american sociologist

Charlotte Perkins Gilman (1860-1935) was a prominent American feminist, sociologist, and novelist. When she ended high school after seven different schools in four years she went to a school of design, and worked as an artistic tutor.

During her youth she often spent her time in the public library, as she was not allowed to read fiction at home. When she was 25 she gave birth to her only daughter, after which she developed a severe postpartum psychosis. The treatment for this at the time consisted of “living as domestic a life as possible”. She wrote her most famous work, the short story The Yellow Wallpaper, about this period.

Paris waif, 1918. By Lewis Hine.

Lewis Wickes Hine (September 26, 1874 – November 3, 1940) was an American sociologist and photographer. Hine used his camera as a tool for social reform. His photographs were instrumental in changing child labor laws in the United States. In 1907, Hine became the staff photographer of the Russell Sage Foundation; he photographed life in the steel-making districts and people of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, for the influential sociological study called The Pittsburgh Survey.

Adam Gopnik examines the astonishing career of Howard Becker and explores why the American sociologist, while respected at home, is required reading in France:

The French myth of America is as robust as the American myth of France, and one important element in it is the idea that Americans can arrive intuitively at results that the French can get to only by thinking a lot. Like the Hollywood moviemakers whom the French New Wave critics adopted in the fifties and sixties, Becker is beloved in Paris in part because he doesn’t seem overencumbered with theory or undue abstraction.

Illustration by Simon Prades

anonymous asked:

Okay but actually grammar is, linguistically speaking, completely and utterly arbitrary and more used as an indication of social standing than someone's actual ability to speak a language. English grammar and the criteria to speak it "well" is very much based in racism and classism. Take a linguistics course I'm not making this up lol

Yes it is arbitrary, like any other form of communication. Just because it was used as a tool for classism and racism doesn’t mean that it’s ‘rooted’ in it. It’s based on arbitrary rules that have formed over time. English today isn’t completely rooted in the old feudalist language that was spoken in England. It’s a mix of both old germanic English (pleb language), latin and other languages. Its grammar, like any other grammar, evolved over time and was effected by different dialects spoken by different classes.

This “gramar is only a white colonialist oppression tool” is a new concept created by American sociologists and other ‘englightened™’ individuals. Basically pretentious jibber jabber that makes self righteous cunts like you look like they’re fighting for the greater good.

Try speaking/writing any ‘non-white’ language by purposely ignoring all of it’s rules and try to tell people who correct you that they’re racist. Let’s see how far you’d go with that.

Charles Horton Cooley and The Looking Glass Theory (Long)

Food for Thought.

I have long wondered if PLL (Rosewood) was an experiment in sociology. there have been so many hints at “higher forces” controlling things, A being omnipresent. The rats the cages. Moral compass, religion, admitting ones lies. coming clean.

The Alice in Wonderland allusions, looking in mirrors, the obsession with how people perceive the liars and their families. Identities lost, hyper realities, dual personalities, borderline personalities and psychosis.

I see A often as someone who is trying to bring self awareness to the liars.

This Charles thing is really bugging me and I think most of it is because the name is supposed to mean something to A. I was wracking my brains trying to think of where I had heard the name Charles and “The Looking Glass” theory before. When I was getting rid of some old texts and took a peek. I was surprised to find that the name of the man who did the theory’s name was Charles. 

I’m not sure if anyone mentioned this so yell at me if you did!

This theory has me thinking about A and his motivations. A seems to be dealing with significant loss. A is likely socially awkward but intelligent, well off and highly knowledgeable of the events that have gone in Rosewood. A seems to want to be a moral compass at times. A seems to feel remorseful at times for things he has done, or his minions have in his name (I think those who know about A have used the A game to target the liars)

This is giving me a lot to think about. I always thought the Wonderland references were relevant but there was something else I could not put my finger on with the looking glass aspect. This makes a lot of sense in light of some things I have been pondering.

It makes me wonder again about Dr Sullivan and if we will see her again. It makes me think of the NAT, Pastor Ted, the trial and what could have been almost a “stoning” of Bethany if all liars were involved. 

