Complete lecture notes
Lecture notes 03.29.2011
In that scene from pulp fiction, Jules and Vincent were talkinga bout the differences in
hamburger conventions between US and Europe
Europeans use mayo on fries, whereas we use ketchup
o If Vincent were to use his sociological imagination, he would have
questioned why we in America use ketchup and not mayo. Instead, he
just focused on the strangeness of them using mayo. But in fact any
condiment could be viewed as normal in the right cultural setting.
Examining the connection between the society at large. How are we connected to society
We go to school at ucla
Racial and ethnic identity
Names can connect you to a family. Your last name is often the same as other
Speaking a specific language
In general, what we‟re giving examples of is social institituions. Cocial institutions
socialize the people within them. Heres a few more. The legal system, the labor market,
the educational system, the military is known as a total institution. Occupies all time,
norms enforced strictly. The family is another social institution.
More wisdom from c wright mills – neither the life of an individual nor the history of the
society can be understood without understanding both. This is really the connection
between micro and macro level phenomenon. We have to look at both individual
phenomena and broader ones
Micro sociology – understands local interactions. Often we do this by going to the site
we‟re interested, talking to the people who participate there. Sometimes individual
experiences are best learned about through in depth interviews. The individual level
Macro sociology – basically looks at social dynamics across whole societies or large
parts of them. These involve the analysis of very large data sets, statistical data, or
Given a particular topic in sociology, you could approach it with either micro or macro If you were interested in individual peoples‟ motivations to go to collehe, you could
survey various individual college students. Talking to individuals, micro sociology
If you were interested in broad trends in the college process, i.e. historical changes in
percent of gender among graduates, or change in enrollment by race, that yould be macro
Dependin on your specific focus, you would either go in a micro direction or a macro
direction. According to c wright mills, you need to look at both levels. You also need to
develop the facility to be able to go back and forth between the two perspectives.
Lecture slides will be posted on class website 24 hours after lecture.
Procedural stuff on class website. Log in to class website introductory sociology.
Syllabus is on class website.
Textbooks – get the second edition of You may ask yourself. And the other one. Both on
sale at book store and on reserve at powell
Reading should be done prior to lecture. If it doesn’t have an author next to it, its on
the class website under that given week
Discussion sections require in depth work with reading, so bring readings to discussion.
If you‟re new to library research, talk to the professor or the TA about doing research.
Leacture notes 03.31.2011
Socialization – the process whereby people learn and adopt the values and behavioral
standards of their society
Most important aspects of social life are never taught explicitly
Importance of socialization becomes apparent in its absence. Feral children – isolated
rom human contact during the formative years
Jeanie – a special case of a feral child. Locked in a room and tied to a chair for her 13
years of life. When scientists saw her, she couldn‟t talk and had many other strange
In studying her sleep brian waves, they found abnormalities.
Jeanie shows us in an extreme form what happens in the absence of socialization Another case: Dani – discovered in 2005 at age 7. When they went into the house where
she was kept, they found human and animal urine and feces. Cockroaches everywhere,
garbage. In the absence of socialization, the child was unresponsive. She didn‟t respond
to looking at her, talking or touching her. Early relationships help wire the brain, helping
you learn trust, language, communication. After being placed in foster care, she‟s made a
lot of progress
Importance of nurturance and even contact at the bare minimum shown many times in
In an experiment, monkeys prefer a cloth doll over a food dispensing metal doll. The
conclusion is that the monkeys needed nurturance as much as food. For mammals,
nurturance is essential for life. Children need comfort and socialization to become
Why are we discussing feral children? To argue that things that we consider a part of
human nature are actually the outcome of socialization processes. Theyre the outcome of
prolonged interactions with other people on a regularbasis.
However there are limits to socialization. It doesn‟t explain 100% of a persons
Certain biological factors also affect a persons personality development. The questions is
not nature or nurture, but rather both to a certain extent. Sociologists do focus on social
and environmental factors though.
What does this process look like? We have to first develop a sense of self, then we
develop a sense of “other”
Cooley – the looking glass self – one of the earliest theories of self concept development.
1920s. he said we can imagine how we look to other people. We assume the point of
view of others and imagine how those others see us. Gauging other people‟s reactions is
important to us forming our self concept. According to cooley, its important to
understand that your view of yourself is based on how other people see you.
Mead‟s theory – 1930s- a developmental model. (what is a developmental model –
graduating through a hierarchy of stages).
I concept – view of oneself as an agent, a subject
Me concept – view of oneself as an object, being perceived by other people
Other concept – literally other people
Mead says children learn how to recognize others through early vvarieties of play, such
as peekaboo. A child who covers their eyes and says you cant see me doesn‟t understand
the concept of I me other.
Later kids move on to games involving certain clearly defined roles, such as cops and
robbers. Then the roles get more strictly difined, and involve understand how other people are also
fulfilling their roles. Soccer for example requires knowing where team mates are going to
After spefici others, you learn the Generalized Other. This allows you to navigate
situations you‟ve never been in before its your sense of the totality of society and its
The generalized other is what keeps you from singing outloud on the bus. Its how you
know to bring a lap top to class without being told.
Socialization is accomplished through agents of socialization – social institutions such as
school, peer groups, the media. There are some total institutions such as the military.
Depending on your life situation, the relative importance of these factors will vary. As a
young child, most of your socialization comes from family. Then as a child your friends
and school become more important. The agents of socialization most important to your
life will shift as you grow up.
