Category: Sociology of Culture

Black man raising fist in protest amidst crowd

Tweeting Abolition in an Age of Mass Incarceration and Social Unrest, Part II: From the Margins to the Mainstream

Abolition, from police abolition to prison abolition, is largely thought about as being a pretty radical theory. Even amongst critical criminologists who argue against mass incarceration, the torture of solitary confinement, or the racist nature of the over surveillance, policing, and sentencing of Black and Latinx folks, abolition is often seen as an extremist or unrealistic response to a broken system. Identifying concrete ways of fixing problematic aspects of the system is for many preferable than wanting to tear the...

Tweeting Abolition in an Age of Mass Incarceration and Social Unrest, Part I: What is Abolition?

For many people in the United States and the world over, 2020 was a pivotal year for learning about and engaging in radical protests against extrajudicial killings of Black and Latinx people by police officers. It was a year that brought a lot of attention to the now common slogan “defund the police,” especially after Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin killed George Floyd. As the world had also come to a screeching halt because of the global Coronavirus pandemic, with...

So, what’s it like being Muslim in Academia? A case of oppressive institutions and Islamophobic landscapes.

In this blog, Maisha Islam tells us about her recent Sociology Compass publication where she and her co-author Arif Mahmud take readers on a journey to better understand the lived experiences of Muslim academics navigating through the terrains of UK academia. There is much to learn and get accustomed to as an early career researcher within academia. From the competitive world of publishing, to securing funding or research grants, teaching on numerous courses at a time, and supporting students sometimes...

School teachers’ perceptions of the bystanders’ role in school bullying

This particular piece of research was conducted with teachers employed in Finnish primary/lower and upper secondary schools. Ten in number were asked to unfold their perceptions of what role the bystanders play in school bullying. This text draws from their expertise to address a problem with several facets as, for example, it fuels other school problems as absenteeism. Many children choose absenteeism to avoid school because they are bullied there. Considering the long-lasting effects of bullying on victims, it is...

Trans Children & Pathologisation in the UK

What happens when a society, backed by powerful institutions, media and majority culture designates a minority population as inherently disordered? When that categorisation and stigma is weaponised to legitimise abuse and discrimination? A new study highlights the legacy of one example of such pathologisation, focusing on transgender children in the UK. Introduction Across the globe, growing numbers of transgender (trans) children are being supported to live authentically in childhood. Global healthcare consensus now recognises trans identities, including in childhood, as...

If you want to prevent accidents at work – then think about social, cultural or organizational aspects – before the individual.

Accidents at work are estimated to kill more than 380,000 workers worldwide every year (Concha-Barrientos et al., 2005; EU-OSHA, 2017). Although the risks of accidents at work have been reduced over the last about 30 years, the increased complexity and multidimensional characteristics of risk to workers have challenged the existing approaches to accident prevention. In recent years social, cultural and organizational aspects have become important additional perspectives included in accident prevention programs at work, and referred to as the “third...

Undoing Residential Segregation: Is Housing Access Enough?

More than fifty years after passage of the Fair Housing Act, many Americans continue to live in neighborhoods that are segregated by race/ethnicity and class (Loh et al. 2020). How does this spatial separation come about, and what would it take to meaningfully integrate neighborhoods? Is providing affordable housing enough, or do we need to think about other dimensions of belonging within a community, such as shared opportunities for recreation, consumption, or making friends? Questions like these are of central...

What Is Socialization, Really?

              One of the very first concepts I teach my students in Introduction to Sociology is “socialization”. Referring to how individuals come to learn and reproduce the social order of a given society, the concept of socialization is fundamental to sociologists’ understanding of how society works. As we grow up and are exposed to the social influence of family members, teachers, and peers, we come to internalize the societal norms and beliefs that they adhere to so that we can...

Does cultural consumption increase future earnings?

In contemporary Britain (as in almost every other nation), there is a clear link between cultural tastes and social position. People who are highly educated, have higher incomes, and work in prestigious occupations are generally more avid cultural consumers than people in less advantaged positions. As you might expect, they are more likely to enjoy high-brow activities like classical music concerts and art galleries. However, they also participate more often in a diverse range of activities; from going to the...

“This Year I Will…”: Personal Resolutions and the Near Future

Each January, as the calendar turns to a new year, thoughts turn to personal resolutions. Media outlets promise a “New Year! New You!”—achieved through prescriptive, step-by-step programs or more elusive strategies, such as strengthening one’s willpower. In the popular imagination, resolutions are a means to an end, and that end is an improved version of the self.  Despite their clear connection to temporality and identity projects, sociologists have had surprisingly little to say about resolutions. In my article, “A Year...

Election Anxiety and “Fake News” – What Sociologists Can Do

With Election Day looming on November 3rd, the country’s already high levels of stress and anxiety now seem even more amplified. Demonstrably, articles entitled something along the lines of “How to Cope with Election Anxiety” are flooding the Internet. On top of COVID-19, sky-high unemployment rates, and persistent civil unrest in response to injustice, the importance of the upcoming election seems greater – and therefore more anxiety-ridden – than ever. While much of this sense of “doom” is coming from...

Re-homing hens during Covid-19: A rethinking of urban space?

Through the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown, humans have been exposed to the threat that the exploitation and eating of animals poses to humanity and public health. It has also become obvious that animals want to and are willing to take up more space (Taylor, 2020). In the relative absence of humans during lockdown, animal populations have spread out and some have actually entered cities and towns for the first time. Where conversations are taking place on the human abandonments and...

Elections Have Consequences: What Happened in 2016 and What May Happen in 2020

Almost four years, a pandemic, countless protests, and an impeachment later, it seems that the election of Donald Trump in 2016 has had more severe and deadly consequences than many had imagined. While his election over Hillary Clinton was difficult to imagine in itself – for pollsters, political operatives, and the general public alike – and took the entire world by surprise, it was even harder to project what life in the U.S. would be like for the subsequent four...

Put to the test: For a new sociology of testing

A test can be defined as an orchestrated attempt to reveal an entity’s potentially unknown properties or capacities. A drug trial, a pregnancy test, and a planetary probe are all procedures designed to ascertain the properties of some entity. However, while tests and testing are well‐established social forms, their role in culture, economy, politics, and everyday life seems to be expanding. With smart city experimentation, randomized controlled trials in economic development, and apps to test your personality and the performance...

No Time for Blind Optimism

The world is facing the most serious health catastrophe since 1918.  A global pandemic—one that many medical authorities warned would happen sooner or later—is here.  The coronavirus travels quietly, widely, and can have deadly consequences.  At this writing, well over 1.5 million people have been infected and close to 90,000 have died.  Compare this to the SARS epidemic of 2002-2003 which infected 8,098 people and killed 774 or the 2014 outbreak of the Ebola virus which infected 18,000 people and...

Distance as a social vocation

In this article, I explore the habitus of social distancing to critically engage with the different human conditions that grips us amidst the coronavirus pandemic. I also briefly discuss different kinds of distances we practice in our everyday life before I go on to show how distance is turned into a vocation upon which our survival and hope rests.  The foundation of society is also based on distance as much as it is on closeness. Distances complete us. Let me take you...