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SOCI 3060 Winter Exam Study Notes

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SOCI 3060
Natalie Weiser

1 SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY IMPORTANT CONCEPTS AND NOTES FROM THE ARTICLES LECTURE 1 - Identity Multidimensionality 1)identity is who we are in relation to the other people we interact with -the names we call ourselves-our idea of who we are in the world -a social process 2)there are three different forms of identity (a spectrum of identities): -SITUATED identity: lasts for the duration of the situation in which the role is locat- ed; context dependent; example being ‘pitcher/catcher’ -2 related concepts: ANNOUNCEMENTS and PLACEMENTS; cues that others can use to interpret the role you are trying to enact ; taking those announcements and placing them in roles by defining those behaviors; an- nouncements and placements must match for interaction for continue smoothly -SOCIAL identity: identify with others who are perceived as being like oneself; basis of identity is membership or identification with a community/social group; sense of differentiation from others; example being ‘athlete’ -PERSONAL identity: focus is on an individual’s life story; uniqueness and differ- ence; example being your name 3)the term ‘identity’ is like the self as being a process -our identity is always being developed and is never a final product 4)MULTIDIMENSIONALITY: we posses multiple identities simultaneously and they are always in flux; changing and evolving based on context -qualitative research demonstrates that identities are multifaceted, complex and fluid 5)INTERSECTIONALITY: our multiple identities often intersect -they interact and operate all at once -Brekhus reading demonstrates that we carry so many identities that we are unlikely to have a ‘master status’ 6)IDENTITY STRATEGIES: 3 Types of Ideal Identities -highlights the fluidity of identities -IDENTITY LIFESTYLERS: organize their lives around a particular identity -IDENTITY COMMUTERS: travel to a specific place to immerse oneself in an identity -IDENTITY INTEGRATOR: able to see oneself as defined by multiple identities simul- taneously Notes/ Key Concepts of Lecture 1 Readings “Trends in the Qualitative Studies of Social Identities” Wayne H. Brekhus 2 -the Brekhus reading “examines identity strategies, claims to identity authenticity [being vs. do- ing], identity shifts and transitions, and the contextual situatedness and multidimensionality of self-identities” -one has an identity, one is situated in social relations; identity is established when others place the individual as a social object by assigning [them] the same words of identity as they appropri- ate of announce for themselves. -identity is one of the most extensively studied topics in sociology MULTIDIMENSIONALITY -identity is complex and multifaceted; sociologists interested in studying the the complexity, mul- tidimensionality and FLUIDITY of identity -social networks, significant others, and generalized others influence our self-identities and lead to a self that is pulled in multiple directions; there is no anchored or ‘core’ self (multidimensional- ity) -qualitative sociological analysis has taken an interest in politically salient identity attributes such as race, class, and gender and on how these attributes shape individual identity -STANDPOINT THEORY: challenges the generic implicitly unraced, ungendered, un- classed ‘everyman’ implied in the early interactionist theories of Cooley, Mead, and Blumer; self-identities are demographically structured based on the social categories individuals belong (race, class, gender, etc...) to and on how the relations of those categories to other categories shape their experiences and therefore their social stand- point and worldview -it is not only stigmatized identity that must be negotiated and analyzed but privilege that must be managed and analyzed as well (i.e. white/male/heterosexual privilege) -the intersectionality approach note that individuals have multiple intersecting social and identity attributes that comprise self-identity -marked identities like race, ethnicity, class, gender and sexuality are often assumed to be a ‘master status’, whereas intersectionality research shows that identity influenced by multiple at- tributes -”the modern self is comprised of so many memberships that no single identity membership is more likely to comprise a large percentage of a person’s overall self.” (1064) -the problematization of authenticity to one’s category identity and to one’s own self-identity -person identities (self) are based on internalized personality characteristics whereas so- cial identities (category) are related to group or category memberships -authenticity is a key place for ‘identity disputes’ or struggles; the tension between ‘being’ and ‘doing’ -“Modern approaches to identity highlight a shift from static notion of being and the self to a more fluid notion of doings... not[ing] the distinction between between attributions to person and attribution to situation.” (1066) 3 -“In the past, analysts have favored ‘being’ claims over ‘doing’ claims... recent... turns in identity studies may lead to a greater privileging of ‘works’, ‘acts’, and ‘performances’...” (1072) -auxiliary