Battling the Cell Phone Menace in Class for a Decade Now

Facebook's wayback machine ("On this Day" app) reminded me this morning that I have been battling students using their cell phones in class for a long time now. I know some professors don't care if students use their phones in class. Fine by me; their class, their rules. And some are just unaware. Many Wake … Continue reading Battling the Cell Phone Menace in Class for a Decade Now

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Data on Gender Segregation in Occupations (2012)

Teaching Arlie Hochschild's The Managed Heart in my sociological theory class recently, I was looking for data on the percentage of flight attendants today who are male. I found a nice post on the issue by Mona Chalabi ("Dear Mona") on the FiveThirtyEight blog. Answer: In 1980, 14.3 percent of flight attendants were male; in … Continue reading Data on Gender Segregation in Occupations (2012)

New Course for Fall 2015: The Sociology of Guns

I am excited to be teaching a new course in the fall semester, related to my new research project on American gun culture: Sociology 384: Special Topics Seminar - The Sociology of Guns.┬áCourse description follows the flier. COURSE DESCRIPTION Guns often have a spectacular presence in the American imagination, from George Zimmerman to Sandy Hook … Continue reading New Course for Fall 2015: The Sociology of Guns

Contemporary Application of Bourdieu’s Distinction in Musical Taste

In his famous book Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste, Pierre Bourdieu reports findings from a French survey of cultural tastes fielded in 1967-68. Of particular note is a figure showing the distribution of preferences for three musical works by class fractions. Bourdieu reports that Bach's "Well-Tempered Clavier" represents "legitimate taste" and … Continue reading Contemporary Application of Bourdieu’s Distinction in Musical Taste

Teaching the Frankfurt School on the Culture Industry and Standardization of Cultural Products

In my sociological theory class recently, I was teaching about critical theory (i.e., "the Frankfurt School"). Specifically, students were reading excerpts from Theodor Adorno's and Max Horkheimer's work on "The Culture Industry," excerpted from their 1944 book The Dialectic of Enlightenment. We talked about how the production of mass cultural commodities (books, films, TV, music) … Continue reading Teaching the Frankfurt School on the Culture Industry and Standardization of Cultural Products