed partner is male or female? Why or why not?
    2. Do you think the race/ethnicity of the unemployed person matters? Why or why not?
  3. Often, those families who need flexible schedules the most are the ones who have the least flexible jobs. If you were an applied sociologist, what types of programs would you design that would allow factory workers or manual laborers to have more family-friendly workplaces?

Paths of Marriage in Istanbul: Arranging Choices and Choice in Arrangements
Belgin Tekçe

  1. Under what circumstances could you ever imagine yourself allowing your parents to arrange a blind date for you?
    1. Under what circumstances would you ever consider allowing an arranged marriage?
    2. Who would you trust more to arrange a marriage for you- your friends or your family? Why?
  2. What do you think feminist theorists would say about arranged marriages? In what ways might they be harmful for women? Are there any ways that they could be beneficial for women?

Setting the Clock Forward or Back?: Covenant Marriage and the “Divorce Revolution”
Laura Sanchez, Steven L. Nock, James D. Wright, Constance T. Gager
Journal of Family Issues

  1. Since covenant marriage is now an option, why do you think people would choose not to have a covenant marriage?
    1. Is electing to have a “regular” marriage a sign of lesser commitment? Why or why not?
    2. If you wanted to marry, which type of marriage would you choose and why?
  2. If you were to do a longitudinal study of two groups of couples who were married in 2005 (those with covenant marriages and a similar group of couples with “regular” marriages), what would you expect to find in 2025?
    1. Do you think the divorce rates will be different for the two groups? In what way?
    2. How do you think the happiness of the couples who are still married might differ?
  3. Some of the feminists in this article wished to do away with marriage altogether. If their vision came to fruition, what might such a world look like?
    1. Do you feel that people would still form families without marriage? Why or why not?
    2. Would people in the United States still be mostly monogamous if marriage did not exist? Why or why not?

Fathering, Class, and Gender: A Comparison of Physicians and Emergency Medical Technicians
Carla Shows and Naomi Gerstel
Gender and Society

  1. How much time did your father spend engaged with you and/or your siblings as you were growing up?
    1. Did he do more of the “public” or the “private” fathering described in the article?
    2. The article suggests that upper-middle class professional men do more public fathering and working class men more private (as well as public) fathering.  Given your father’s occupation, did his fathering fit this pattern? If not, can you think of reasons why?
    3. Do you think one pattern of fathering is superior to the other, or are they equally valuable? Why?
  2. The study described in the article found that EMTs’ wives were often successful in insisting that their husbands spend time with the family, while doctors’ wives either did not insist or were unsuccessful.
    1. Does this suggest that the two sets of families have different types of authority relations? (Your text outlines four types of authority relations: patriarchal, matriarchal, egalitarian, and resource-related.)
    2. How was wives’ control over their husbands’ time affected by constraints of the husbands’ jobs? Of their own jobs?
  3. Intersectional feminist theory claims that gender roles are shaped by class, race, and other social differences.  The article shows that fathering styles, an aspect of masculinity, are shaped by class and occupation.
    1. Aside from time spent with children, can you think of other aspects of fatherhood that are also shaped by class?
    2. Do you think mothering styles also vary by class?
  4. Of the theoretical perspectives on the family outlined in your text, which are used in this article? Do you see elements of symbolic interactionism? Rational choice theory? Functionalism? Conflict theory? Feminist theory?

The division of labor and perceptions of parental roles: Lesbian couples across the transition to parenthood
Abbie E. Goldberg and Maureen Perry-Jenkins
Journal of Social and Personal Relationships

Prior to reading this article, consider your own understandings about how men and women divide household chores and childcare.  What theories support your understandings of those divisions of labor?

  1. Do the results of this study surprise you in terms of how lesbian mothers divide labor in the home? In what ways?
  2. What factors tend to dictate the division of labor for heterosexual couples? What about lesbian couples?
  3. How does this work advance our understandings of how labor is divided in the home?
  4. Could the authors have used symbolic interactionism to guide this research? How might this theory have also worked?
  5. How can the increased time that biological mothers spend with children be explained sociologically?

Chapter 11: Education: What Are We Learning?

Overcoming Educational Exclusion: Is Diversity an Appropriate Model for Democratic Higher Education?
Richard Harvey Brown
American Behavioral Scientist

  1. Why is exclusion such an important issue to higher education?
  2. Despite numerous efforts to address exclusion in higher education, Brown details how universities are largely unable to solve the problems of exclusion. What efforts have been more successful at addressing exclusion? What efforts have been less successful? What does this suggest for many universities’ plans to grow diversity?
  3. Select a theory from your text and apply it to the issues of exclusion in higher education. Would you be able to apply several theories to this issue or is there a clear ‘best fit’? Explain.
  4. Does your university have any policies to address issues of diversity and exclusion in your institution? What do they look like? Drawing from Brown’s argument, what is their likelihood of success? Explain.
  5. What is the connection, according to Brown, between the meso-level institution of education and macro-level practice of democracy? How would you apply the social world model to the study of diversity in higher education?