characteristics are those that are adopted and expected to go along with a given identity or role (contextual) -‘authenticity work’ involves showing that one is true to one’s identity category and/or true to oneself, often simultaneously; requires maintaining a consistent set of values across different contexts even though the self is not static -IDENTITY STRATEGIES: ways of seeking authenticity: identity lifestylers, identity commuters, and identity integrators: -identity lifestylers choose a particular identity and organize their lives, activities, auxil- iary characteristics, and social networks around that identity as their ‘essence’; they stay true to their category and thus stay true to themselves -recent work on identity shows that identity and authenticity are context and setting dependent; people use time and space to accentuate and express their identity -identity commuters travel to identity-specific spaces to immerse themselves in a subcul- ture; they are committed to taking on an identity in its most ‘pure’ and authentic form -identity integrators sees themselves as defined by a ‘constellation’ of attributes and characteristics at once and rejects a singular identity approach -DISCONTINUITIES between the past and present, where an individual’s identity changes over time but isn’t necessarily an abrupt change between one identity and another -abrupt discontinuities include watershed moments, crossroads, turning points, revela- tions, rites of passage, transformations, and conversions -the individual may want to ‘reset the odometer’ and claim and new self-identity altogether, creat- ing a rigid split between past and present self -a recovery identity indicates a move from a disordered label (like ‘alcoholic’ or ‘addict’) to a tem- porary recovery identity as a middle point between disordered and transcendent identities -other temporary identities are ‘time outers’, who choose to temporarily abstain from something; ‘waiters’, who intend not to abstain but do until that point; and ‘quitters’, who permanently transi- tion from ‘doing’ to abstaining -“The growing emphasis on MOBILITY in identity studies show that identity, its authenticity ... are fluid and context dependent.” (1071) Social Identity excerpts by Richard Jenkins -all human identities are by definition social identities -“Identifying ourselves or others is a matter of meaning, and meaning always involves interac- tion: agreement and disagreement, convention and innovation, communication and negotiation.” (4) -“identity can only be understood as process, a ‘being’ or ‘becoming’. One’s identity - one’s iden- tities, indeed, for who we are is always singular and plural - is never a final or settled matter.” (5) 4 -IDENTITY: a matter of knowing who’s who; the systematic establishment and signifi- cation, between individuals and collectivities, or relationships of similarity and -our under- standing of who we are and of who other people are, and reciprocally, other people’s un- derstanding of themselves and their understandings of others -the outcome of agreement and disagreement; not fixed -IDENTIFICATION: can be defined minimally as the ways in which individuals and collectivities are distinguished in their social relations with other individuals ancollec- tivities -a game of playing ‘ face to face’; comparing -when of the first things we do when meeting a stranger is attempt to identify them - relying on information like clothing language, and embodiment (ANNOUNCEMENTS) -we work at presenting ourselves so that others will work out who we are along the lines we wish them to (PLACEMENTS) -we can’t live routine human lives without identification, without knowing - and sometimes puz- zling about - who we are and who others are -without repertoires of identification we would not be able to relate to each other meaningfully of consistently -“INDIVIDUALS are unique and variable, but selfhood is thoroughly socially constructed: in the processes of primary and subsequent socialization, and in the ongoing interaction during which individuals define and redefine themselves and others throughout their lives.” (18) -it is not enough to assert an identity; that identity must also be validated (or not) by those with whom we have dealings (ANNOUNCEMENTS/PLACEMENTS) LECTURE 2 - Race & Ethnicity: Researching Identities 1)“common sense” definitions about race categorize people by their physical attributes and ‘marked’ traits; see race as biological -sociological view of race: sociologists see race as social classifications and not biological cate- gories -there are physical and biological differences, but the way that we account for those differences changes based on context (societal, political, historical, social) -there isn’t a universal way to classify biological difference, which makes race a social construction; we choose to categorize people the way we do 2)although race is a social construction, the idea of race is real, therefore the actions invoked through the use of that idea are also real (definition of the situation) 5 -race is not biological but the idea has material consequences -sociologists are interested in what it is that people believe -symbolic interactionism looks at how perception and labels produce prejudice 3)LABELS and racialization: lead people to look at members of a group as if they were all alike; seeing certain aspects and ignoring others -prejudice is a learned behavior; an adopted attitude -how do we negotiate the idea that race is an illusion while dealing with the real consequences of the “common sense” belief that race is biological? 