sunday morning sociology, abolish ice edition

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Tanya Golash-Boza reviews the recent history of deportations in the US in the context of recent calls to “abolish ICE.”

A weekly link round-up of sociological work – work by sociologists, referencing sociologists, or just of interest to sociologists. This scatterplot feature is co-produced with Mike Bader.  Continue reading “sunday morning sociology, abolish ice edition”

“this isn’t the apocalypse”: senators’ reactions to trump’s supreme court nomination

Last night, President Trump nominated Brett Kavanaugh to replace Justice Kennedy on the Supreme Court. Very little about this was surprising. Kavanaugh is exactly the sort of judge everyone assumed would be nominated – endorsed by rightwing organizations like the Federalist Society and the Heritage Foundation, and possibly even picked by Justice Kennedy himself. I was curious to see how Senators reacted to this announcement. The Democrats have 49 seats in the Senate (counting Democratic-leaning independents), and very little power to stop the nomination. The issue for me is not whether the Democrats will show sufficient unity to block Kavanaugh – that doesn’t seem possible, even if they were united. Rather, my question was, are we in a political crisis? That is, how do relevant political elites construct the current moment? Is it exceptional? If so, in what ways? Or is it business as usual?

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sunday morning sociology, american exceptionalism edition

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Declining social welfare spending and rising inequality may explain why suicides are rising in the US but falling in most other rich countries. Details at The Conversation

A weekly link round-up of sociological work – work by sociologists, referencing sociologists, or just of interest to sociologists. This scatterplot feature is co-produced with Mike Bader.

Continue reading “sunday morning sociology, american exceptionalism edition”

iris marion young, “political responsibility and structural injustice”

Iris Marion Young was a brilliant feminist political theorist. I had the pleasure of reading a couple of her essays in graduate school, and they were formative. Today, I came across a lecture she gave in 2003 on “Political Responsibility and Structure Justice” (pdf link). In this post, I summarize the essay with a few key quotes, but it’s fairly short so I recommend just reading the whole thing.

Young opens with a vignette that introduces the complicated and confused concept of “structure” through an incredibly clear example of a working mother searching for, and failing to find affordable housing. Who is responsible for this injustice? How do we think about responsibility and justice in the context of structural harms?

Following this vignette about the housing market, Young offers a tight exposition of some of the major theoretical approaches to thinking about what structure means. This exposition alone is worth the price of admission, and would be a useful inclusion in a theory class, or maybe even an intro sociology or intro to social problems. She summarizes:

structures refer to the relation of social positions that condition the opportunities and life prospects of the persons located in those positions. This positioning occurs because of the way that actions and interactions reinforce the rules and resources avail- able for other actions and interactions involving people in other structural positions. The unintended consequences of the confluence of many actions often produce and reinforce opportunities and constraints, and these often make their mark on the physical conditions of future actions, as well as on the habits and expectations of actors. This mutually reinforcing process means that the positional relations and the way they condition individual lives are difficult to change. (Young 2003: 6)

This definition then lets her cleanly define structural injustice:

Structural injustices are harms that come to people as a result of structural processes in which many people participate. (Young 2003: 7)

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sunday morning sociology, july never seemed so strange edition

This week was too horrible to be summarized in a single chart, graph, or picture. Instead, here’s this wonderful image of surplus cheese reserves from Vox.

A weekly link round-up of sociological work – work by sociologists, referencing sociologists, or just of interest to sociologists. This scatterplot feature is co-produced with Mike Bader.

Continue reading “sunday morning sociology, july never seemed so strange edition”

sunday morning sociology, unpopular policies edition

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Separating immigrant children from their parents is one of the most unpopular policies ever polled. More from John Sides at the Washington Post here.

A weekly link round-up of sociological work – work by sociologists, referencing sociologists, or just of interest to sociologists. This scatterplot feature is co-produced with Mike Bader.

Continue reading “sunday morning sociology, unpopular policies edition”

sunday morning sociology, the rent is too damned high edition

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“Minimum Wages Can’t Pay for a 2-Bedroom Apartment Anywhere.” City Lab reports on new data from the National Low Income Housing Coalition.

A weekly link round-up of sociological work – work by sociologists, referencing sociologists, or just of interest to sociologists. This scatterplot feature is co-produced with Mike Bader.

Continue reading “sunday morning sociology, the rent is too damned high edition”