The social construction of reality
Social construction - people give meaning or value to ideas or objects through social
- Its an ongoing process that is embedded in our everyday interactions.
If you see a woman slap a man in the street, you can interpret the situation in various
ways. Based on the other subtle ques that you see, you will create a different narrative. If
you think the man is getting beeat up, you might intervene. Or it might just be a joke.
You have to infer this based on other little things you pick up on. How we interpret such
a thing has important consequences.
People act in accordance with shared meanings, orientations, and assumptions. Reality is
constituted through or interactions with other people.
Symbolic interactionism – reality gets constituted and maintained through our
interactions with other people.
The sociologist Goffman made a dramaturgy mtaphor. He argues that life is like
a dramatic performance. Everyone has different roles. In a lecture hall, you
understand that you‟re supposed to sit quietly, the professor understands shes
supposed to lecture, etc.
Goffman had the idea of front stage and back stage. This can be literal or figurative. Back
stage means private, front stage means public. The fragile nature of reality gets revealed when people break assumptions that we take for granted and that we rely upon for
smooth everyday interactions.
Harold Garfinkel created breaching experiments. He had people purposefully violate
rules or expectations of other people. You bvehave in an abnormal atypical way, to see
how people would react. He is working from a perspective of ethnomethodology.
Garfinkel is arguing that there are certain unwritten rules best discovered by breaking
An example of his experiments: he had his students go home for break and act like guests
in their own home. Instead of acting at home, they would call their parents by their last
names, ask where the bathroom is, don‟t do any chores. Parents got very upset and
Another: elevator behavior. Normal behavior is stepping in, facing forward, not talking
orr getting close to the other people. If you don‟t do this, it really freaks people out.
Humor such as Sacha Baron Cohen rely on breaching social norms, to see how people
How do people respond when you walk too closely to them?
People consistently stopped, got out of the way. When you notice reality getting
disrupted, you try to make up a narrative to explain it, such as thinking the person
is in a big hurry. Then you try to engage them in conversation, asking why, or
possibly getting upset or cursing
Because our reality os socially constructed, an unexpected change can be
upsetting or incomprehensible
We all have a strong personal stake in maintaining shared meanings., so that our
society can continue to function smoothly
Go to discussion next weke, read conley ch 1 and 4. Bring both books to discussion.
Proff black office hours (Haines A58 D. don‟t knock just go right in) Tuesday and
Thursday, also available by appointment.
For the paper – the content currently on the website is the correct and current content.
Paper is due Tuesday may 17. Start of week 8. Its due sooner and a little shorter. 5-7
What exactly do you have to do to write this paper. Over the weekend look through the
syllabus and start thinking of a topic. You can write on any topic in sociology.
By week 2 you want to have selected your topic. If your topic isn‟t on the syllabus, check
in with professor black By week 3-4, start conducting research in the library, start gathering articles.
By week 4-5, do reading, take notes, present a synthetic argument. Give yourself enough
time to read the articles and consider them in relationship to one another
Week 5 – start an outline of your main arguments. Good time to meet with Proff in office
Start thinking about your topic before TA section.
lecture noes 04.05.2011
What is the role of the third person in a group?
A. Mediator – helps solve conflict
B. Tertius Gaudens – the third that rejoices. Benefits from the rif between the first
C. Divide and conquer – rather than jus benefiting, this person actually ries o drive a
rift between the first two members
The basis of SImmel‟s theory – as you add more people geometrically, the number of
possible relationships increases exponentially. Note, not all of these relationships have to
actually exist, they are just possible.
Social network – a collected group of actors – people or corporations or any group –
connected by lines. The lines represent any sort of relationship – friendship, family,
sexual, monetary. The ties between the nodes form the structure of the social network.
You can think of it as a collection of dyads, tied together.
Why are network ties so important? Mark Granovetter – he uses network analysis to
study how people get jobs. He found that people find jobs through personal connections,
information flows through their social networks. Through these networks they get info on
job openings, etc.
Strong ties – ties that are deeply imbedded. They are embedded through indirect
Weak tie – ties that are not deeply embedded. Few indirect paths between the
Granovetter found that surprisingly, people found more jobs through weak ties. It‟s the
people you know casually are the ones that most often help you get your job
This is known as the strength of weak ties. These casual connections are very
important, because someone whos not very close to you might have access to novel
information which you previously lacked.
Weak ties represent opportuneities. Weak ties can form bridges between distant social
groups. Weak ties enable relationships between otherwise separate clusters. 6 degrees of separation – phenomenon that any two people in the world can be
connected through a chain of 6 people.
Duncan watts‟ research is an update of the milgram study, in some important
ways. The mjiglram study relied on ppostal mail for people to work through their six
steps, but Duncan did it vial email, this allows him to have a broader international
The number 6 is only the number of links for the letters that made it. About half of the
letters made it, so about half of people are connected by 6.
In the original, Super-conectors, people with lots of friends, was important in the milgram
study. In the updated Watts research, super-connectors less impt and information more
Network analysis – important implications for sociology and practical applications.
His research form the end of the clip – what makes different songs or music popular – is
it intrinsic quality or is it just the influence of other peoples‟ opinions.
Another important application of network analysis – C Wright Mills talks about a
group called the Power Elite – this is also known as a corporate interlock. When theres
two people or more sitting together on mulitiple corporate boards. The research on
corporate interlocks, or interlocking directorates, finds that industries like banks and
insurance companies have the highest concentration of people sitting on multiple boards
together. 11 of the 15 larges compaaannnies have this.