Social Background, Credential Inflation, and Educational Strategies
Herman G. Van de Werfhorst and Robert Andersen
Acta Sociologica

  1. Assess van de Werforst and Andersen’s argument from a Rational Choice perspective. Given your and your colleagues’ experiences, do you believe that people are most interested in education when the return is high? Why or why not? What does this say about the cultural value we place on learning and knowledge?
  2. What role does social mobility play in education, according to the authors? How does this relate to the discussion in your text about how higher education works to re-create systems of social class inequality? Is there a difference between compulsory and higher education?
  3. The researchers found that, over time, most levels of education lose their return (the process of credential inflation). Do you foresee a point in our society where your undergraduate education will lose its social return? Why or why not? What impact will this have on society as a whole, in your opinion?
  4. The text discusses the important role parents play in children’s educational decisions. How do they influence college attendance, according to the authors? Based on your experiences and the experiences of your peers, is this accurate? Explain.
  5. The authors discuss education as a meritocracy, based on their findings. What do they argue? Are you convinced by their conclusion about meritocracy in higher education? Why or why not?

“What’s a Mother To Do?”: Gentrification, School Selection, and the Consequences for Community Cohesion
Judith N. DeSena
American Behavioral Scientist

  1. The text mentions that several sociologists see family background as a very important indicator of children’s educational success. How are the families in DeSena’s sample, particularly the mothers, involved in their children’s education? What is the impact of this involvement?
  2. The text discusses funding as an important issue because it creates inequalities between community schools. However, this article discusses how inequalities can emerge within districts as well as between them. What is a more important issue to address, in your opinion, inequalities between or within communities? Explain. How would we have to change our current policy focus to be able to address both types of inequalities? Explain.
  3. What role does cultural capital play in the residents’ selection into the neighborhood and into the schools? Does this suggest that education here is more or less meritocratic? Explain.
  4. The article details a relationship between social identity at the micro-level, family involvement at the meso-level, and school participation at the macro-level. Use the social world model to explain these relationships in more detail.

When and Why Dropouts Leave High School
Elizabeth Stearns and Elizabeth J. Glennie
Youth and Society

  1. What factors do the authors suggest influence why students drop out of high school? Were there any factors that you did not expect to influence drop out rates? If so, why did you not expect that factor to influence drop out rates?
  2. What are the social consequences of dropping out of high school? Given the social consequences, why do you think individuals choose to drop out?
  3. The authors find that the dropout rate in ninth grade is far higher than at any other grade level. How would you explain this finding?
    1. What do you think the life chances for a ninth grade dropout look like?
  4. How does the decision to drop out of school vary across social statuses? Given the increased likelihood of some social groups to drop out, how do trends in high school incompletion relate to social stratification?
  5. What are the differences between “pull-out” and “push-out” theories of high school incompletion? In your opinion, which theory most accurately explains dropping out? Why are you more convinced by the theory you chose?
  6. What social problems can be created or increased by a high number of individuals having incomplete education?
  7. States have laws about when and how an individual can drop out of high school. Given the constraints on life chances that drop outs experience, should states make policies that prohibit individuals from dropping out of high school? What would be some positive and negative consequences of a policy requiring all students to complete school?

Do Teachers Discriminate? Reactions to Pupil Behaviour in Four Comprehensive Schools Philippa Hurrell

  1. If research suggests that discrimination is prevalent in schools, do you suspect it is equally prevalent in other social institutions? Why or why not?
  2. Is behavior necessarily independent of race, class, and gender? Is it possible that teachers are more aware of bad behavior when they are already expecting it? Why or why not?
  3. The researchers who observed most classrooms in this study only spent about 15 minutes in each one. Do you think their conclusions are limited by the amount of time they spent in the classrooms? Why or why not?
  4. In your opinion, which is the best measure of bad behavior that the authors use? Why?
  5. How do the researchers explain away the relationship between stereotyping and labeling pupil behavior? Are you satisfied by this explanation? Why or why not?
  6. What is the difference between expectations and prejudice? How do the findings of this article correspond to the various types of racism and discrimination presented in Chapter 8?
  7. The authors conclude that it is unclear whether or not the pupils viewed as “disruptive” are treated differently when they misbehave. Based on your own school experiences, what do you think is the relationship between how teachers discipline “disruptive” and non-disruptive students?

The Paradox of Poverty Narratives: Educators Struggling with Children Left Behind
Cynthia I. Gerstl-Pepin
Educational Policy Online

  1. What are the main tenets of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) policy? What are the main arguments for and against NCLB? If you do not know the main arguments for and against NCLB, what do you think they might be and why?
  2. According to the author, what are some of the social problems created by NCLB? What is the importance of social class in the successful implementation of NCLB?
  3. How does NCLB affect teachers and administrators? Many teachers are strongly against NCLB. Why do you suspect this is?
  4. This article is written by an educational policy specialist. How is the author’s argument different from the sociological perspective on NCLB discussed in your textbook? How is the argument similar? Why do you think there is (or is not) a difference between how the two disciplines evaluate NCLB?
  5. What problems does the author highlight as specific to schools serving high-poverty communities? Why do the educators and administrators in these districts feel NCLB specifically disadvantages high-poverty communities?
  6. What policy recommendations does the author suggest will address the problems of NCLB in schools that service high-poverty communities? Which of these policies do you think will make the greatest difference? The least difference? Explain.
  7. How would you modify NCLB so that it more evenly benefits all groups of students? How do you think the educators and administrators quoted in the article would modify NCLB? How do your modifications compare and contrast to the modifications you believe the educators and administrators would make?

