Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Welcome prospective students

A new semester is starting soon, but every week I update this Blog with informative links, videos, and reminders for each chapter.
Students who take this course state that it opened their eyes and they had a lot of fun along the way.
I look forward to meeting you in class (online and face to face classes available).
Prof. Hughes

Welcome to the Sociology 101 Blogger

Aren't you glad hairstyles and fads change? This is the haircut my mother thought would be perfect for my 3rd grade picture.

Here you will find articles, suggestions and hints as we move through the semester. You can learn more about a concept we've discussed in class, and read your homework for the week. In addition, I have placed useful links and YouTube video clips on the site and I'll update them to match the topics we're discussing. Send me your suggestions or broken links.

Your homework this week is to read all four assignments on your MCC SOC 101 homepage and select one to do this semester, optionally (except Summer session classes). You must tell me which asmt by the 2nd class and you can't change it, except to move it closer (due earlier). Each asmt is started and completed at a different time during the semester. Each assignment corresponds with a unit of learning and may not be started prior to that unit, and is due on the day of one of the exams. Review the syllabus to see when you would start and complete your chosen assignment.You can always opt out later -- it's not required.
In addition, review these websites prior to next week's class. You don't have to read every webpage in depth, but please surf each page a bit. Please also log into Canvas to view your Gradebook points at any time.

Welcome to SOC 101! If you have questions let me know.


PS: The college would like you to know about the EARS program.

MCC Early Alert Program (EARS)

Mesa Community College is committed to the success of all our students. Numerous campus support services are available throughout your academic journey to assist you in achieving your educational goals. MCC has adopted an Early Alert Referral System (EARS) as part of a student success initiative to aid students in their educational pursuits. Faculty and Staff participate by alerting and referring students to campus services for added support. Students may receive a follow up call from various campus services as a result of being referred to EARS. Students are encouraged to participate, but these services are optional. Early Alert Web Page with Campus Resource Information can be located at: http://www.mesacc.edu/students/ears.


In preparation for next class, read chapter 2 and review the links below.
In particular, pay attention to the 2nd and 3rd links below about Evaluating Internet Resources and Good Research vs Bad Research. Then, using the knowledge gained from those sites, apply your new knowledge to the Did You Know? Shift Happens or Did You Know 4.0 video and be prepared to answer questions about it in class.

Use the website below as a constant guide to help you understand concepts, play games, and test your knowledge. It's free and no login required.
Tischler Text: Student Companion Site

Don't forget to briefly review the websites below under the chapter 1 posting also. Don't forget to read all 4 assignments and choose one. If you have questions just email me.


Culture: "The last thing a fish would notice would be water."

SOC 101 neophytes: By now you should be settled in and on track.
You should have read chapters 1 and 2, and also reviewed lecture notes from the prior class before coming to class, as well as chapter 3 for next class.
In chapter 3 you're introduced to cultural concepts. Ralph Linton stated that the last thing a fish would notice would be water. What did he mean by that?

This is a picture of my mother and I in 1967. Notice the characteristic beehive hairdo on my mom. What was American culture like in 1967?
 How does it compare to today or even to 100 years ago? How will culture shift in your lifetime? Will beehive hairdos return? Why not? Bell-bottom jeans did!


1) Complete your Research Concepts paper before next class (last page of the lecture handout) that we started in class. It's due next week.

2) Read this Wikipedia link. Be prepared next class to be able to list some of the cultural reasons for the practice of Chinese Foot Binding. Chinese Foot Binding (Wiki)

3) Check out this link and be ready to discuss cultural norms and your assessment of the situation in Cameroon. Breast Ironing in Cameroon

4) Also check out this video. Media Affects Body Image

5) Neil Postman - Amusing Ourselves to Death (impactful!)

Let me know if you have questions. Don't forget the green/yellow/red technique as you read and review the textbook and your notes.

See you next class.



In chapter 3 you were introduced to cultural concepts. One's own culture is sometimes better understood by contrasting with another culture, since our own is easy to ignore when we're in the midst of it (Ralph Linton - last thing a fish would notice).

For chapter 4 on Socialization, read some stories in this website (10 Modern Cases of Feral Children) to get a sense of how important socialization is.

