91 posts categorized "Relationships, Marriage and Family"

April 08, 2013

Data are Everywhere

RaskoffBy Sally Raskoff

From day one in my statistics course, I tell my students that data are everywhere. Even though the word makes it sound like data is everywhere, the word data is plural thus they are everywhere.

Facebook helped me make the point recently when they posted a note and shared information gleaned from posting patterns (empirical data!) during the week that the Supreme Court heard arguments on marriage equality.

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April 04, 2013

Gay Marriage: It’s Personal

Peter_kaufmanBy Peter Kaufman       

Recently, gay marriage and gay rights have been at the forefront of the nation’s attention. As the Supreme Court heard two historic arguments on same-sex marriage, the top story in print, on the airwaves, and over the Internet has revolved around these issues.  

My interest in such matters started much earlier, specifically in January 1991. At the time, my brother and I were driving back to New York from Washington, D.C. after attending a rally protesting the Gulf War. We spent the whole weekend together talking about things both serious and frivolous. It wasn’t until we were about two exits away from our hometown when my brother woke me up from a nap saying that he had something to tell me. I thought he was going to say that he got pulled over for a speeding ticket. Instead, he told me he was gay.

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February 04, 2013

Revisiting Research

RaskoffBy Sally Raskoff

The journal Social Forces has published many classic studies in sociology in its ninety year history. To celebrate,the publisher has offered free public access. Even better, each of these articles has updates or reflection articles from the original authors.

While new research is always being pursued, it is important to realize that classic work still has an important contribution to make – that’s why you end up reading so much of it in sociology classes. On the other hand, it is important not to just accept the older work as consistently applicable but to reflect, reassess, reapply the findings to see if they retain their power of explanation. If the findings are no longer as relevant, we can  learn about how life has changed or what the research might have missed, created as it is rooted in a particular time and place.

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January 17, 2013

Thinking Sociologically About Holidays

SternheimerBy Karen Sternheimer

Did you or anyone you know find this last holiday season stressful? Sociology can help us understand some of the reasons why holiday celebrations might be difficult—and why people keep doing things the same way each year nonetheless.

As you begin to get back in your non-holiday routine, now is a great time to use our sociological imaginations to think about the many sociological concepts that help us understand end-of-the year routines.

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January 10, 2013

Everyday Sociology Talk: Migration and Masculinity


Sociologist Josh LePree discuss how men who migrate negotiate and reconstruct their masculinity.

For more video, see www.youtube.com/nortonsoc

October 25, 2012

Everyday Sociology Talk: Philip Cohen Discusses Research on Same-Sex Marriage


Karen Sternheimer and Philip Cohen of the University of Maryland discusses the controversial Regnerus study about same-sex marriage.

For videos, see www.youtube.com/nortonsoc

October 18, 2012

Surviving Sociology Midterms

SternheimerBy Karen Sternheimer

Are you about to take midterms in a sociology class for the first time? If so, here are some tips for how to think sociologically, which will help you on any format of exam you might be taking.

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September 03, 2012

Gay Marriage Made Me Get Married

WynnAuthorPhoto1By Jonathan Wynn

Call me old fashioned, but before I went to Robyn’s father to ask for her hand, I went to Human Resources. I wanted to know if my partner could share my health care benefits as a civil union or a common-law marriage. “Nope. Massachusetts allows anyone to get married, so we don’t recognize ‘registered partnerships.’” The advisor on the other end of the line giggled and added, “It looks like you’re going to have to get hitched, son.” She hung up the phone still chuckling.

We’d been together for seven years. “What happens when a feminist rapper and a sociologist get together?” sounded more like a joke in search of a punch line rather than a description of a couple in search of a registry. As a musician who values feminist ideals and gay rights, Robyn was uncomfortable with the patriarchal and heteronormative trappings of marriage. As a sociologist (and son of divorced parents, and both sets of grandparents), I was keenly aware of the issues and personal struggles with marriage as an institution. We were also uncomfortable with both the religious norms and the billion dollar wedding industry surrounding it as well.

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January 17, 2012

Everyday Sociology Talk: Brian Powell on Defining Families


Karen Sternheimer interviews Brian Powell, author of Counted Out: Same-Sex Relations and Americans' Definitions of Family.

For more videos, visit http://www.youtube.com/nortonsoc

November 17, 2011

It Takes a Village—To Create Binge Drinkers

imageBy Sally Raskoff

How much do you take for granted as common sense? Are there some things out there in the world that you know are true not because they have been studied scientifically but because something just seems logical and everyone knows it’s true?

Sociology teaches us to be cautious about such “truisms.” Some of the time, those common sense notions are wrong! But we won’t know unless someone studies them, and then someone else replicates that study, and someone else tests it yet again, and so on. We do this until we’re pretty clear that most of the time, we know what’s going on. And then, yes, we need to do another study to see if what we knew is still accurate.

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