soc.i. 105

sept 13: the lottery got us thinking about the social function and justification of “human sacrifice” — now let’s see it in a different (?) context: school shootings.

this looks like a lot, but it’s not. the 3 pieces are short. some things you might consider when reading — the importance and meaning of rituals, the role of norms and how they can shift, and the ways those norms and values are embodied in our built environment.

don’t forget to bring a question you want to discuss!


sept 20: climate strike! no class. do something else. information on the middlebury events here.

middlebury’s most famous climate expert, bill mckibben says, strike!

still itching for some sociology?

AND… related to last week’s discussion: “back to school essentials” from sand hook promise — along with an important critique of its framing from patrick blanchard, an authority on gun culture and policy.


sept 27: other social “failures”…

consider how this places similar issues from durkheim’s suicide into a more modern context. also consider whether he thinks the changes post 9/11 will hold and what that means sociologically (and also socially…). lastly, think about what’s different in the world of 2019 and how this critic may (not) still hold today.


oct. 4: revolt, labor, inequality, etc etc etc

ALSO: i wanted some clarification on the numbers (sorry biden!) we got in class thursday about media income in the US. as you can see here, it depends — household (60K) and family (73K) income are not the same. also, you may notice that we are only now returning to the pre-2008 financial crisis numbers….

OCTOBER ELEVEN: work work work! (or don’t work…)

THIS IS SO OPTIONAL THAT WE DON”T EVEN HAVE THE PROPER WORD IN ENGLISH TO DESCRIBE JUST HOW OPTIONAL IT IS (but it might be of interest as you think about your next writing assignment)! since we mentioned amazon in passing in thursday’s class, here’s some stories on what work at amazon looks like…amazon is, it would seem, not a great place to work. it’s generated an entire genre.

oct 25: RATIOnalization!


NOVEMBER ONE: fashion show!

  • ashley mears, pricing beauty. chapter one. chapter five. [[together these are kind of longish (60ish pp), but they read quickly so you should be able to handle it. i believe in you!]]

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november VIII: networks


the eleventh month, the twenty-second day: race and recognition

tressie mcmillian cottom, 2 selections from thick [2 chapters, yes, but not too long, and fairly quick (if not necessarily easy!) reads]

the last discussion day of the semester…

  • nothing new to read BUT…
  • come prepared
  • to discuss:
  • one (1) reading/concept/issue from the class important/interesting to you
  • consider:
    • how this links to one of the two meta-themes of the course:
      • society & the individual
      • the sociological imagination
    • how this has helped/forced you to notice/see things in a new way