Next week we'll discuss the nature vs nurture argument. Geneticists say that "genetics loads the gun but environment pulls the trigger." Could this help explain social behavior too where "environment" is the "social environment?"

I added this picture of my mother as a baby in order to pose a question to you. My mother was born in 1942 in wartime and her father, being in advertising, used her baby picture for this ad encouraging people to purchase more war bonds. How was her socialization different from yours? What factors influenced who she would become?

See you next week and don't forget that exam 1 is coming up soon!


Society & Social Interaction

Someone mentioned in class one semester that they were afraid they might check back on the Blog and see a picture of my grandpa! Well, here's a challenge. I've been doing family genealogy over the past 10 years and the person you see here is my 3rd great grandfather. His name was Leonard "Yankee" Wilson and he was born 07 Oct 1813 in Schodack, Rensselaer, New York and died 02 Feb 1889 in Orillia, Simcoe, Ontario, Canada. He was a merchant.

Next class we'll be discussing the different types of societies throughout human history from hunting/gathering to postindustrial, and the revolutions that caused the transitions to the next type of society.

So the challenge is: What type of Society did Leonard live in? Your options are
1) Hunting/Gathering, 2) Pastoral/Horticultural, 3) Agricultural, 4) Industrial, or 5) Postindustrial.

Your homework for this week is to review the following links:

  1. Asch Conformity Experiment video
  2. Video: Milgram Experiment, Then and Now 
  3. Harlow's Monkey study 
  4. Social Conformity; please stand up

If you have questions prior to the exam please email me. Be sure to use the practice exams inside Canvas (PDFs) or in the back of your textbook, the chapter quizzes after each chapter, and the Tischler companion website link found on this page.

Social Groups and Organization: McDonaldization

Well, you made it through exam 1 and we're marching onward.

Some men in class may feel out of place when we discuss Erving Goffman's Dramaturgical concept of face-saving behavior, so I'll balance it out. To the left is a picture of Cory McClenathan and I several years ago at Firebird Raceway during the Checker Schuck’s Kragen NHRA Nationals here in Phoenix. I went back again the following year and asked Cory to sign the picture (thanks, Cory!). At the time, Cory was driving the McDonald's Top Fuel Dragster. (You can see the characteristic "M" on the back of his pit crew member's shirt.) This is my not-so-stealth segway to our discussion of chapter 6 with George Ritzer's concept of McDonaldization.
For next class, read chapters 5 and 6 and review these links:

1. George Ritzer's McDonaldization of Society

2. Starbucks and McDonalds Global Penetration

3. George Ritzer talks about McDonaldization

4. Walt Disney cartoon: Pigs is Pigs (you will "get" bureaucracy when you see this!)

See you next class.



Burgeoning Sociologists:

This is my younger son many years ago when we took my grandson (his son) to the park. My son thought it would be fun to play on the springy horse, even though he's clearly too large for it. It was a little deviant, but it made for funny memories.
Besides providing humor, does deviance serve any other functions? And is deviance always negative? Is it deviant to try tell "little white lies" to spare someone hurt feelings? What about a German politician's proposal to limit marriage to 7 years?
Some deviance can cause great disruptions to society but the outcome is not always perceived negatively. So, what's deviant and what's not? Does our definition change over time?
Deviance is simply a violation of norms and since we all violate norms from time to time, to sociologists we're all deviant. In the next class we'll be reviewing several theories. It's a practice in understanding the theories rather than coming to firm conclusions, but put on your theorist hat because next week we'll break into groups to try to decide which theory best explains certain types of deviance in society.


Social Class

Social Stratification (layering groups or countries by wealth and assets) plays a huge role in personal relationships. We hear of someone looking for a "sugar daddy" or "sugar momma," but can those relationships really work?

This is a picture of my parents on their wedding day. My father was a truck driver with an 8th grade education (which in 1962 was actually more stringent than it is now, and it was the only legal requirement). He came from a simple family of practical, manual laborers. My mother's family was upper middle class whose ancestors emigrated from England very poor, but created great wealth in mining when they came across "The Pond" in the mid 1800s. Her father grew up with servants and cooks living in the house. My mother completed a high school education. My father passed away in Summer 2010 but mom is still living, and I love(d) and appreciate(d) them equally.

