Tagged: technology

Engaging Sociologically with Students’ Facebook Usage

It’s the middle of class. Looking out into the classroom, a dim light reflects on students’ faces as they stare or type into the devices in front of them.  Walking up and down the aisles, blue-tinted Facebook pages on the students’ screens are usually the source of the reflected light. While such students might seem withdrawn from the class, this familiar scene holds a potential goldmine of sociological exploration and examples. If these students are already intently interested in, or...

IBM's Watson on Jeopardy! Blurring the Line between Humans and Technology

To the left is a 1917 portrait of Thomas J. Watson, founder of IBM. A few weeks ago, IBM debuted its latest supercomputer, named after this giant of innovation (Watson), on the TV game-show Jeopardy! Though it seemed as though Watson was standing in between the two other competitors on the show, as Jeopardy! provided the computer with the same electronically-equipped podium as the other contestants, and even wrote “his” name on said podium, the brains behind this powerful supercomputer...

From mourning to reflection: considerations in the aftermath of a trajedy

Rutgers University has been my intellectual home for the last 8 years. Recently, one of our freshman, Tyler Clementi, committed suicide by jumping off the George Washington Bridge. He took his own life after his roommate and another student posted a video of him engaging in sexual activity with another student on the internet. This horribly sad and disturbing event sparked an emotional reaction on our campus, as well as discussion of how to protect students from this kind of...

The Presentation of Self…in Dating

Eva Illouz, in Cold Intimacies asks us to consider how technology changes notions of the body and of emotions.  One of the forced rearticulations occurs in the realm of the presentation of self.  As Illouz notes, when technology (specifically in the form of the Internet) mediates relationships we are simultaneously displaying our innermost private selves in an extremely public way.  The subjects of our own experiences and author of what we choose to reveal yet increasingly vulnerable to the scrutiny...

Augmented Reality: Going the Way of the Dildo

by pj.rey While the term “augmented reality” uttered in a sexual context might immediately conjure the perennial problematic of the boozed, buzzed, and befuddled (commonly referred to as “beer goggles”), more nuanced analysis may prove fruitful.  Fellow Sociology Lens news editor, nathan jurgenson, recently argued in “towards theorizing an augmented reality” that we need to anticipate an ascending paradigm where “digital and material realities dialectically co-construct each other.” To anticipate this new reality, I argue that we ought to turn...

Virtual Conference Report: Day Five (23 Oct, 2009)

The first week of the conference has come to an end, and the final day has included two exciting papers, as well as a publishing workshop. The first paper entitled ‘Full Disclosure of the “Raw Data” of Research on Humans: Citizens’ Rights, Product Manufacturer’s Obligations and the Quality of the Scientific Database’ was presented by Dennis Mazur (Oregon Health and Sciences University). In his lecture, Mazur highlights the difficult and contentious issues involved in human testing, particularly the tensions between...

‘Is your email really necessary?’

by paulabowles In order to read (and of course create) this post requires access to the internet, an option that would have been unthinkable just a few years ago. However, for many of us, the internet – as well as mobile phones – has already become essential to modern living. Hamish McRae of The Independent raises the interesting topic of social etiquette, suggesting that although; we may be familiar with the technology we have yet to agree on the rules...

New Technology, Fear, and the Priming Effect

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=imLOGgs9Qyk] by NickieWild There is perhaps no more frightening an image to today’s parents of pre-teen and teenage children in the U.S. than that of the internet predator. A lone adult man siting behind a computer screen in a darkened room lures the innocent child into an unsafe situation. But is this just an image – a bogeyman created by the media? Shows like NBC’s To Catch A Predator certainly increase concerns. Although old shows still continue to be aired,...

The Rise of the Commuter Marriage

by theoryforthemasses The nuclear family is often understood in terms of propinquity, or the physical nearness of parents and their children to one another. While it is typical for extended families to live apart from one another, we generally assume that married couples and their children live together.  In coping with a challenging economy, however, many couples are being forced to reevaluate their responsibilities and priorities in unexpected ways. One manifestation of this is the rise of “commuter marriages” wherein...

Socialization, Internet and Youth

by socanonymous An article in the New York Times demonstrated from anecdotal evidence how many teens are indeed engaging in ‘normal’ teen behaviour – only through the internet. Keeping in touch with friends, maintaining romantic relationships, and looking for information (such as how to install a video card) are a few common examples of what teens typically do during long hours on the internet. Personal computers and home internet use are quite prevalent today, especially among young people. There have...

Internet (Community) Organizer?

by socanonymous Popular media and pundits alike are praising President-Elect, Barack Obama and his campaigners for taking his message to the internet. Much of Obama’s skills and experience in community organizing have been taken online. This election has definitely been history in the making, in more than one way. The successful linkage of technology, namely the internet, and politics has been proven effective in this election. There are countless benefits to the use of the internet for political gains including...

Hyperreality and the Cocoon

by theoryforthemasses An international design collective, NAU, is developing an Immersive Cocoon that would allow users to step into 3D virtual worlds. Within the Immersive Cocoon, users would be able to visit virtual cities, museums, and stores, experiencing the environments as if they were actually there, walking, looking, and shopping. French sociologist Jean Baudrillard suggested that postindustrialized societies enter states of hyperreality marked by the dominance of simulacra, wherein simulations of experiences become more meaningful and important than actual experiences....