Mexican Immigrants in U.S. Schools: Targets of Symbolic Violence
Sheila M. Shannon and Kathy Escamilla
Educational Policy Online

  1. What do the authors mean by the concept of “symbolic violence”? What examples of symbolic violence targeted at Mexican immigrants do they illustrate in the article?
  2. What do you think would be positive and negative consequences of instating an “English only” policy in the United States? How do “English only” policies relate to symbolic racism (discussed in Chapter 8)?
  3. Why do the authors suggest that Mexican immigrants have unique experiences in the US? What structural practices and changes contribute to this? Do you agree or disagree with their assessment that Mexican immigrants have a unique experience interacting with the dominant group?
  4. What is the particular effect of California Proposition 187 in influencing the experiences of Mexican immigrants in the US? How do the authors suggest CP 187 will affect the rest of the US? Do you agree or disagree with their assessment? Why?
  5. In your opinion, are the teachers quoted in the article taking an ethnocentric or a culturally relative approach to the Mexican students?
  6. Do you believe that the symbolic violence observed through interaction, policy, or instruction is more problematic? Why?

The Digital Identity Divide: How Technology Knowledge Impacts College Students
Joanna Goode
New Media & Society

  1. Your text describes the “hidden curriculum” as part of the informal system of schooling.  Drawing on evidence presented in the article, how do technology and knowledge about technology play a role in the hidden curriculum?
    1. Think about your own college experience: What technological skills and equipment are you expected to have in order to be successful in classes? What technological skills and equipment are you expected to have in order to be socially accepted? Did you have those things when you first came to school? If not, how did you acquire them?
  2. Drawing on the author’s review of existing research on the digital divide, what are the most important differences in how technology is encountered by minority, poor, and female students and by White, wealthy, and male students?
    1. Which is more important in shaping students’ future technological knowledge: differences in access to or in use of technology?
    2. The author notes that students’ home experiences with computers are as important in or more important in forming their technological knowledge than their school experiences. Why do you think this is the case? Does it match your own computing history?
    3. What might be some of the long-term consequences of differences in computer knowledge for students’ future careers?
    4. Can you think of policy measures that might help alleviate inequalities in access to and use of technology by elementary, middle-, and high-school students? By college students?
  3. How does the author define “technological identity”?
    1. Examine the author’s discussion of identity on pp. 501-502.  How does her understanding of identity compare to the notion of the “self” introduced in Chapter 4 of your text?
    2. How is the technological identity shaped by interaction with others? By socialization?
  4. Following the author’s methodology, consider your own “technobiography” and “technological identity.”
    1. Outline your technobiography: think about your past experiences with computers and other digital equipment.
    2. Consider your technological identity: evaluate your beliefs about your technological abilities, the importance of technology, and your opportunities for technological participation, as well as your motivations to learn more about technology.
    3. Do your technological biography and/or identity come close to matching any of the three case studies presented in the article? Has your technological knowledge (or lack thereof) been an aid or a hindrance to your progress at school and/or work?
  5. The author claims that schools and universities perpetuate the digital divide rather than alleviating it.
    1. How is this the case?
    2. Do schools and universities perpetuate other divides, for instance in culture, athletics, or social life?
    3. How important is the digital divide to maintaining larger socio-economic inequalities in the United States?

Beyond Differences: The Sociology of Education in Cuba
Belkis Rojas Hernández
International Sociology

  1. What does the author mean when she suggests a need for a connection between micro and macro sociological issues in Cuba?
  2. Why is a concentration on sociology in Cuba important for other countries to consider?
  3. How is the education system unique in Cuba and thus important to investigate?
  4. Does having a universal education system (such as the one in Cuba) mean an end to educational inequalities? Why or why not?

Chapter 12: Religion: The Meaning of Sacred Meaning

The Effects of Religious Commitment on the Academic Achievement of Urban and Other Children
William H. Jeynes
Education and Urban Society

  1. Since religious children perform better academically, should religion be advocated in public schools? Why or why not?
    1. Since Christian students perform better than non-Christian students, do you think Christianity in particular should be advocated in public schools? Why or why not?
    2. If this same study were replicated in countries where Christianity is not the majority religion, would you expect that students who subscribe to the majority religion perform better academically than those who do not? Why or why not?
  2. The authors provide a number of possible reasons why they feel urban children in particular perform better academically when they are religious. Which of these explanations are most plausible in your opinion and why?

The Vigil: Religion and the Search for Control in the Hospital Waiting Room
Kenneth I. Pargament, Brenda Cole, Larry Vandecreek, Timothy Belavich, Curtis Brant, and Lisa Perez
Journal of Health Psychology

  1. What non-religious coping responses might have produced the same anxiety and depression felt among the family members of coronary bypass patients?
    1. What non-religious coping mechanisms might reduce the feelings of anxiety and depression felt among family members of coronary bypass patients?
  2. If this study were replicated among the coronary patients themselves, how do you think the mental health outcomes before and after surgery would differ based on the levels of religious coping among the patients? Why?
    1. How do you think the physical recovery of the patients would differ based on the level of religiosity of the patients? Why?
  3. Why do you think having a sense of control is so important for coping with stress?