Why is this problematic – it could hurt competition, create conflicts of interest. You have
a very small group of rich white men making decisions for thousands of companies, and
those companies‟ decisions are affecting consumers here and abroad, all across the world.
The issue of conflict of interest comes up in a number of ways.
This also poses a challenge to the objectivity of scientific research. Before the pharma
companies can sell a drug they need to show research on thesafety and side effects of the
drug. Thus they need funding for research. Whos funding the research influences the
nature of the research. Companies will be reluctant to fund research that says horrible
things about their drugs. Thus corporate interlock can affect our health and other such
Lecture Notes 04.07.2011
Deviance and social control Distribution of Income and the United States in 2011 – data from the vanity fair article
1% of the population controls 25% of income and 40% of wealth. This massive
inequality has been explained by some economists as Marginal Productivity theory. This
is the theory that the people who are rewarded most handsomely are rewarded so because
theyre making the most important contributions and they‟re working the hardest. This
theory is utterly invalid. Why do we hav e such income inewuality? Because the people at
the top, the people with the power to change things, instead choose to perpetuate them.
This inequality underlines the inefficiency in our economy. If our most talented and
bright young people are attracted primarily to the financial sector, a socially useless
sector, we lose talent in other more important less well paid sectors like science and
research and development of new technologies. This is a literal application of the Mathew
effect, the rich getting richer and the poor poorer
Our real topic – deviance and social control
Last time we talked aobut social groups. Groups function smoothly partly because of
apparatus of social control.
Social Deviance – any transgression of socially established norms
Informal deviance – minor transgressions of norms
Formal Deviance – violation of written or otherwise codified aws. Sometimes
Deviance is not always u8nderstood as negative. Its just something that differs from the
We‟ll review today some major theories of deviance
Durkheim‟s functionalist approach – functionalism analyses the society by looking at the
roles and functions of different institutions. He asks questions like, what is the function of
education. They assume everything exists because it serves a function, a social purpose.
A functionalist view of state government assumes governments emerge because people
need someone to make and enforce the laws, fund public schools, etc. DFunctionalism
has been criticized for protecting the status quo. If you assume the only things that exist
are things we need to exist, you will perpetuate established institutions.
An important view of durkheims view on deviance – he though about social cohesion,
the way people form bonds, relate to each other, and get along on a day to day basis. He
viewed Deviance as something that occurs when individuals violate the collective
What are the potential functions of deviance – in some ways, deviance allows us to
innovate. When people break norms, it allows us to redefine our view of what is proper,
leading ttto new perceptions or formsss ooofff behavior… Deviance is functionat in the durkheimian approach because it alolows people to unite
against a common perceived enemy. People can come togwther and revile and oppose
something that violates social norms. It promotes moral unity.
This brings us to one of the paradoxes of sociology: it is the deviants among us who hold
Durkheim applied his ideas of deviance to the act of suicide. When we think of suicide,
we view it as a very personal decision. Reasons could be a mental or chemical imbalance,
a massive personal trauma. Durkheim gives a sociological analysis by arguing that
suicide is a social fact because its an act of social deviance and a product of social forces.
A normative theory of suicide, which relies on two concepts. Social integration, the
degree to which you are tied to your community and social groups, and social regulations,
the degree to which tour daily activities are structured by your social groups, and its
He says, to be at low risk for suicide and other forms of deviance you should be in the
middle on the axes of both social regulation and social integration. Suicide is social
because if yu stray from the center in any direction, you become at greater risk for any
form of deviance
Egoistic suicide – feeling disconnected from your community, lonely. Low
Altruistic suicide – a cult suicide for example you‟re so identified with your
group, and lack identity outside the group. High social integration.
Anomic- your life lacks structure, no predictability, no one expects you to do
anything – low social regulation
Fatalistic – a prisoner, who feels like activities are overstructured, no personal
freedom or variety, nothing to look forward to. High social regulation
We‟ll talk as well about two symbolic interactionist theories of social deviance. Symbolic
individualists zoom in on the individual, and look at how individual actions in a highly
localized context matter. They will ask, how do peoples everyday assumptions, the local
environment, and interactions, create circumstances that make deviance more or less
Broken windows theory – behavior is influenced by how you see your surroundings.
The way you act is different in different situations. Sociologists left two cars, one in Palo
Alto and one in the South Bronx. The one in palo alto was un touched, while the one in
the Bronx was immediately scrapped and vandalized. Then they went back to the one in
palo alto and messed it up a little themselves. They dented it, and graffitied a little. Then
people started coming by that car, int hat safe affluent neighborhood, and fucking up the
car more themselves. If it looks like its ok to vandalize it, people who might otherwise
not vandalize, would try. People see little ques and take their inspiration from it. Labeling theory _ you start internalizing how other people see you. They accept the
label as true, and it becomes the basis for identity. People behave the way they think
someone with their label should behave.
This may be related to the theory of the looking glass self. We look at others for
information about who we are.
Becker is a proponent of this idea. he says that people don‟t ever actually commit crimes
in the sense, they only commit acts that get labeled as crimes.
Acts must be labeled as deviant to be recognized as such. Labeling also creates the
concept of a Deviant, the person who commits deviant acts.
