Time for our second edition of Sunday Morning Sociology! This is a weekly link round-up of sociological work – by sociologists, referencing sociologists, or just of interest to sociologists. It’s been a particularly rich week for long reads (or else I’ve been particularly avoiding other tasks), so I’m going to break up the links into a few categories to make them a bit more readable. Let me know what you’d most like to see in this space!
This post is co-authored by Daniel Laurison and Dan Hirschman.
There has been a compelling pie chart circulating on Facebook and Twitter, showing the percentage who voted for Trump or Clinton, or who didn’t vote, or weren’t eligible. (Dan even went so far as to include the image in this past week’s Sunday Morning Sociology link round-up, contributing to that circulation.) The problem is … well, there are a couple problems. First of all, the chart mostly circulated without an associated story or link, just some vague source info that couldn’t be traced back to any explanation of what the pie chart really meant. The closest to the original we could easily find was this, where the chart is reproduced (as below) with no contextual information.
But the second, related, problem was bigger, and was driving both of us nuts: the mystery of the denominator. The image shows that only about 41% of Americans voted, but turnout estimates we’d seen said 55% – 60% of eligible voters voted. More surprisingly, it showed that nearly 29% of Americans weren’t eligible to vote. We know felon disenfranchisement is a problem (see Uggen et al’s work here), and of course that there are immigrants in the US who aren’t citizens. But those two populations aren’t anywhere near a third or even a quarter of the US.
We both guessed that that 28.6% must include kids, but usually we don’t think of children as “ineligible” to vote in the same way that disenfranchised felons are. So we didn’t think the chart was right – or at least we were sure it was confusing – and so we made our own. The file with sources and links to those sources is available here.
I’m a huge fan of the history of medicine blog Nursing Clio. They have amazing posts on everything that fits under the broad umbrella of gender, history, and medicine, all packaged under a clever name. One of my favorite features of the blog is a weekly post called “Sunday Morning Medicine” that rounds-up interesting tidbits from around the internet. It’s nice because it helps bring together related content that might otherwise go missed by the relevant audience; it’s not just posts from other history blogs, or interviews with history professors, but bits like this oral history of the Oregon Trail video game published by Vice. So, my goal is to start something similar here. Just a simple curated list of interesting links somehow relevant to sociology, including but not limited to work by sociologists or explicitly recognizing sociological research. The content should have been circulating this week, but not necessarily written this week. Here’s this week’s collection:
We social movement scholars are in the news a lot these days. There have been massive protests since the election of Donald Trump. Reporters want to know: will the protests be effective? Do protests work or are they just ego-trips of protesters? How can protesters be sure they can win? These are the wrong questions because they presuppose that people can just make the right choices and gain victory. Continue reading “asking the wrong questions about protest”
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