Religion in Britain: Neither Believing nor Belonging
David Voas and Alasdair Crockett

  1. If parental religious beliefs are passed on at lesser rates than parental absence of religion, what strategies could parents who do not participate in religion but who want their children to participate use to get their children to join particular faiths?
  2. If the nation wanted to encourage increased involvement in religious activities among children, regardless of parental socialization, what strategies would you suggest that they use?
    1. Do you feel that the state should ever encourage or discourage specific religious beliefs and practices? Why or why not?
    2. Do you feel that the state should ever encourage or discourage a general sense of moral values and practices? Why or why not?

American Presidential Rhetoric from Ronald Reagan to George W. Bush: Another Look at Civil Religion
Wade Clark Roof
Social Compass

  1. Your text defines “civil religion” as a set of beliefs, symbols, and rituals that endorse what a nation stands for and strengthens the belonging of citizens.  After reading the examples of American civil religion in the article,
    1. Do you think the civil religion described in the article is effective in unifying citizens and encouraging their support for the nation?
    2. Were you surprised at how much American civil religion draws on Judeo-Christian religion, as opposed to secular symbols and beliefs?
    3. Do you think that such an emphasis on Judeo-Christian religion is appropriate in a country that professes to maintain separation of church and state?
    4. Do you think that American civil religion would be effective in unifying and gaining the support of citizens if it relied solely on secular symbols and beliefs, or are religious (e.g., Judeo-Christian) symbols necessary?
  2. The author distinguishes between priestly and prophetic uses of civil religion rhetoric: priestly uses bless America as a chosen nation with a special mission and legitimate its actions, while prophetic uses question and criticize the country when if fails to live up to its ideals.
    1. Are these two types of civil religion rhetoric contradictory? Could both be used by the same president or other leader in the same speech?
    2. Do you think that prophetic uses of civil religion unite citizens and endorse the nation with the same power as priestly uses? Why or why not?
  3. The article focuses on expressions of civil religion by U.S. presidents.
    1. Are presidents the only spokespeople for civil religion? What other individuals and groups play a role in articulating it?
    2. Does the author’s sole focus on presidential speech limit the validity of his arguments? Should he have incorporated expressions of civil religion from other sources as well?
  4. The author claims on p. 297 that recent political developments such as the growth of conservative religion, the collapse of communism, and globalization have “shattered” the possibility of a cohesive and widely accepted civil religion.  Do you agree? Do Americans today have a single, shared civil religion, or many civil religions?
  5. Of the theoretical perspectives on religion described in your text (symbolic interaction, rational choice, functionalism, conflict theory), which one or ones are most clearly reflected in this article?

Religions and Cultures: Religious Dynamics in Latin America
Reginaldo Prandi
Social Compass

  1. Why is it important to consider the relationship between religion and culture?
    1. What would it mean for Latin America to become increasingly Evangelical and less Catholic?
  2. How is religion used as a power tool by “invading” countries?
    1. Is this process of invasion happening in contemporary societies?
  3. In what ways are we experiencing a global culture?
    1. What does this global culture mean for the changing landscape of religion?
  4. According to the author, has the Catholic church turned its back on cultural changes?
  5. Discuss the important role that religious symbols play in a society.

Chapter 13: Politics and Economics: Penetrating Power and Privilege

Bolivia and Venezuela: The Democratic Dialectic in New Revolutionary Movements
Jerry Harris
Race and Class

  1. Your text highlights several functions or purposes that political systems must serve in societies. Based on your reading of Harris, is revolution a result of failure to serve these functions? Explain.
  2. What type of government does Bolivia have before and after the revolution? What about Venezuela? How does the revolution impact the stability of these government systems? Of leadership systems?
  3. How does the political economy model explain the political changes and instability in Venezuela?
  4. How does the political system of the United States differ from those in Bolivia and Venezuela? What structural factors create these differences, in your opinion? Explain.

The Form and Meaning of Young People’s Involvement in Community and Political Work
Anne Queniart
Youth and Society OnlineFirst

  1. What gets young people interested and engaged in politics, according to Queniart? Do you think her research findings are generalizable on interest and participation in American politics? Why or why not?
  2. There are several ways Queniart suggests that individuals can become active in the political process. Which ways do you believe are most appealing to young voters? Why? Which ways do you see as having the greatest impact on the political process? Why?
  3. Given the involvement of individuals in politics in a democracy, what theoretical perspective on power best fits to explain Canada’s political system? Why? Does this model best fit the American system? Why or why not?
  4. What role does the spread of information play in political participation, according to Queniart? Does the media, in your opinion, have an obligation to spread information in a democracy? Why or why not? How can we ensure that, as political citizens, we have access to the information we need to be active participants in our political system?