Stanford prison experiment, Philip Zimbardo, 1971
How can we apply labeling theory to this situation? Given their specific labels, they
could start living up to those labels and adapting behaviors they might not otherwise have
enacted. Both prisoners and guards internalized their assigned roles very quickly and
thoroughly. Even though they seemingly knew it was an experiment, through interactions
they re-orriented their sense of reality. Despite it being a pretend prison, it had very
serious psychological roles.
Actual prison systems have varied historically in terms f how the enact punishment on
Foucault onPunishment – discipline and punish, a book in which he describes how
criminal justice has varied historically. He writes about the historical case of a certain
servant who tried to kill Louis 16 at Versailles. When they found out, he was punished
brutally. His body was obliterated, and this was characteristic of 18 century state
sanctions, punishing peoples bodies.
Modern punishment is different. Instead of punishing bodies, we attempt to reform souls.
Examples of this would be giving reduced sentences to prisoners who behave well, or
programs within prisons that educate prisoners. Notable exceptions to this in the modern
penal system include the tortue of political detainees, or the death penalty. Basically we
have a situation where control in modern prisoners is about controlling prisoners time and
regulating their bhevaior.
Bentham‟s Panopticon revolutionized design in current prison system. It‟s a prison that‟s
made of two circles. Theres an inner ring with a guard tower, and the outer ring contains
the cells. This ensures that the guards can always see the prisoners, but the prisoners cant
tell when theyre being watched. They know theres always a possibility of being watched.
In theory, prisoners discipline themselves just in case they‟re being observed.
Foulcault uses the panopticon as a metaphor for social control at large. He says social
control functions because people self regulate, always fearful of being watched. We follow regimens and discipline ourselves because we are potentially under surveillance at
all times. This ranges to all things from going to the dentist or getting to class on time.
4-12-2011 Lecture 5
Gender & Sex
Gender refers to one's legal and cultural status as a woman or a man
for most people, gender corresponds to your sex at birth
Sex refers to biological differences that distinguish males and females
BOTH gender & sex are socially constructed
The Social Construction of Gender
What is assumed to be "natural" is arguably socially constructed
Gender is socially constructed, with binary gender categories in the contemporary
Embodied Differences and Inequalities
Body may differ naturally, but those differences are exaggerated socially
The meanings of those differences are social and cultural
gender differences lead to gender inequalities
West & Zimmerman's "Doing Gender"
Gender is not something you "have", but rather something you DO
Gender is an ongoing accomplishment embedded in everyday interaction
Doing gender reinforces gender dichotomy (either/or)
Doing gender is not optional
Doing gender exaggerates and naturalizes differences between men & women
How did you do gender today?
tone of voice
interacting with others as if the same or a different gender
using gender segregated public restrooms
athletic performance "like a girl"
stance, gait, walk
how you sit
how you allow your body to occupy space
presence/absence/style of facial hair Intersex
General term for a variety of conditions in which anatomy does not fit with
typical description of male or female
Though congenital, intersex anatomy is not always apparent at birth
overall frequency: between 1/4000 and 1/100
hard to put data on it
not everyone who is knows
hard to clearly define
Intersex = Social Construction
Nature gives us spectrums of sexual anatomy
Components of sexual anatomy vary in size, shape, and morphology
Humans take the spectrums given by nature and organize them into categories
Humans use reductionist sex categories to simplify social interactions, express
what we know and feel, and maintain order
Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia
cause of intersex
Frequency: 1 in 5,000
Body cannot produce cortisol
so baby will lose a lot of salt
"salt wasting crisis"
XX female with androgen levels similar to those of normal males
ambiguous external genitalia
female internal genitalia
will be able to reproduce
Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome
may be complete or partial
defective androgen receptor
androgen (male hormones)
CAIS leads to feminized external genitals
PAIS leads to ambiguous genitals
Genetically XY ; undescended testes ; no uterus
breast development at puberty
most don't know until they don't menstruate
a deficiency in an enzyme that enables dev of male external genitalia and
secondary sex characteristics
genetic XY male
phenotypically female at birth
will masculinize at puberty Patient-Centered Care for Intersex Patients
Address problems that threaten health
delay elective surgery
assign a gender
respect parents' concerns
sex categories have changed historically
before enlightenment, we did not have 2 different sexes
we had men and women
but understanding was we have same anatomy
just different versions
The One-Sex Model
1586: on the left, a structure that looks like a penis. on the right, the classical
female form from which this structure is excerpted
women is inverted
A closer look at a portion of this same 1586 image (top) depicts a uterus that
looks much more like a penis than our modern representations. such as
the bottom drawing from 1998 Encyclopedia of Family Health
the way scientists & doctors changed
transition to two sex model was supported by wax models
One Sex Model
male and female anatomies relatively undifferentiated
different versions of the same reproductive organs
Two Sex Model
Women's bodies = deviant and sexualized
Think back to your childhood. Do you remember an aspect of your socialization
that taught you about how to be a girl or a boy?
pink vs. blue
Work on gender socialization of children has emphasized top-down socialization
This framework ignores the powerful role children play as active agents in...
The socialization of other children The creation of their own social worlds
Barrie Thorne's study of how grade school children construct gender
Focuses on group life, not just the unfolding of individuals as boys or girls
Children construct gender differently depending on the special social context
The salience of gender varies
In some situations, gender matters very little
But in other situations, it matters a lot!