4)debate over whether social scientists should use “race” as an analytical concept if it is not real... -Omi and Winant argue that YES we should because we people continue to use race to classify people and to interpret their behavior; it is difficult to abandon beliefs central to one’s identity or sense of self -Miles and Torres argue that NO we shouldn’t because it legitimizes the idea that biological races exist and reinforces “common sense” beliefs rather than challenges them; rather than study race, we should study racism and racialization (socially derived processes) 5)if race isn’t real, how do we study racial/ethnic identities? -what if you need to categorize people for the purposes of your study? -symbolic interactionist approaches to studying race can help expose the ways that race is shaped by social context, relationships and interaction patterns -qualitative research from an SI perspective focuses on the FLUIDITY of racial and ethnic identi- ties; racial identity as performance; doing vs. being -SI interested in everyday life and how our interactions shape identity - assessing race and the way we create it -race (and class, gender, etc...) is socially constructed and socially situated 6)RESEARCHING RACE: if race is socially situated, the research process itself is a site where racial identities are constructed -racial identities of both the researcher and the subject are created, managed and negotiated during qualitative research (interviews,, ethnography, P.O.) -how do the social interactions that occur during the process create or re-enforce race? -symbolic interactionism emphasizes the definition of the situation or the ways that individuals give meaning to their identities and the identities of others Notes/ Key Concepts of Lecture 2 Readings “Researching Race: Identifying a Social Construction through Qualitative Methods and an Interactionist Perspective” Edward W. Morris -what is the relationship between race and qualitative methods/ methodology? 6 -Morris argues that researchers are continuing to use race as a concept without critically as- sessing its social origin -investigates how race is determined in qualitative studies and the weaknesses of each ap- proach - researcher described appearance and participant self identification: 1)RESEARCHER DESCRIBES APPEARANCE OF PARTICIPANTS -the notion of race is not defined by those who will be studied but the researcher relies on pre- vailing racial definitions as defined by powerful institutions - like census data, newspaper reports and school records -researchers typically couple dominant views with the their own understandings of that racial group based on their own past experience -researcher’s may rely on their own interpretation of how physical characteristics translate into race and don’t describe it as an act of interpretation - race becomes what someone is without further elaboration -studies based on observation of appearance alone also privilege the researcher’s perspective on race; the racial label might not match what that person considers their race to be or how they construct their racial identity -longer term ethnographies allow fieldworkers to gain a fuller understanding of the meanings of race in the context they are studying; they work best in identifying race based on insider mean- ings and tracing how ideas about race emerge through ongoing interaction 2)PARTICIPANT SELF-IDENTIFICATION -like categorizing people based on appearance in fieldwork - issues arise when asking people to name their own racial identity in a qualitative interview (or a survey) -race, when defined by the respondent, can be confined to an individual, psychological attribute without any context and not assessed in terms of ongoing social interaction -race then takes on the properties of an independent variable, entered into the analy- sis to see if it has an “effect” -self reporting can make race seem like something people “have” that causes them to interact in a certain way, rather than something produced and maintained by those interactions -this can extract race from context and other categories of difference that influence meaning (intersectionality) -self identity alone fails to describe how others view that person in terms of their race, removing race from the social context that gives it meaning -a crucial part of understanding the impact of race are the perceptions of others in that individual’s social setting - it illustrates how that individual’s physical features influence their interactions -both methods for determining racial background in qualitative research are not sufficient on their own or for capturing the concept of race 3) SOLUTION - A MIXED METHOD APPROACH 7 -“So how do we research race in a way that guards against reifying this social construction while still identifying social background and exploring its impacts?” (421) -first, the researcher should acknowledge how they chose to identify race no approach should be employed as if they represent race in full, but