To Win the “War on Terror,” We Must First Win the “War of Ideas”: Here’s How
Hady Amr and P.W. Singer
The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science

  1. Terrorism is certainly a key topic in American politics. Amr and Singer suggest remedies that they believe will improve U.S. and Muslim relations. What is your opinion on these suggestions? Explain. How would you reform them, as an applied sociologist, if you were doing research for Homeland Security? Why?
  2. The authors put forth 6 principles to improve our national security. To your knowledge, has the Obama administration undertaken any of these? Have other presidential candidates or political figures advocated doing so? How does our current attention to national security vary from what the authors suggest?
  3. In your opinion, are the principles Amr and Singer suggest necessary and sufficient to address issues of terrorism and national security?
  4. One main issue that Amr and Singer point out is that many Muslims find the U.S. discourse towards terrorism to be stereotypical, ethnocentric, and xenophobic. Do you agree with this assessment? Why or why not? In your opinion, what can be done to alleviate this/these issues(s)?
  5. The authors suggest that the next President after George W. Bush should play a crucial role in repairing U.S. and Muslim relationships if he wants to reduce the threat of terrorism. Do you see key changes between Presidents Bush and Obama? How so? What does this suggest about the importance of leadership in politics?

Political Engagement through Debates: Young Citizens’ Reactions to the 2004 Presidential Debates
Mitchell S. McKinney and Sumana Chattopadhyay
American Behavioral Scientist

  1. Do you believe that efforts to connect to young voters need to be different than efforts to connect to older voters? Why or why not?
  2. McKinney and Chattopadhyay find that viewing debates is very important to the political behavior of young adults. What is the social implication, then, of having limited televised debates, many of which are on pay-only cable channels?
  3. Of the things the authors examine, do you think establishing political efficacy, political trust, or addressing political cynicism is most important to mobilize young voters? Why?
  4. Despite multiple efforts to reach young voters, their turnout is still very limited. The authors show how many political pundits were quick to attack young voters and their political non-involvement. What structural factors contribute to this? Why is this impact beyond just the individual actions of young voters?

Between the State and the Market: Expanding the Concept of “Political Opportunity Structure”
Mattias Wahlstrom and Abby Peterson
Acta Sociologica

  1. What measures of political participation and activity do we usually consider when evaluating whether or not a person is political? Do the authors convince you that additional measures may be necessary? Why or why not?
  2. Mahlstrom and Peterson claim that the structural opportunities an individual experiences shape political behavior.  What evidence do they show to support this? Is opportunity structure a greater influence than our actual beliefs? Are our beliefs shaped by our opportunity structures? How so or how not?
  3. How does the case of animal rights activism in Sweden show the complicated relationship between politics and the economy?
  4. Which theoretical perspective on power best addresses the case of social movements? Are social movements more effective as a means to gain political voice in democratic states compared to non-democratic states? Explain.
  5. Based on the evidence presented by the authors, do you feel that social movements are more tactics to change policy or to gain access to political leaders? Explain. What does each suggest, then, about the role of social movements in political change?

The Global Diffusion of Regulatory Capitalism
David Levi-Faur
The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science

  1. The author repeatedly refers to “neoliberalism,” which is a strongly pro-capitalist political and economic philosophy that advocates restraining government intervention in the economy and privatizing government functions.  Many scholars claim that there has been a global increase in neoliberal beliefs and policies, and in free market economies, over the last thirty or so years.  At the same time, the author claims, there has also been an increase in regulation of government activity, such as the creation of new rules and reporting procedures for corporations.  This seems to be a paradox, since regulation is associated with socialist and mixed economies, and with restraint on free market capitalism.
    1. Do you think that capitalism and market regulation are compatible or incompatible?
    2. When you engage in market activity (e.g., buying things, selling things, getting a job), do you think rules and regulations (e.g., consumer safety laws, wage and labor laws) help you or get in your way? Why?
    3. The author suggests that some regulation may be necessary for markets to function, since it generates trust between buyers and sellers.  Does this make sense? Would you trust the companies you buy products and service from—or the employers you work for—if there were no regulation of their activities?
  2. The new types of regulation mentioned by the author include environmental, human rights, food and pharmaceutical safety, and privacy protection measures.  Do you believe that we—in the United States—need more of these types of regulation, or do we already have enough? Why? What about other countries?
  3. The author suggests that much of the new regulation is not carried out by governments, as it was in the past, but rather by experts in non-governmental organizations (e.g., the United Nations, nonprofits) and through new technologies (e.g., auditing and accounting programs).
    1. If someone or something is going to regulate your economic activities, would you rather it be the government, or a non-governmental organization?
    2. Are you concerned about the possibility that non-governmental regulators are not elected by the public?
  4. On pp. 22-27, the author discusses three explanations for why new regulations have spread across the globe—one “top-down,” one “bottom-up,” and one “horizontal” (see Figure 4).  Which explanation do you find most compelling?

Social Capital and Political Sociology: Re-imagining Politics?
William Walters

  1. What is the relationship between social capital and political life?
  2. Explain Putnam’s concept of social capital.
  3. The author argues for something he calls “political imagination.”  How is this like Mills’ concept of the sociological imagination?
    1. What is meant by meta-narratives?
    2. How is the political imagination symbolic?
  4. What sorts of institutions are embedded in political systems?

