By 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.
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.
Continue reading "Data are Everywhere" »
By 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.
Continue reading "Gay Marriage: It’s Personal " »
By 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
Continue reading "Revisiting Research" »
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.
Continue reading "Thinking Sociologically About Holidays" »
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.
Continue reading "Surviving Sociology Midterms " »
By 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.
Continue reading "Gay Marriage Made Me Get Married" »
By 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.
Continue reading "It Takes a Village—To Create Binge Drinkers" »