6th grader may play with 2nd grader at home but not at school
girl games boy games
boys messing up girls games
kids police gender boundaries for one another
Gender Inequalities in Education
Gender inequality is rampant in schools
Boys & girls are treated differently by teachers, and there are diff expectations for
their behavior & performance
boys got more instructional time & got away with interrupting, etc.
At college level
48.2% of math B.A.s from top U.S. universities in 2000 were women, but
only 8.3% of math faculty were women
women are over rep in traditionally feminine fields
arts & humanities
women are under rep in elite colleges
Women still face many challenges
unequal pay, sexual harassment, sexism, glass ceiling,
Even among adults with strongest attachment to labor force, only 9.6% of
women earn more than $50,000 annually, compared with
44.5% of men
In 2004, median income of FTYR (full time year round) workers was
$40,789 for males and $31,223 for females
women make 23 cents on a dollar less than men
"Glass Ceilings" prevent women from rising to the top of prestigious,
male- dominated occupations
"Glass Escalators" facilitate the promotion of men to leadership positions
in feminized occupations
Opting Out refers to a perceived trend among mostly middle class women
of leaving the workforce to be full time wives and mothers, in
large part cuz of frustrations with the many
obstacles they face on the job and the sense that they
can find fulfillment in the home 4-14-2011 Lecture 6
refers to desire, sexual preference, sexual identity, and behavior
Women's Bodies are Sexualized in the Media
Jean Kilbourne's Kiling Us Softly series surveys the contemporary advertising
landscape to critically examine
(media library in Powell)
To What effect
do corporations and their advertisers use images of girls &
women to sell their products
ads sell more than products
women's body are things
turned into things, objects
creates widespread violence amongst women
Kilbourne's Primary Arguments
Media messages are not natural, inevitable or innocent
Advertisers create the markets they pitch to
Standards of femininity expressed in advertising are deliberate creations that
conform to identifiable patterns
Consequences of Sexualization of Women in Media
Advertising takes agency away from women
Creates problems beyond advertising
Advertising reflects, exacerbates, and exploits deep-seated anxieties about
Advertising can undermine the way people (especially girls and
women)feel about themselves
Advertising normalizes violence done to women by men
happens to males too
A Standardized Look (Men)
Slim yet Muscular
Poses suggest either physical dominance or sexual availability Clean shaven or "designer stubble"
Uniformity of facial features: defined jaw line, full lips, intense eyes, clear skin
A generic look
tells us who and what is sexy
The Charmed Circle
look at Rubin article
we arrange our sexual practices in a hierarchy
Heteronormativity & Heterosexism
assumptions that there are exactly 2 complementary genders (man &
woman) with natural and complementary roles in life; and
that heterosexuality is the normal, default, &
preferable sexual orientation
problem cuz stigmatizes those who do not conform
makes it difficult for them to express themselves
accepted & acceptable
a system of prejudice & discrimination against sexual activities &
relationships that are not heterosexual
beliefs that lgbtq are 2nd class citizens
discrimination in marriage
The Social Construction of "The Homosexual"
Note the distinction between sexual practices & sexual identities
Prior to 1850, there was no such thing as a "homosexual"
there were practices though. not identities
Throughout history, there are records of homosexual practices, but homosexual
identity is relatively recent
Foucault's History of Sexuality
Bodies are influenced by culture
19th century Europe: populations growing, nation-states must regulate & manage
"Bio-power"=social policies & institutions designed to regulate populations
aka bio politics
Discourse arise about how to study & regulate sexuality
Characterization of homosexual as a deviant kind of personhood was reified by
practices like the APA labeling homosexuality as a mental disorder
Point was to identify and control sexual deviance and sexual deviants
an umbrella term for individuals who deviate from gender norms. can include transvestites, cross-dressers, transsexuals, drag queens, drag kings
a term used for an individual who has or will have "sex reassignment" surgery or
will take hormone treatments in order to live full time as a gender
different than the one they were assigned at birth
Labeling: What's at Stake?
a more restrictive term, typically referring to medical treatment
Developed & applied by therapists & medical doctors
A less restrictive term, referring to a wide spectrum of gender ambiguity
Often connotes social movement & political aspects of fluid gender
MTFs & FTMs
MTF: Male-to-female or "transwoman"
can be heterosexual transowoman or lesbian transwoman
cisgender: born into a category you were assigned at birth. you like it so you stuck
FTM: Female-to-male or "transman"
can be heterosexual transman or gay transman
Official Regulations for Gender Transitions
Gender transitions are typically guided by documents called "Standards of Care
for Gender Identity Disorders" (SoC)
The most widespread SoC in this field is published by the World Professional
Association for Transgender Health (WPATH)
Numerous medical boards around the world rely on the WPATH SoC to treat
doesn't pose a threat to society
expensive, emotionally difficult
Therapy: required for at least three months, but official length is at the discretion
of the therapist
Hormones: life-long use of testosterone or estrogen
Real Life Experience
where you actually live at your target gender
recommended for a year
Access to surgical procedures
some people do others don't
Types of Surgery
Electrolysis of the face, hands, chest, back Breast implants
Metoidioplasty or Phalloplasty
How do transgender individuals expose gender as socially constructed?