acknowledged as only re- flecting a certain angle on race -second, researchers should pay attention to racialized contexts, and how people speak and en- act race in those contexts -race could be considered a product of interactional negotiation rather than a char- acteristic when physical features are ambiguous -where physical features are less ambiguous, race could be described as an at- tribute and has come to characterize stable patterns of interaction and identity -researchers should acknowledge that when race appears simple and static, it is because peo- ple reaffirm it in a consistent way, not because it inheres in them as an essential quality -the goal should not be to uncover the truth of each person’s race but to try to understand race from as many angles as possible -by reflecting critically on this process, researchers can acknowledge and explore the socially situated basis for race and racial meanings in all contexts “Doing Race in the Context of Feminist Interviewing: Constructing Whiteness Through Talk” Amy L. Best -the researcher and the researched, as they both construct their symbolic worlds through talk of it, rely on taken-for-granted notions of what whiteness means and in doing so, embed these no- tions within the research encounters -as researchers research, they are also actively involved in “doing race” -contemporary researchers realize the the importance of close analyses of the social relations of research of itself; research is defined as a socially organized experience -Best seeks to give particular attention to the interactional work of whiteness (as a White wom- an), and the shifting territory across which our identities as racial insiders/outsiders are con- structed -the researcher is able to conclude that fieldwork (qualitative interviews) serve as a meaningful context through which race meanings are constructed -she asks: what are the processes through which those under study act as racial meaning mak- ers within the context of research? and how does the researcher also participate in this mean- ing-making process a they undertake qualitative research work (using the example of high school proms) -a researcher’s biography (including race, nationality, class, age, gender) is important to re- search within the field but also in shaping the the interpretative and theoretical claims we make after we leave the field -therefore the position of the researcher is one of power within the field 8 -these discussions about power have moved in two directions; one has centered on the research context - what happens when collecting empirical data and interviewing participants about the minutiae of their lives and forging connections with them; the second has been concerned with the period after the researcher leaves the field and tries to make sense of the material they have collected - coding and analyzing -why are researchers authorized and privileged to construct accounts of often subor- dinated groups?; Best is concerned mainly with the first question of what occurs the in re- search context -Best asks ‘How does whiteness emerge and inform the structure of interview talk’? -she resists relying on fixed categorical designations or race and instead focuses of how race categories are an emergent feature of ongoing social interaction and interviewing -the racial self is treated as an everyday phenomenon that is accomplished (a “per- formance”) through interactional routines defining the research encounter -whiteness can then be seen as an ongoing interactional achievement and not an attribute or essential property -in keeping with an ethnomethodological approach, we can think of racial identity as product of situated conduct/identity -first, the researcher is able to reflect on the ways they use racial repertoires, and acts as a social agent active in the construction of a racialized social order -second, this approach focuses on the social mechanics by which racial categories be- come salient to the ways researchers and participants narrate, account for and make sense of everyday life -whiteness is a socially embedded construct: “whiteness is a social location of structural advan- tage... a ‘standpoint’, a place from which white people look at ourselves, at others and at soci- ety... ‘whiteness’ refers to a set of cultural practices that are unusually unmarked and unnamed.” (898); whiteness, then, is just like any other racial construct... relationally and culturally situated -SO, how does research itself emerge as a key interactional moment wherein racial identities and inequalities are managed, reproduced or even threatened? How does whiteness as it is constructed through fieldwork shape and/or constrain the research process? How do we operate within or around these symbolic practices? -Best analytically separates race from other social relations like age, class, sexuality and gender even though she sees race as entangled with these other relations in all levels of social life (in- tersectionality) -drawing from an in-depth and ethnographic interview conducted as a White researcher to demonstrate how whiteness as a cultural practice is negotiated and articulated within the context or research - making visible the ways White researchers are drawn into relations of whiteness as they conduct their research 9 -two