Chapter 14: Medicine: An Anatomy of Health and Illness

Reducing AIDS and Substance Abuse Risk Factors among Homeless, HIV-Infected, Drug-Using Persons
J. Richard Lewis, David P. Boyle, Linda S. Lewis, and Maestro Evans
Research on Social Work Practice

  1. On what levels was this intervention applied? Micro? Meso? Macro? A combination of the three?
  2. This article (and, to some degree, your text) take for granted that addiction is a disease. Do you personally view it as a disease or a behavioral choice or moral failing?
    1. If drug addiction is a behavioral choice, how would you change this intervention to be effective in reducing HIV if you were an applied sociologist?
  3. A high percentage of homeless clients drop out of studies. How do you think this affects the reliability and validity of the findings?
    1. If you were the researcher, what steps would you take to try to keep your subjects involved until the end of the study?

Costs of Smoking: A Focus on Maternal, Childhood, and Other Short-Run Costs
E. Kathleen Adams and Terri L. Young
Medical Care Research and Review

  1. If maternal smoking has negative effects on infants, should women who smoke while pregnant or breastfeeding be charged with child abuse? Why or why not?
    1. Should children be removed from smoking households? Why or why not?
  2. This article discusses the costs of tobacco use for HMOs. Should HMOs pay for smoking cessation classes? Why or why not?
    1. Should insurance companies be able to drop smokers as customers or charge them higher premiums? Why or why not?
  3. As tobacco use increases worldwide, how do you think socialized health care systems will be impacted by cigarette use?
    1. How would you suggest poor countries, whose health care systems are already strained, deal with rising health care costs that result from tobacco use?

Malnutrition, Dehydration, and Starvation in the Midst of Plenty: The Political Impact of Qualitative Inquiry
Jeanie Kayser-Jones
Qualitative Health Research

  1. When you first read the title for the article, what country or continent did you think it would be focused on? What population did you think would be studied?
    1. Were you surprised when you found out that the article was about the elderly in America? Why or why not?
    2. Why do you think that most people do not consider malnutrition to be a problem in North America?
  2. What things did individual health care workers do that you feel led to the inadequate patient care documented in this study?
    1. What problems with the medical and nursing care system as a whole do you feel are responsible for the inadequate patient care documented in this study?
    2. What steps do you think should be taken to reform the nursing home system?

‘Fundamental Causes’ of Health Disparities: A Comparative Analysis of Canada and the United States
Andrea E. Wilson
International Sociology

  1. The article tests “fundamental cause” theory, which claims that socio-economic inequality—and particularly low socio-economic status—is a “fundamental” or root cause of disease, especially disease with known preventions and treatments.
    1. Why does the theory claim that risk factors, such as high cholesterol or poor sanitation, are not the “fundamental” causes of disease?
    2. In what ways does low socio-economic status cause disease, according to the article?
    3. After reading the article, do you agree with the theory? Or do you still see disease as fundamentally caused by individual, physiological risk factors, e.g. high cholesterol? Why do you agree or disagree with the theory?
    4. Of the theoretical perspectives on health and illness outlined in your text, which is most closely aligned to fundamental cause theory?
  2. The study findings indicate that low socio-economic status is associated with greater likelihood of having a preventable rather than non-preventable disease in the U.S., but not in Canada.
    1. How does the author attempt to explain this national difference?
    2. What are the implications for fundamental cause theory? Is the theory supported?
    3. What does this suggest about the relative strengths and weaknesses of the U.S. and Canadian health care systems?
  3. In the discussion, the author claims that efforts to improve individual health must “move beyond a focus on individually-based risks linked to specific diseases and instead focus on altering the social conditions that affect determinants of health and disease.”
    1. To what social conditions do you think the author is referring?
    2. How likely do you think it is that those social conditions will be altered in the U.S. in the next ten to twenty years? What efforts would be required to alter them?
    3. If the social conditions cannot be altered soon, can you think of any other measures that would improve disease prevention and treatment for people of low socio-economic status in the U.S.?

Parsons revisited: from the sick role to...?
Simon J. Williams

  1. Using information from your text, what did Parsons mean by “the sick role?”
  2. How is illness a socially deviant act?
  3. According to the author, can the sick role be applied to conditions of chronic illness?
  4. According to Parsons, how is the denial of death “pathological?”
    1. What are the social ramifications for a society that does not acknowledge and embrace death?
  5. How can medical experts utilize Parsons’ theories of sickness to better understand patients’ experiences?
  6. How did Parsons treat health (as opposed to illness)?
    1. How can his insights on health be used in contemporary medicine?

Chapter 15: Population and Urbanization: Living on Spaceship Earth

Friends, Family, and Neighborhood: Understanding Academic Outcomes of African American Youth
Trina R. Williams, Larry E. Davis, Julie Miller Cribbs, Jeanne Saunders, and James Herbert Williams
Urban Education

  1. Think about the school you attended. What kind of neighborhood was it in?
    1. How did the neighborhood context influence your behaviors while at the school?
    2. How did the neighborhood context influence your academic outcomes?
  2. Do you think that students from deteriorating or crime-ridden neighborhoods should be offered the choice to attend school in other communities? Why or why not?
    1. If so, how would you propose that this be funded?
    2. If not, how would you propose to improve the educational outcomes of these children?