Transgender bodies do not conform common assumptions about gender
Everyone must "do gender" but the process of learning to do gender is more
visible for transsexuals
Transsexuals are held more accountable for this learning process cuz they are
thought not to have a "natural" claim to their gender
neurobiologist at Stanford
transman who transitioned in 1997
his personal experiences reveal gender inequality in the sciences
still living as a female while going thru undergrad at mit
"Just One of the Guys?"
conducted in-depth interviews with 29 FTMs in SoCal
researched the process of making a gender transition at work
FTM transitions expose gender inequalities in the workplace
many FTMs enjoyed more authority and respect post-transtion, even if
they stayed at the same job
everyone knows they used to be female but they were treated differently. better.
Male privilege was not distributed evenly
Tall, heterosexual, white FTMs received more benefits than FTMs who
were short, gay, or people of color
Sociology 1 Lecture Notes 04.19.2011
Mitdterm exam coming up on Thursday week 5. April 28 th
A good way to start preparing for it is to start reviewing lecture notes, and
the points where the lecture overlaps with the reading. Last week we discussed the concept of social location.
Today‟s lecture will focus on class and stratification
We can start with asking for a definition of stratification: acc Conley,
Systematic inequalities between groups of peoplethat arise as intended or
unintended consequences of social processes and relationships.
Systems of stratifications tend to be reproduced by beliefs that are widely
shared by many members of the society. In a stratified society people at the
top have much greater access to resources than do people at the bottom. In
US the top 1% of the population is controlling a disproportionate amount of
If we observe that society is unequal, this begs the question, unequal by
what measure? Assuming we want equality, what kind of equality do we
want and what do we mean by equality. Conley discusses several standards
1. Ontological equality – the idea that everyone is created equal in the eyes of
god. This is often used to justify and support material inequalities. “It
doesn‟t matter if ur rich or poor cause god sees everyone as the same”.
2. Equality of Opportunity – the idea tat the same rules apply to everyone and
everyone will be judged by the same standard. Inequality is acceptable if
we all have the same opportunities for advancement. For example, we
accept that in Monopoly, someone is going to end up with more, but its ok
because everyone had the same chances to succeed. Some people have
better skill/luck, and this justifies inequalities.
3. Equality of condition – Everyone should have an equal starting point. Since
people typically don‟t have the same playing field to start with, we need
programs to counter these preexisting inequalities. An example of sucha
policy is Affirmitive Action
4. Equality of Outcome – everyone should end up the same. Regardless of
opportunities, skills, different starting points, everyone should end up
equal. “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs”
Karl Marx. If you have a system organized to ensure equality of outcome,
there‟s no incentive to strive or work hard. This is called the free rider
These are our different standards of equality. SO when inequality does
characterize a society, it too can take a variety of forms. We can have
different bases for stratification 1. The estate system – a political basis. Resources are unequally distributed
based on things like laws based on proprety rights and power being divided
unequally. Midieval Europe
2. Caste system – A religious basis. Like the estate but its religious in nature
a. In these two, there is no social mobility. You can‟t move from one stratum
3. Class system – (usually) an economic basis. Sociologists disagree about
what class means. Unlike the estate and caste system, this is not a clear cut
system. There are rarely sharp lines between classes. Controversies in
a. What the categories are
b. Where to draw the lines
c. Who is in what category
d. Sociologists disagree about the extent to which class is economic in base.
Under a class system, social mobility is at least theoretically possible
Karl Marx – thinks about class in economic terms. His class categories are
relational. People have different relationships to the means of production,
and that‟s how class arises. Some people own the means of production,
such as land and factories, and some people sell their labor. Acc Marx, you
share economic interests with people in your class. You amy not realize it
but you do. Your economic interests actually stand in opposition to people
in other classes. This ties in with conflict theory. For Marx there are two
classes, the proletariat (worker) and the bourgeoisie (capitalists). For Marx,
class is not a dollar amount, its ab out a roll in an economic system. There
could be a rich proletariat or a poor capitalist. If you‟;re rich, if you got rich
by earning high wages, you‟re still proletariat. Marx‟s model may seem
inadequate for addressing the complexities of modern capitalism.
Erik Olin: Some people can occupy positions in between these class
locations. For example, a middle manager sells his labor, doesn‟t own
means of production, earns a wage. In this respect, he is a proletariat.
However, he also dominates his workers, and he extracts value from the
work of his underlings. In this respect, he‟s bourgeoisie. SO he falls in
between. Or a Mechanic who owns his own shop but has no employees. He
owns the means of production but doesn‟t extract the value from any
People can fall in between class locations.
Have multiple class locations, if you have two jobs
Have a mediated class position. The class position of each family
member affect one another.
Temporally distinct class locations. You might be being groomed to
be an upper level manager, but they have you work the floor for a few
years. Other Sociologists like Pierre Bourdieu emphasize aesthetic taste, culture,
and preferences, in making up class. These preferences are influenced by
people‟s differing economic means. People express their class position by
expressing their own distinct tastes. Your preferences start to feel like
second nature, they are acquired at an early age. You gain a preference for
certain sports, music, cultural forms. You constantly display these
preferences, and this helps you show your distinct class position. Bourdieu
argues that the tastes that you learn from your family correlate to income.
A stratification based on social prestige. What society as a whole thinks
about a given lifestyle or the community to which a given person belongs.
How prestigious is it?
People with the same status can have different incomes. However, they all
participate in a lifestyle, and they all get similar amounts of prestige.
Status tends to be very finely gradated, many many layers of
stratification.Theres lot‟s of social mobility in the status hierarchy system.
Sociologists have looked at occupational prestige and occupational status,.