Both of their families never thought the marriage would last and they were right (they divorced when I was 9 months old). As you read this week's chapter, what social class factors might have played a role in the demise of their marriage? In other words, despite their best efforts did their social classes and accompanying socialization play a role and how? Is it better to marry endogamously? (You'll have to research that word in order to answer that question. Impress your classmates! Impress me!)
In addition, don't forget to be prepared to answer what the Titanic (you know, that big ship that sank) has to do with social stratification in social life. The links below will help you understand.

View this YouTube link on social class in 1957. The concepts are the same today.

See you next week.


Racial & Ethnic Minorities

Just when you thought you could finally get away from pictures of my ancestors, up pops another one. But this one is also relevant to our discussions for the next 2 classes after exam 2.
This is my 3rd great grandfather, Ephraim M Black, born 24 Jan 1833 in Bedford County, Tennessee and died 05 Oct 1917 in Aztec, San Juan, New Mexico. In the census records he is shown as a farmer, a stone mason, and a miner, but he was also a slave runner. It is said that my great grandmother was embarrassed by this fact and didn't like to discuss it. In the era that she grew up in, it was becoming increasingly unpopular to treat blacks as inferior, and she felt that it was inhumane. But Ephraim was raised in the deep South in a different era when his family and neighbors considered it normal and expected. To have thought otherwise would likely have been criticized by his family and friends and possibly even been dangerous for him to be considered a sympathizer to the plight of blacks prior to and during the Civil War era. I'm not excusing Ephraim; I'm just using my Sociological Imagination to understand his culture.

During the next race/ethnicity chapter we'll look at historical and modern ways that minorities have interacted.

Review the following links IN THEIR ENTIRETY over the 2 weeks that we study this chapter.

YouTube: Jena 6

"A Class Divided"(the 58 minute video, not the trailer)

Keep in mind that in the "experiment" below, subjects were 2-3 years older than in the original experiments. Younger children are more likely to feel differently.
Video: Black Children Prefer White Dolls

Two Friends: ABC News video: 20/20 True Colors

Matchmakers: Babies Buying Babies (audio only) DON'T MISS THIS ONE

Also do your compensation homework. It's not about right or wrong or whether compensation should be awarded, it's just an exercise in finding out if there ARE differences and how much they might amount to over the course of a lifetime.

Here are some additional videos from the ABC News series "What Would You Do?" Let me know if any of the links aren't working, or send me links that you found and like for this chapter.

Sex & Gender: Meet the Spensleys

You may see a couple arguing their respective points, but unless you're there when the final decisions are made you don't know if the relationship is equitable with regard to power.
Below are the lyrics to the TV show Green Acres which aired 1965-1971. The man and woman each state their case, but see if you can find where the final decision is made and on what basis.
Man: Green acres is the place to be. Farm livin’ is the life for me. Land spreadin’ out so far and wide. Keep Manhattan, just give me that countryside.  
Woman: New York is where I’d rather stay. I get allergic smelling hay. I just adore a penthouse view. Dah-ling I love you but give me Park Avenue.  
Man: The chores.  
Woman: The stores.  
Man: Fresh air.  
Woman: Times Square
Man: You are my wife  
Woman: Good bye, city life.  
Both: Green Acres we are there!
Meet my maternal grandparents, Harker (British ancestry) and Ruth (Irish/German ancestry), both now deceased. They met and married in Dubuque, Iowa and moved to Denver, Colorado after the birth of their first child. Harker (or Hark as my grandma liked to call him) was first a newspaper man and then later owned and operated a very successful advertising agency with accounts large enough to support a 3-daughter family and my grandma didn't need to work (although times got rough during WWII and grandma went without new shoes while the kids ate a lot of peanut butter sandwiches). When their 3 children were grown my grandma became bored and it was suggested that she take on charity work or a job. But in my grandma's day women didn't work if they could afford not to, and her female peers mimicked that sentiment so she chose not to. It wasn't considered selfish; in fact middle class women were viewed in a negative light (considered to have low spousal status) if they worked in the early 1900s (when she grew up), and getting past that would have been almost life changing for her. Welcome to 2013. Women change their own tires, start their own companies, pursue educational goals, vote, own their own property, and become President. Well...that last one hasn't happened yet in this country but it could happen.