The World Turned Upside Down: Below Replacement Fertility, Changing Preferences and Family-Friendly Public Policy in 21 OECD Countries.
Francis G. Castles
Journal of European Social Policy

  1. On the national level, below replacement-level fertility is sometimes considered a crisis. However, from a global level, do you see below replacement-level fertility as negative or positive? Why?
    1. Would your response differ if developing (rather than developed) countries were experiencing below replacement-level fertility? Why or why not?
    2. Do you think the responses of population experts would differ if developing (rather than developed) countries were experiencing below replacement-level fertility? Why or why not?
  2. Do you think that the family-friendly policies discussed will make the lives of working women who have children easier or more difficult? Provide arguments for both positions.
    1. Do you think that family-friendly policies aimed specifically toward male workers would have an impact on fertility? Why or why not?

Deadly Violence in the Heartland: Comparing Homicide Patterns in Nonmetropolitan and Metropolitan Counties
Ralph A. Weisheit and L. Edward Wells
Homicide Studies

  1. Why do you think women are more likely to be homicide victims in non-metro areas?
    1. Why do you think that friend and acquaintance murder is more likely in non-metro areas?
  2. Imagine that you were doing a qualitative study trying to find the cause of most rural homicides.
    1. Whom would you interview (murderers, police, relatives, etc.) and why?
    2. What hypotheses would you have?
    3. Would your hypotheses differ depending upon the sex of the victim? Why or why not?

Later-Life Migration in the United States: A Review of Recent Research
William H. Walters
Journal of Planning Literature

  1. Since older Americans are more likely to vote than younger Americans, how will migration among older adults to specific regions impact the political system?
    1. How might state social services be disproportionately affected?
    2. What can be done to remedy this issue?
  2. How would you feel about your parents or grandparents moving to be near you and your family as they age?
    1. How would you feel about your parents or grandparents migrating farther away from you and your family as they age?

Demographic Forces and Turning Points in the American City, 1950-2040
Dowell Myers and John Pitkin
The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science

  1. Your text lists several consequences of population change; what additional consequences are highlighted or suggested by the article?
  2. Consider your current neighborhood or the one in which you grew up.
    1. Do you think it was shaped by any of the past “urban episodes” noted in the article? How so?
    2. How do you think it will be affected by future shifts, such as the aging of the baby boom population and possible shifts (up or downward) in the immigrant population?
  3. According to the authors, what role have immigrants played in U.S. urban housing markets?
    1. Do the authors seem to believe that the U.S. would be economically better or worse off if immigration were to decrease significantly?
  4. How is the aging of the baby boom generation likely to impact urban housing markets and infrastructures?
    1. What policies might be established in order to cope with some of these impacts?
  5. In focusing on population shifts, do the authors neglect other social forces that might also be important in understanding present and future urban environments? What are some of these factors?

“What’s a Mother To Do?” Gentrification, School Selection, and the Consequences for Community Cohesion
Judith N. DeSena
American Behavioral Scientist

  1. Is gentrification always good for a community?
    1. When is change and growth good and when does it negatively impact members of a community?
  2. How is gentrification impacting the lives of these women?
  3. Explain how the author uses feminist theory to guide her research.
    1. Would another of the sociological perspectives have worked as well? Which ones?
  4. Explain how gentrification impacted these people on a micro, meso and macro-level.
  5. Can you think of ways in which a gentrification process can be less disruptive to the members living in the community?

Chapter 16: The Process of Change: Can We Make a Difference?

Human Rights and the Triumph of the Individual in World Culture
Michael A. Elliott
Cultural Sociology

  1. The global society has made a substantial commitment to human rights. What efforts does Elliott highlight in his article? What theoretical accounts does Elliot use to explain this commitment? In your opinion, which is the most applicable? Why?
  2. How are individuals, social movements, and global policy connected through the social world model? In your opinion, are any of these levels most central to the changes Elliott details? Why? In your opinion, can we focus our efforts at one level to further human rights? Why or why not?
  3. Were you at all surprised by the scale of the growth in human rights in the last 60 years? Why or why not? In your opinion, can we expect continued growth at this rate? Why or why not? What does this suggest, then, that the social world will look like 60 years from now?

The Rise of the Environmental Justice Paradigm: Injustice Framing and the Social Construction of Environmental Discourses
Dorceta E. Taylor
American Behavioral Scientist

  1. Since Taylor wrote this article in 2000, the Environmental Justice Movement has received considerable press and is arguably experiencing a resurgence. Is this changing how the movement is being framed? The goals or scope of the movement? Why do you think this is?
  2. What are frames, according to Taylor? How are they used in social movements? What about in other social institutions? What examples can you think of institutions using frames to socially construct meanings?
  3. Taylor argues that the frames used in the Environmental Justice Movement are versatile and can apply across social movements. What other movements do you see implementing similar frames? How are they doing this? Are there movements who would be unsuccessful using these frames?
  4. Even though Taylor draws heavily from the Symbolic Interactionist perspective, she also shows how structural factors influence movements. What barriers exist at the meso-level? At the macro-level?
  5. The text details the stages of social movements. What have been the stages of the Environmental Justice Movement? Since Taylor wrote the article in 2000, has there been any change to the stage that the movement is in? Explain.