The model has tended to focus on gathering public perceptions of the
prestige of certain careers. The Duncan Scale, ranging from 0 – 96, surveys
people and asks how prestige they think certain occupations are. A finding:
the prestige of a job has more to do with the education and credentials
required to do it, rather than income.
How is America stratified today? SES, socio-economic states, refers to
position in a stratified social order as determined by any numbers of
measures, including income, wealth, occupation, or education.
Fuzzy categories with contested boundaries.
What Social class are you? And how do you know?
Conspicuous consumption – wealthy people can afford unusual and
extravagant modes of consumption
Thorstein Vebeln – extravagant spending on goods and services as a
demonstration of wealth and income, display of wealth to attain or maintain
social status. Spending money just to show others that wou have it.
Robert Frank studies excessive consumption, which he terms “luxury
Why is this of concern to us? Is luxury spending even a problem?
Yes. Robert Frank points out that even though these purposes give you a
nice rush, but they don‟t increase your utility over time. He draws on
psychological research, showin g that as society becomes more and more
wealthy, society‟s level of subjective happiness remains the same. Even as
you‟re getting more of the stuff you want, you don‟t feel better. How can it be that if you can get the goods you want, you don’t feel
Frank argues that people adjust to higher standards of living quickly.
This raises the question, if the pursuit if material wealth beyond a certain
point does not lead to greater happiness, why do people continue to seek
more and better things.
Studies show that people choose the option that is framed as safe and sure.
IF you frame things in terms of loss, people become very loss-averse. We
noted that increases in standards of living don‟t make people happy.
However, people are very loss averse, and they hate the idea of moving
downward. You always dread a decline in your standard of living.
Competition and Seratonin
Because people fear a decline inn their standard of living, this leads to very
competitive modes of spending. Competitive spending can lead to a
misallocation of resources and human labor.
Frank asks, if there‟s so many problems, why do we even compete.
For this he turns to studies of primates and brain chemistry. He points to
data to understand why people engage in competitive spending, the
findings of monkeys show that the monkeys who compete and succeed
have higher levels of serotonin. This is associated with feelings of pleasure
and contentment. This suggests that physiologically good to be high status.
People compete because when they win their serotonin spikes and they feel
good. Competitive displays of status feels physiologically good.
Essman – “America is a middle class nation” When surveyed,
overwhelming amounts of Americas believe themselves to be middle class.
It‟s how Americans think of themselves. Theres a huge variety within the
class, but we all feel middle class.
A few historical trends have confounded these distinctions. Earlier in the
20 century there was a sharper divide between people, between the white
collar office workers and manual laborers. Several trends have eroded these
Post WWII economic boom increased the prosperity of working class
people. They could buy homes and send their kids to college. They could
do things that look middle class
Rise of the low wage service sector. You‟re working in a clean office, you
dress nice, but it‟s low pay, heavily routinized, requires little education, etc. Bifurcation of American job market – vast majority of new jobs are either
high skill high pay, or low skill low pay. This makes the value of your B.A.
increase. With higher education you‟re qualified for high skill high pay
Thursday of week 5. Whole class period to work on it.
30 multiple choice, 5 choices each. Scantrons providedjust bring
a pencil and a pen.\
2 short essays, one side of paper each
Focus on lecture slides that also showed up in readings.
You will know the essay prompts ahead of time. They will be drawn
from discussions in TA sections. You will be given 4 questions, and 2
will be on the test.
Sociology 1 Lecture Notes 04.21.2011
How to get articles in the library
1. Consider what is interesting to you about the subject. Good thing is there‟s a
sociological aspect to anything you‟re interested in
2. Library web page
a. Search and find – catalogue
i. Use advanced search “sociolog?”
3. Article data base – journal articles
a. For this assignment needs scholarly sources – peer reviewed
b. Search and find – data bases
i. Data bases by subject
Culture of Poverty
Theory that poor people adopt practices that are distinct from middle class
These practices help the poor survive in difficult economic times
o These practices are adaptive, in that they do it to helpt hem survive
o However, these practices can become detrimental, and often these
practices are not stopped being practiced by the poor people even after
they become detrimental
Perverse incentives – reward structures that lead to undesirable outcomes by
encouraging counterproductive behavior, which is to say by keeping them on
welfare they don‟t seek work Culture of poverty theory has been used to blame the poor for their circumstances
Banfields the unheavenly city – poor trapped in their lives because its their fault
and they do dumb things, like not save mone
However this argument is an example of circular logic.
A theory that goes one step further
Idea of the underclass – poor are different from the mainstream, unable o
take advantage of what society has to argue, to the extent of being deviant
and dangerous to the rest of us – Ken Auletta
Charles Murray responds – poor respond same way to economic
incentives like everyone else. He still disagrees with generous welfare
William Julius Wilson suggests an important alternative argument
o He suggests that we look at a much broader range of structural changes in
US in the world, contributing to poverty
Many processes responsible for destroying labor
opportunities for poor people
Wilson also argues this leads to a dearth of employed men
for women to marry. Wrecking the marriage market
o Making it hard for poor people to create
economically stable families
Wilson‟s research prompted an important shift in how researchers approach
o Now people focus on structural reasons why people have trouble moving
from welfare to work
o Policies have focused on “making work pay”
o Shift towards removing some of the perverse incentives. Making welfare
not infinite, rather on a time limit
Important question – cause or consequence
o Do things like crime, low educational attainment, divorce, lead to poverty,
or result form it?
o Is poverty a cause or a consequence of social problems
Leave you with a question – how can we as a society help the poor without
creating perverse incentives
Absolute poverty – point at which household income no longer sufficient to
provide food for household members
o However this could be different in different places, due to different cost of
People have suggested alternatives – relative poverty
Midterm Thursday, april 28
Includes material up to and including next Tuesdays lecture – race and ethnicity
30ish multiple choice, 2 short essays
o Essays are a side of a page each.
