Of course, not only is all crime a sociological phenomenon, but also without a broader sociological analysis we can’t begin to understand why the rates of missing and murdered indigenous women are tragically high compared to non-indigenous women. Furthermore, it’s clear that if rates of violence against non-indigenous women climbed as high as those of indigenous women, this government (even with its woeful record on women’s issues) would be more likely to announce not only a public inquiry but a full-scale national strategy. (This double-standard in how we value human lives is what sociologists call “racism.”)
—  Jakeet Singh, assistant professor, Department of Politics & Government, Illinois State University.

Sociologists for Justice have compiled a compelling and engaging list of readings that inform the socio-historical context of the events in Ferguson, MO.

A worthwhile read even if you think you already “get” white supremacy and antiblackness (we never know what holes exist in our understanding until we encounter them). 

Is it true that straight guys won’t sit next to each other when they go to a movie together like they leave one seat open between them because they don’t want people to think they are a couple??? Because we were talking about this in my sociology class talking about symbolic interaction theory and that is one example my professor brought up and I legitimately never knew that was a thing?

People who dismiss the unemployed and dependent as ‘parasites’ fail to understand economics and parasitism. A successful parasite is one that is not recognized by its host, one that can make its host work for it without appearing as a burden. Such is the ruling class in a capitalist society.
—  Jason Read

Whereas racism relies on the belief that some races are better than others, colorism is the idea that, within races, lighter is better. Whereas racism is based on the worldview that the people of the world can be divided into discrete categories and judged on that basis, colorism gives differential value to people in the same racial group, based on a continuum from light to dark.

Tanya Golash-Boza on Skin-tone Stratification and Colorism in Race and Racisms: A Critical Approach.

Sex is your bodily fluids and theirs and your tongues tangled and feeling someone so close and intimate that you could stay like that for hours, despite the fact that you’re both hot and sweaty and out of breath but still you can manage to say I love you. And if you aren’t mature enough to handle that, you probably shouldn’t be having sex.
—  Tell your kids this instead of planting the thought in their minds that if they have sex as a teenager they are bad people

The sexual exploitation of women is especially predominant in advertising, which is impossible to escape because ads are omnipresent. Thin, barely clothed bodies appear in magazines and on the backs of buses. Intimate close-up shots of smoky bedroom eyes belonging to a woman wearing only lace negligee stare down at passerby from high billboards. Pelvic shots and chiseled bodies come through the television and the computer. They are in every clothing store and adorn the pages of weekly sales circulars.

The mechanism used in these ads is quite simple: Attractive bodies are employed to grab attention and simulate desire, which advertisers hope will then be transferred to the product. Buy the beer, get the girl. In this way, women’s bodies are equated with commodities, presented as rewards of consumption. By instructing men to regard women’s bodies as objects, ads help create an atmosphere that devalues women as people, encourages sexual harassment, and worse (Jacobson and Mazur 1995:84).

Often times the women portrayed in these ads are not even whole. The pictures show only legs, torsos, or an open mouth with rouge lip color provocatively placed atop a glass bottle. This reduces women to collections of parts, something less than human. This objectification and sexploitation has changed the rules of society and along with it the attitudes of men and women have changed.

Just as simple films relying on crude jokes and violence are perfect for the global marketplace, since they require little translation, so is advertising that relies entirely on image. Bare breasts and phallic symbols are understood everywhere. As are the nude female buttocks featured in the Italian and German ads for similar worthless products to remedy the imaginary problem of cellulite. Unfortunately, such powerful imagery of[ten] pollutes the cultural environment (Kilbourne 1999:72).

"If biology were the principle factor in human behavior, all around the world we would find women behaving in one way and men in another. Men and women would be just like male spiders and female spiders, whose genes tell them what to do. In fact, however, ideas of gender vary greatly from one culture to another-and as a result, so do male-female behaviors."

-James M. Henslin from Essentials of Sociology: A Down-to-Earth Approach

The United States has more people in prison than any other country and incarcerates people at a higher rate than at any other time in history. Our crime rate, however, is not higher than in other countries or than it has been historically. Why, then, are so many Americans behind bars? The answer lies in the United States’ use of mass incarceration as a strategy to reduce crime, particularly to fight illicit drug use. Yet mass incarceration has not been effective at reducing crime and illicit drug use. It has, however, destroyed families and communities and has exacerbated racial inequality in that the primary victims of intensified law enforcement have been people of color.
Why We Can't Judge Ancient Art

Basically, anything like cooking, painting, music, pottery — anything aesthetic — cannot be judged properly. Because modern tastes are so different from what they used to be, what a 17th-century Ottoman would have found sublime we might call meh. And vice versa.

Now this is all up for debate, of course, but it seems pretty convincing to me. Taken from this askhistorians thread.

A New Tool for Analyzing Cultural Mobility

A dataset on the birth and death locations of distinguished individuals over 2,000 years is providing insights into cultural mobility, a new study reports. To better understand the spread of disease, the rise of conflict, and the evolution of cities, researchers have needed a way to quantitatively analyze the impact of individual historical developments on societal practices. They used the migration patterns of more than 150,000 notable individuals, as represented by their birth and death locations, and suggest that the consistent global patterns uncovered with their framework will help provide guidance with respect to predicting growth, size and distance distributions going forward, as well as better interpreting of cultural phenomena.

Read more about this research in the 1 August 2014 issue of Science here.

[Image courtesy of Maximilian Schich & Mauro Martino, 2014. Please click here for more information.]

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