Performing Politics: Image, Embodiment, and Affective Solidarity during Anti-Corporate Globalization Protests
Jeffrey S. Juris

  1. The counter-summit protests Juris describes follow both the patterns of social movements and collective behavior. How do they showcase traits of both of these forms of social action? How does success vary based on which traits they are exhibiting?
  2. A central factor in social movement success is the relationship movements are able to create with recognized publics (like the media, the World Bank). How do counter-summit protesters create these relationships? How are they socially constructed?
  3. What role do leaders play in the creation of counter-summit movements? Explain? What types of leaders emerge in social movements according to Juris’s account?
  4. Counter-summit movements are focused on social change to the global system. Your text suggests there is a process to social change, how does this process surface in the global political economy? In your opinion, should we expect more or fewer movements like the counter-summit movement in the future? Why?

Glocommodification: How the Global Consumes the Local—McDonald’s in Israel
Uri Ram
Current Sociology

  1. Which theory of social change detailed in your text best describes the glocommodification process that Ram describes? Why do you believe this is the most applicable theory?
  2. The culture of Israel at the meso-level does influence the macro-level patterns of McDonaldization and standardization. How does this occur? Is one force winning, according to Ram? Do you agree with his assessment? Why or why not? What does this mean for national culture? The global system?
  3. In your opinion, is McDonaldization collective behavior, a social movement, or something else? What forms can social movements take? Do their forms matter for their ability to impact society? Why or why not?
  4. Do the ‘two-way’ and ‘both-way’ models of cultural influence Ram describes fit the social world model? How so or why not?

Women’s Gain: Fund-Raising and Fund Allocation as an Evolving Social Movement Strategy
Eleanor L. Brilliant
Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly

  1. What role (if any) do you feel men should have in a women’s fund-raising organization?
  2. How does the resource mobilization framework presented in this article apply to an organization that you or one of your friends is a member of?
  3. Do you feel that women from developed countries are able to set any goals for helping women in developing countries? Why or why not?
    1. How do you think the goals of women from developing countries differ from women’s goals in developed countries?

The Role of Collective Identification in Social Movement Participation: A Panel Study in the Context of the German Gay Movement
Stefan Sturmer and Bernd Simon
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin

  1. This article mentions several motivating factors that influence individuals to join social movements. Thinking of the last social movement or organization that you were a part of, what factors motivated your decision to join?
    1. If you have never been a part of a social movement, what factors would motivate you to become involved?
  2. Which of the theories that you have studied does “collective identification” best fit into?
    1. Do you feel that being a member of a minority group makes one more or less likely to be able to form a collective identity? Why or why not?

The Push and Pull of Hip Hop
Erin Trapp
American Behavioral Scientist

  1. Is hip hop the only form of music that is a symbol of part of a social movement?
    1. If so, why do you think that this particular form of music is so special?
    2. If not, what other forms of music do you view as holding special significance for a social movement?
  2. The article mentions that some rap music features negative messages about women. Do you feel that it is possible to have a social movement that both hopes to raise people from their current social situations (in this case, African Americans) while degrading some members of the group (in this case, African American women)?
    1. How do you think that artists themselves view the messages they send about women?
  3. What songs can you think of that can inspire (or are inspired by) a social movement? Why are those particular songs so salient to you?

Organizational Change within Morally Ambiguous Contexts: A Case Study of Conflicting Postmerger Discourses
Eli Teram
The Journal of Applied Behavioral Science

  1. Your text defines several models of planned organizational change. Does the article use a “closed system” model or an “open system model”? Does it take a human resources approach? Are elements of multiple models present?
  2. The article describes conflict between organization managers and workers over change in the operation of a group home kitchen.
    1. Did you agree with the workers’ perspective? The managers’ perspective? Both?
    2. The author suggests that changing organizations should engage in open discussions among all members about the dilemmas they face—a step that the organization in the study did not take. Do you think such discussions would have helped the group home and larger youth service organization?
    3. If you were a manager in this organization, would you have managed the process of change differently? How?
  3. The article describes a case in which the goal of organizational change—increased efficiency and cost-savings—was understood by workers to contradict the more fundamental organizational goal of providing services to help troubled youth.
    1. Do you think these goals can be reconciled, or are they inherently contradictory?
    2. Do you think contradictory goals are a problem for most organizations undergoing change?

Latinos and the 1992 Los Angeles Riots: A Behavioral Sciences Perspective
David E. Hayes-Bautista, Werner O. Schink and Maria Hayes-Bautista
Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences

  1. This article examines the role or lack of role that Latinos played in the 1992 Los Angeles riot.
    1. Why do you think that the role of Latinos and the impact on their community was so long ignored?
    2. To what degree were these riots “race riots?”
    3. How is race riot behavior different from other types of riot behaviors?
  2. Explain how the authors use Smelser and Blumer to guide their research.
  3. Explain the stages (or phases) of collective behavior that led up to the Los Angeles riots.
    1. Were the stages similar to stages that occurred in other riots?

Authors: Jeanne H. Ballantine and Keith A. Roberts

Pub Date: April 2013

Pages: 752

Learn more about this book