I want to dig further, but thought it would be interesting to note to those who, like me think the name Charles is symbolic, rather than descriptive.

Here’s a part of the theory posted on 

Do you sometimes experience that the mere presence of other people leads to feelings of discomfort and tension? When not knowing exactly what other people think of you it may lead to self-doubt and feelings of insecurity. According to the American sociologist Charles Horton Cooley (1864-1929), the degree of personal insecurity you display in social situations is determined by what you believe other people think of you.

Cooley´s concept of the looking glass self, states that a person’s self grows out of a person´s social interactions with others. The view of ourselves comes from the contemplation of personal qualities and impressions of how others perceive us. Actually, how we see ourselves does not come from who we really are, but rather from how we believe others see us.

The main point is that people shape their self-concepts based on their understanding of how others perceive them. We form our self-image as the reflections of the response and evaluations of others in our environment. As children we were treated in a variety of ways. If parents, relatives and other important people look at a child as smart, they will tend to raise him with certain types of expectations. As a consequence the child will eventually believe that he is a smart person. This is a process that continues when we grow up. For instance, if you believe that your closest friends look at you as some kind of superhero, you are likely to project that self-image, regardless of whether this has anything to do with reality.

The concept of the looking glass-self theory constitutes the cornerstone of the sociological theory of socialization. The idea is that people in our close environment serve as the “mirrors” that reflect images of ourselves. According to Cooley, this process has three steps. First, we imagine how we appear to another person. Sometimes this imagination is correct, but may also be wrong since it is merely based on our assumptions. Second, we imagine what judgments people make of us based on our appearance. Lastly, we imagine how the person feels about us, based on the judgments made of us. The ultimate result is that we often change our behaviour based on how we feel people perceive us.

Building a strong self-image

“I imagine your mind, and especially what your mind thinks about my mind, and what your mind thinks about what my mind thinks about your mind.” Charles Horton Cooley.

So how can we, or anyone else, know who we really are? Can you be sure of the “real you”, separated from all the stuff in the outside social world? You have probably experienced that you have had a strong sense of another person´s dislike for you, only to later find out that this was not the case, and that this person really liked you. Actually, the “real social world” as we perceive it, is often not only wrong, but may even serve as an illusion.

All people want to be liked and be appreciated for talents or personality. But if we have a weak self-image, if we believe that the opinion of others are more important than our own, we can end up living our lives in accordance to other peoples´ expectations. Sometimes, others evaluations mean more to us than our own. This is quite a distressing thought, since it implies that others´ opinion of you can run your life.

A person’s construction of an “imagined self-image” is done unintentionally. We are not consciously aware that we often try to conform to the image that we imagine other people expect from us. If a person develops a negative self-image the self-esteem will tend to be low.  Low self esteem and poor self-image has long been associated with a whole range of psychological problems, and it is necessary to counter the passive individual that depends heavily on the social world for building self-image. Hence, we should develop a self-image that is more based on our own evaluations rather than how we believe others look at us.

The concept of the looking glass self offers insight not only into our own thinking, but also to how we form our identity based on how others see us. As long as we are interacting with others we are vulnerable for changing our own self-image, a process that will continue throughout our lives.

Human Happiness and The Self Esteem Culture.

  Societies are usually corrupted in a manner that corresponds to their own   particular nature. In a free society, or in other words, a society defined by individualism, the dangers of egoism  and (even worse) of narcissism are always present. Narcissism is an utter preoccupation, an obsession  with one’s own self image. Now one of the most influential forces in shaping contemporary American culture has been the rise of the self esteem approach to psychology.  Over time it has worked to replace the classical concepts of aspiration  and individual  enhancement with the ideal of self affirmation. Today we inhabit  a culture in which feeling better about oneself is more important than objectively bettering oneself.  Anything that is viewed as harming to the positive  affirmation of oneself is  portrayed as a supreme evil. Self acceptance movements of all kinds abound, including in areas in which they may not only harm character and maturity but even health.