Essay topics – 4 possibilities, 2 will be on there
1. Functionalism and Conflict theory. How would the two differ in their
understanding of inequality
2. What is the panopticon?
3. Cultural meaning of marriage in Hull‟s study
4. According to Gans, what are the uses of the underclass in America
Sociology 1 Lecture Notes 04.26.2011
Lecture content will be on exam, but the corresponding
reading will not.
Race is a social construct that changes across time and
across different contexts
Sometimes our conception of race involves phenotypes –
outward physical appearance
However, genetically speaking, Humans are almost
identical with one another, compared to other species.
However, race is meaningful on a social level
There have been many historical efforts to explain race, and
many of these efforts were biased. Scientists were dressing
up their prejudices in the mantles of science.
Darwin is an example of such a racist scientist. He had a
theory of natural selection. Racist 19 century scientists
mis-appropriated his ideas too create social Darwinism.
This is the idea that certain groups of people were more fit
for survival, and naturally superior.
Eugenics – pseudoscience of examining genetic lines and
inheritable traits to selectively breed more desirable traits
into society, and eliminate the undesirable traits. The
problem for eugenics is that it‟s hard to find a biological
basis for the qualities they were trying to find. It‟s hard to
draw sharp lines.
Race as a Social construct Race categorization changes over time. Prior to the year
2000, you did not have the option of selecting multiple
races on the census. Now, government forms reflect the
idea that you can have multiple racial identities.
Racial categories have flexible boundaries. There is no
enduring or universal boundary line for races.
Racialization – how other people perceive you can be very
meaningful for how you experience the realities of race.
We can consider the example of arabs and muslims in the
united states today. Arab is generally understood as an
ethnicity, while muslim is a religion. Despite the diversity
between arabs and muslims, in many ways the two terms
are conflated. People perceive the two as the same. Thus
arabs and muslims experienced racialization, the formation
of a new racial identity in which new ideological
boundaries of difference are drawn around a formerly
unnoticed group of people.
For example, muslims and arabs are mistakenly
associated with 9/11 and hence discriminated against.
Race and Ethnicity
Race is often externally imposed, with categories based on
perceived physical differences, and hierarchical.
Ethnicity is more often embraced by group members from
within. Its often connected with things like culture,
language, and nationality, and not as closely associated
with power differences. Ethnicity experience can be
variable. For example, German Americans don‟t all get
together and speak german. However, ethnicity can be a
very cohesive salient experience.
Sometimes, ethnic identities can become racialized,
when it is subsumed under a forced label, a racial marker,
and the idea of “otherness”.
Symbolic Ethnicity – ethnic identity that is individualistic
in nature and does not pose real social cost for the
individual who chooses to adopt it. Mostly a way for
Caucasian Americans to explore the experience of ethnicity
in a low cost low risk manner.
Research from Jennifer Lee – the diversity paradox Pay attention to Jennifer Lee because theres an exam
Racialization and race relations – Concept of race
has changed a lot what with new immigrants.
Previously the scholarship was framed in a
black/white way, but now there‟s Asians and
latinos. We have an enormous population boom of
brown people, complicating the color line. In
certain metro areas, latinos outnumber blacks as the
biggest minorities. Rising rates of intermarriang
Hart-seller act – its intention was to increase family
members and people with professional skills into
the united states. What people didn‟t anticipate was
that Asians would mostly use this to come to
America. It also opened the doors to professionals
that were sorely needed like doctors and engineers.
It also opened the door for Mexicans, some
authorized, some not. Today, 80% of the immigrant
stream is from asia and latin America
Consequence of this pluralism- its changing our
ideas of what race means. Black and white had been
the diametrically opposed categories. Now, people
are aski9ng if Asians and lations are closer to
Europeans‟ experience in the past, or are they
becoming more racialized, and facing the same
obstacles black people did.
o Thus, is race becoming less important, or is
it just changing
Scholars such as Andrew hacker, argue that there is
always a binary division. He points to research
showing that darker latinos have a „black‟
experience, while paler ones have a white
Lee is asking if we‟re moving into a white/non
white divide, or a black/non black divide. Lee is in
favor of the black / not black divide. Looking at
rates of education and whatnot, immigrants‟
problems stem from their status as recent
immigrants, and compared to blacks, Asians and
latinos improve quickly over subsequent
Asians and Latinos are not becoming white, but
their ethnicities are becoming more symbolic
ethnicities. A caveat, the darker latinos can have a
black experience In a number of ways, todays immigrants are doing
much better than immigrants from the early 20 th
centuries. Theres a huge amount of progress. When
European immigration stopped in the 20s, there was
not a new flux of immigrants to keep refreshing the
idea that these groups were different from native
born white Americans. Because Asians and latinos
keep coming, these groups do not assimilate. The
flux of immigrants keeps refreshing the idea that
these groups are other
Is a tri-racial race divide plausible? Yes, but what‟s
more troubling is the huge gap between blacks and
Black immigration – they are complicating the idea