different interviews: one in-depth with two high school students - an African American and Latina high school - after their prom; and one informal interview with a White saleswoman in a dress boutique where many girls in the community had bought their dresses INTERVIEW ONE -First, Best found that the interview about the prom with two students produced a richly textured dialogue that became the basis of a lengthy analysis on race and the social organization of the prom -a pattern of their talk emerged that appeared to involve a careful shaping and reworking of their narrative; paraphrasing their conversations and bracketing/translating (the slang of) their stories by organizing and reorganizing their syntax to guide how Best hear their stories and perhaps alerting her of the gulf between them -use of ‘here’, ‘we’, ‘you know what I’m saying’ and slang re-enforces insider/outsider dynamic -Best felt a sense of concern over the racial organization of their talk and what it would mean for her interpretive claims; the two young women had struggled to talk across race because they knew that different ways of listening can be traced to social location -the students assumed that Best would not understand what they were trying to say and that “women of color must... adjust their speech when talking with White women to be understood...” (902) -the girls still made an effort to convey their story, perhaps because, the researcher would ulti- mately be the one translating and then inscribing their experiences, telling about their symbolic world to others presumably more like the researcher than like them -if language, in its ordinary uses, performs or produces the actions or subjects that it claims to describe, then interview are as much social relations as they are research relations; and the girls’ acts of translation were a way to solidify the racial (and age) identities and to remind me of my own (White woman, 10 years older) -reflecting back on the interview, Best realizes that she played the role of the ‘novice’; as though all the information she was hearing was new to her -this positioned her as an outsider -the novice role, realized through talk, affirmed a set of racial dynamics rooted in “differ- ence”, widening the distance between them and cementing racial identities -the girls read playing the novice as an expression of “whiteness” INTERVIEW TWO -Best then interviewed a White saleswoman named Mary in a dress boutique that was close to her own age; whiteness also visibly emerged in this context -many young women from the school bought their prom dresses at the store and the researcher began to ask some questions about the store’s customer base; indirectly asking questions about race -when asked directly about the race of customers she became indignant and said she “refused to participate in “racial stereotyping” (905); Best seemed to have crossed the line in asking 10 -Best felt defensive and annoyed at being accused of racial stereotyping before realizing what the real problem with the interview had been that two different definition of whiteness had collid- ed within the interview. -“Both of us struggled, although differently, around what it meant for us as two White women to authorize ourselves to speak about race. Importantly, for her to speak about race meant speak- ing about ‘others’ and not about herself.” (905) -she operated within an entirely different understanding of race and racism than Best; to elabo- rate on the fact that she noticed “race” difference in store clientele would require an admission that she “sees” race -as a White woman who thinks of herself a not being racist, “seeing” race is a contra- diction to how she defines herself as a White woman -problems with Mary arose when Best never critically examined or problematized how she used and performed her “White” identity in the context of White-on-White interviews -she had made problematic her whiteness in the context of her mixed-race interviews but had assumed that she would have an easy rapport with Mary, quickly and mistakenly moving into questions about race because she assumed Mary would identify with their shared white- ness -Best’s interactional part did not fit the interactional part Mary actually performed and the the in- teraction broke down as a result SOLUTIONS: ON CONSTRUCTING WHITENESS -what strategies could Best have used to move across these different articulations of ‘whiteness’? -use stories about her own whiteness as a strategy to facilitate more frank discussions about race; giving “permission” to other White women to talk about the ways in which they had come to internalize racism -the interview is a setting that introduces “counter narratives of whiteness [that] give respon- dents the opportunity to rethink white scripts, those unquestioned assumptions about race.” (907) -part of the task for the qualitative researcher is an active attention to the contextual organization of racial identities and racialized talk; understanding that as we do research, we are also doing race -the insider/outsider relationship is a fragile one, subject to change as the topic of talk shift; re- searchers may be both at once and must be attentive to the shifting positions they occupy and the role context plays in these shifts “The Ambiguity of Boundaries in Fieldwork