Time for another Sunday Morning Sociology! This is a weekly link round-up of sociological work – by sociologists, referencing sociologists, or just of interest to sociologists.
The following is a guest post by Marcel Knudsen, a graduate student at Northwestern.
Why have a graduate worker union?
Recently, I read Susan Fowler’s blog post on sexual harassment at Uber. It’s a depressing story and a necessary read. I was struck by how everyone else at Uber did their best to tune out her experiences. Speaking up made her an irritant. Even after multiple colleagues had reported similar problems with the same supervisor, her only recourse after being ignored by HR was to leave the company.
The story shows what happens in an environment where workers don’t want to voice their concerns, where they focus on their own specific jobs and keep their heads down. What’s striking is that even these high-earning tech workers don’t think that they have any rights or ability to change their workplace. The individualization of people’s struggles, a lack of willingness to be involved or even to talk about Uber’s problems, made Fowler’s situation possible.
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:
- “The Badass Wife of W.E.B. Du Bois.”
- “Code Dependent: Pros and Cons of the Algorithmic Age.”
- “How America Counts its Homeless and Why So Many are Overlooked.”
- “Durkheimian Utilitarianism” (or what Haidt gets wrong about liberals and morality, part n of N).
- W.E.B. Du Bois’s Modernist Data Visualizations of Black Life.
- Yes, voter identification laws suppress minority voting.
- CBS uses poll data to divide support and opposition to Trump into four groups.
- Surveys including non-voters show lower approval for Trump.
- Yale renames Calhoun College, one step towards making America not racist for the first time.
- Gabriel Rossman reviews “Dreamland” and shows how much sociology has to learn from the opioid epidemic.
- What the US oil and gas boom looks like from space.
- Kahneman recants on priming studies: “authors who review a field should be wary of using memorable results of underpowered studies as evidence for their claims.”
- Postindustrial towns vote for Democrats, just like big cities.
- Policy, especially housing policy, made the racial wealth gap.
If you have suggestions for next week’s round-up, leave a comment, or reach me on twitter.
Originally published in Race, Politics, Justice About protest as a complex multi-actor field.
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”
Yesterday was International Holocaust Remembrance Day. 70 years ago on January 27th, Auschwitz was liberated. I was thinking about this as I was walking home from work. I walk past Brown University’s Hillel on my walk. Yesterday, there was an armed police officer standing guard outside the entrance. I’ve never seen that before. I don’t know for sure if the cop was standing guard because Holocaust Remembrance Day is a day that anti-semites would target Jews with violence, but I’m guessing that’s the case. Probably the most effective memorial I saw was this twitter account which read out the names of Jewish refugees who were denied entry into the United States in 1939 and were forced to return to Europe, where they were killed.
My name is Regina Blumenstein. The US turned me away at the border in 1939. I was murdered in Auschwitz
— St. Louis Manifest (@Stl_Manifest) January 28, 2017
Yesterday was also the day that President Trump signed an executive order banning refugees from entering the United States, including those who have been completely vetted. The order further bans entry or re-entry to 500,000 visa-holders and green card holders (legal, permanent residents!) from seven majority-Muslim nations on the flimsy pretext of “9/11!” (none of the 9/11 attackers were from those seven nations). Finally, as if that all wasn’t bad enough, the order establishes a religious tests for future refugees. Trump has explicitly stated this was aimed to help Christians. Vox has a useful breakdown of what the order does here. Duck of Minerva has a more pointed take here: “Trump to Omran: Die, Kid.” The order may well be illegal under the 1965 Immigration Act and CAIR is filing a suit challenging it on constitutional, religious freedom grounds. The International Refugee Assistance Project has filed suit specifically on behalf of two refugees who were en route when the order was signed and who were denied admission to the US.
To recap: on Holocaust Remembrance Day, the President ordered a ban on refugees based on religion. This is exactly as bad as it sounds. What can we do about it? Below are a few of my immediate thoughts. Please post your own ideas and plans in the comments.