 In a world of fragile egos one is not free to pose any question or to pursue any truth, for it may be a cause for offense. This is poisonous to academic inquiry and to education in general, and (”coincidentally”) American education within the modern self esteem era  has drastically fallen behind  the educational systems of many nations in the developed world. The term “self esteem ” was after all first widely popularized by  an American sociologist  named Morris Rosenberg.  The most ironic thing about this entire narrative  is that over the course of this  period the emotional and psychological well being of Americans has been on a continual decline. Rates of psychotropic drug use,  of anxiety,  and of general emotional unease has been  rising continuously. The use of anti-depressants has increased by 400% just since the late 1980′s.  How could it be that an obsessive pre-occupation with  self affirmation has resulted in citizens that are more unhappy than they have ever been? Another interesting statistic is that the  group that has seen the greatest marked decline in happiness is women. 

The fruitlessness of this particular social philosophy does not of course move the Progressive to reconsider the wisdom of it; in fact its negative results are of great use to him.  Every society is corrupted in a manner that corresponds to its own unique nature. An Individualist society is especially subject to the threat of a  narcissism; and if that trend is permitted to have its way, it will extinguish the very individualism that gave birth to it.

We are told, for example, that conservatives are against big government and high spending. Yet even as Republican governors and state legislatures block the expansion of Medicaid, the G.O.P. angrily denounces modest cost-saving measures for Medicare. How can this contradiction be explained? Well, what do many Medicaid recipients look like — and I’m talking about the color of their skin, not the content of their character — and how does that compare with the typical Medicare beneficiary? Mystery solved.

Or we’re told that conservatives, the Tea Party in particular, oppose handouts because they believe in personal responsibility, in a society in which people must bear the consequences of their actions. Yet it’s hard to find angry Tea Party denunciations of huge Wall Street bailouts, of huge bonuses paid to executives who were saved from disaster by government backing and guarantees. Instead, all the movement’s passion, starting with Rick Santelli’s famous rant on CNBC, has been directed against any hint of financial relief for low-income borrowers. And what is it about these borrowers that makes them such targets of ire? You know the answer.

One odd consequence of our still-racialized politics is that conservatives are still, in effect, mobilizing against the bums on welfare even though both the bums and the welfare are long gone or never existed. Mr. Santelli’s fury was directed against mortgage relief that never actually happened. Right-wingers rage against tales of food stamp abuse that almost always turn out to be false or at least greatly exaggerated. And Mr. Ryan’s black-men-don’t-want-to-work theory of poverty is decades out of date.

In the 1970s it was still possible to claim in good faith that there was plenty of opportunity in America, and that poverty persisted only because of cultural breakdown among African-Americans. Back then, after all, blue-collar jobs still paid well, and unemployment was low. The reality was that opportunity was much more limited than affluent Americans imagined; as the sociologist William Julius Wilson has documented, the flight of industry from urban centers meant that minority workers literally couldn’t get to those good jobs, and the supposed cultural causes of poverty were actually effects of that lack of opportunity. Still, you could understand why many observers failed to see this.

But over the past 40 years good jobs for ordinary workers have disappeared, not just from inner cities but everywhere: adjusted for inflation, wages have fallen for 60 percent of working American men. And as economic opportunity has shriveled for half the population, many behaviors that used to be held up as demonstrations of black cultural breakdown — the breakdown of marriage, drug abuse, and so on — have spread among working-class whites too.

These awkward facts have not, however, penetrated the world of conservative ideology. Earlier this month the House Budget Committee, under Mr. Ryan’s direction, released a 205-page report on the alleged failure of the War on Poverty. What does the report have to say about the impact of falling real wages? It never mentions the subject at all.

And since conservatives can’t bring themselves to acknowledge the reality of what’s happening to opportunity in America, they’re left with nothing but that old-time dog whistle. Mr. Ryan wasn’t being inarticulate — he said what he said because it’s all that he’s got.
We only gain full individuality, Mead suggested, when we can see ourselves at least in part as others see us - and for this we need social learning. In the words of another great American sociologist, Charles Horton Cooley, “self and society are twinborn.” Imagining individuals as existing before and separate from society misunderstands both.
—  Craig Calhoun, Classical Sociological Theory