Experience: Establishing Rapport and Nego- tiating Insider/Outsider Status” Bahira Sherif -Sherif’s article is an account of the issues she had establishing rapport and negotiating bound- aries as a partial insider in a non-Western (Egypt) setting 11 -the ethnographer’s notions of self intersect with those of the people being studied in multiple ways; the formulation of knowledge and its interpretation are affected -”taken-for granted assumptions about the ways in which researchers produce and write authori- tative texts are being debated, examined, and experimented with. Simultaneously, each social science community is grappling with revising and devising criteria for judging the adequacy of any given interpretive statement.” (436) -the researcher, as producer and writer, is seen as creating meaning and interpretation out of ongoing experience (interaction) -this realization highlights the crucial issue of rapport in the field: who is the researcher, who is being researched, how is a relationship to be established, and what power issues are involved? -the ethnographer’s notions of self intersect with those of the people studied in multiple ways, af- fecting the formulation of knowledge and its interpretation Race: The Power of an Illusion Film -challenging the idea of race as biological -what is race based on if not on genes or biology? social context -students attend a DNA workshop to demonstrate that there is more genetic diversity found with- in racialized groups than between them -scientists are part of a social context, informed by the societies in which they lived (ex. segrega- tion era scientists publishing studies on the ‘difference’ between white people and ‘negro’ people as an excuse to subjugate them); this is science used to advance a social agenda -to do away with the concept of race would be like the paradigm shift of doing away with the no- tion that the world is flat LECTURE 3 - Religion and Identity: The Lived Religion Paradigm 1)sociology of religion is concerned with how people put their beliefs about the sacred into ac- tion and their interactions with the self and others -what is the interplay between society and religion? -what do people so with their belief system/ how do you act on your beliefs? -not concerned with: the existence of God; the afterlife; “truth” claims of different faiths 2)questions: how does your religious outlook impact your identity? -how do those meanings and practices change over time? -what symbols and norms do people draw upon when practicing? -what are the individual and social dimensions of religion? 3)WHAT IS RELIGION? which activities, behaviors and beliefs are defined as religious? -difficult to define because if you make it too broad it can become meaningless and if you make it too narrow, you exclude things -the definition can change across contexts 12 -there are two main categories of definitions 4)SUBSTANTIVE DEFINITIONS: works to establish what religion is or the content/substance of the religion ex: religion is an expression of the sacred; religion is a belief in supernatural powers; religion is patterned behavior of a religious community -these definitions tend to produce narrow definitions -you are excluding certain activities when you make these claims -doesn’t allow you to think through/account for change 5)FUNCTIONAL DEFINITIONS: concerned with what religion does ex: what are the effects of religion? religion functions to bind people together; religion functions to help people interpret the unknown -allows for explaining religion as it changes over time and space -functional definitions can be too broad -almost anything could be counted as religion (ie. lots of things bind people together) 6)ON IDENTITY: a prominent trend in qualitative research on social identities is focusing on the ways in which identities are multifaceted, complex and fluid -question the idea of a core or single self -religion is just one of many sources from which people can draw their identity (intersectionality) 7)VOLUNTARISM: individuals are free to construct their religious identities in many ways -this is the idea or context for the “lived religion” paradigm -religious identities used to be ascribed whereas now they are achieved -you can convert, renew, abandon or mix and max your religious identity 8)THE TRADITIONAL APPROACH: -the traditional approach to studying religion was focused on institutionally based religious groups, beliefs and practices using quantitative methods to measure rates of participation and observance, and statistics (surveys) about belief, the Bible, and affiliation -the traditional approach was one with a predetermined idea/definition of what religion is/should look like -the researcher went in with their own definition and left no room for subjects to define it them- selves -investigating how closely you subscribed to a textbook, institutionally defined definition of “reli- gious” -we’re interested in challenging these simplistic quantitative measures -lived religion vs. surveys and rates of participation data -quantitative data cannot tell us much about how people choose to take up religion and make meaning in their everyday lives 9)THE LIVED RELIGION PARADIGM: -stresses the difference between religion as it is
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