So, how much has really changed? The US is one of the only post-industrialized nation not to have a woman in the key position of power over a country, women are still overwhelming performing the childcare and housework even when they work full time, and they are overrepresented among the poor as the marginalized sex (the feminization of poverty). Data to ponder.

When we meet again, know the difference between sex and gender, the definition of androgyny, and be prepared to have a little fun poking fun at stereotypes of gender. Also review these links and bring a calculator to class next week and your Compensation asmt is due then too.

The Male Privilege Checklist

YouTube: Dove Soap video on beauty

The Mask You Live in trailer 

This is How Much America Hates Women

You have the chapter on Sex/Gender to read, and assignment 3 to get started on if you chose that asmt (excluding summer classes).

The Family: Our Initiation into Society

These are my 2nd great (paternal) grandparents, Jacob Craig Rippy and his wife Charlsy Ann Wright-Rippy (both born in the mid 1800s), and their full brood of 9 children. There were a lot of reasons that families were larger then, owing mostly to lack of birth control -- but also, children served many purposes with each family member contributing something significant to the family economy. Even the youngest child could fetch eggs from the henhouse. What are some of the functions of the family as an institution, and why (besides the introduction of birth control) has family size decreased so dramatically? Have the roles and functions of children changed and why? How did those events contribute to the dramatic shift?
Watch several minutes of the first video to get a sense of how family life has changed from just 50-60 years ago. Watch the 2nd video to learn about shifts in marriage patterns. Watch the 3rd video to learn about some of the signs of child abuse. 

YouTube: A Date With Your Family (1950) 
Note the strict division of labor and how academics is not to be a priority for the daughter, though she has to be hers later after she's exhausted from dinner and domestic chores. The rules for children are quite distinct too. 
YouTube: Marriage as a Status Symbol (Andrew Cherlin)
7 Year Limit on Marriage? 
YouTube: Child Abuse (signs of)
U.S. Divorce Rates & Stats (what's a divorce "rate?") 
Are Boomers Divorce Prone? (CNN) 
World First: Scientists Modify the Genomes of Human Embryos
Do abused have a higher risk of abusing their own?

There's also an exercise I want you to perform before the last lecture class of the semester and then bring it to that last lecture class.
Make 3 columns side by side:
1) List the top 10 characteristics you can't live without in a mate, partner, spouse, significant other. Consider drug use or addiction, arrest record, age, race, divorce, their sex and level of androgyny, illness or disability, if they have children, where they live, being honest or humorous, etc. Narrowing the list to your top 10 won't be easy. Whole sentences are not needed; just list.
2) List the top 10 characteristics that you have to offer a mate, partner, spouse, significant other. Toot your own horn! Call a friend to ask them about your best qualities.
3) Given your years of experience in dating, list the top 10 characteristics you know that a mate, partner, spouse, significant other would want from you. If you're not sure, think back to the relationships you've had and the characteristics your previous partners complained about (not enough or too much of something), plus the basic characteristics of limits on drug use, age, sex, race, education, social class, etc. (I wouldn't recommend calling an ex to remind you!)
This exercise is called Commodity Dating and I will check to see that you've done it and deduct 3 points from your last exam score for not doing it. It's also called the "Be Careful What You Ask For" exercise and has a fun component added in.
If you have questions or need clarification prior to the final exam, let me know.

end of semester farewell

SOC 101 grads:

"I believe in the mimetic and moral worth of texts that allow my students to rehearse their lives in their imaginations, to know themselves in versions of what they might have been in different times and circumstances and what they desire to be. My work as a teacher is to open these texts, and to make them meaningful and useful to the students who trust themselves to me." -- Robert Fong

From my family to yours, I want to wish you a safe and happy season, and a fruitful education and career. Drop me a line sometime to let me know how you're doing.
Best wishes,
Professor Christa Hughes

Christa reading to her granddaughters, Sept 2012