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  • 12:18 pm on December 5, 2010 | 2 Permalink

    My favorite theorist that we studied this semester was Gilman because I could relate to what she was saying. I am curious to know what your favorite theorist was and why.

    • Shanna Kocher 9:57 am on December 6, 2010 Permalink

      I also really like Gilman because of her writing style. She and Simmel were my favorites because I found them to be the most relatable. Cooper was my least favorite theroist because I still don’t really get her theory. As a person, she must have been great; as a sociologist and social activist, she had a really strong voice and her feminist speeches were very powerful; as a social theorist, not so much. Anyone else have a least favorite?

    • T-Discs 3:53 am on June 23, 2011 Permalink

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  • 11:40 pm on December 1, 2010 | 2 Permalink

    In chapter six in Hurst there was a discussion about organs. There was a kidney up for auction on ebay and the bidding had reached 5.7 million dollars. The was the point that ebay stopped the bidding. What do you guys think about the selling of organs?

    • araba 12:37 am on December 2, 2010 Permalink

      The selling of organs is nothing new. Basically when you need an organ transplant and you have to pay for the transportation and all those fees, you’re basically paying for the organ, Having it sold on eBay was shut down because it’s considered illegal to profit off selling your own body parts. If this was legal, i believe there would be an increase of crimes as more and more people would be killed strictly for the sale of their organs and the disparity between the rich and poor would increase as only those who can afford to buy organs would live and those who couldn’t would die.
      Organs are already being bought and sold (it’s just being done under that table) and the eBay sale is nothing new. But to answer your question, organ selling is APPALLING!!!

    • mroane 10:18 am on December 3, 2010 Permalink

      In regards to Hurst, I think once the human organ becomes commodity, then it uses it use value. it is no longer seen as a life saving organ . In addition, humans become a commodity within this transaction. they become an entity whose parts can be exchanged and bought on an open market. therefore, organs being sold eludes to a moral breakdown in the structure of society.

  • 11:27 am on November 29, 2010 | 0 Permalink
    Tags: Hurst

    I really like the post about Engels, that information in really interesting. It is always nice to hear about a theorits personal life, it can sometimes help you understand their theories more or give you something you can use to help remember them by.

    I found the Hurst readings really helpful. The chapters are clear and its helpful that they weave the different theorists together and help point out some commonalities and comparisons.

    Also thanks for posting the real end of the Buffy episode I wish we could have seen that.

  • 6:56 pm on November 28, 2010 | 2 Permalink

    Today is the birthday of Friedrich Engels! Everyday I read the Writer’s Almanac which is a radio/newsletter production that Garrison Keillor hosts. In it he talks about famous events that happened that day and famous people (mostly literary) whose birthday it is. There are two things in Engels blurb that caught my eye. 1) “Engels decided to go back to Germany, but on his way he stopped in Paris to meet Karl Marx at a café and talk. They ended up becoming good friends, and Engels ended up staying in Paris. He helped Marx with the book he was working on, and a few years later, they co-authored the Communist Manifesto (1848)” !!! (this was not mentioned in Edles and Appelrouth but I just think its an interesting factoid to know.
    2) This quote of Engels ties into our class discussion on Hurst’s decision of which theorist to include. He said he chose theorist that were not just “armchair theorist”. Although the theorist he chose are questionable for that reason, Marx definitely was a man of action. Engels said ” An ounce of action is worth a ton of theory.” Do you agree?

    • Lauren 1:07 am on December 1, 2010 Permalink

      I agree that Marx was definitely very active in his time, especially politically (as we know, the Communist Manifesto was political in nature). However, it seems to me that many of the other theorists that Hurst chose not to include were certainly very socially and politically active as well. I am thinking of Anna Julia Cooper and her involvement with the settlement house and her career as a teacher and as a mother to many foster children. Although Hurst makes a good argument that the theorists he chose were active in their societies and that they lived during times of wide-ranging social change, that the same could be said of some of the other theorists we have studied.

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  • 6:17 pm on November 23, 2010 | 0 Permalink

    So I talked to my sister (another Buffy fan) and she informed me that I was a little off in the ending of the episode. Yes she is in a class with other invisible kids but they are being trained to be assassins for the FBI. haha. Much worse than I thought. The seasons do get better though! It was just really cheesy in the beginning.

  • 11:57 pm on November 18, 2010 | 2 Permalink

    Mead’s concept of the I and the me

    Meads conception of the I and me have parrels to Gilman.
    The I and the me are in a constant state of opposition with one another. Such as with Gilman’s critique of gender relation, the idealized construction of the I( self concept of gender) engages in a perpetual tug of war with the me( society concept of gender) in conflict with each other. The “I” wants to assert and dissolve the “me”, but with the dissolution of the me, the I cannot exist because the “I” mirrors the “me”. Also, the “me” cannot frame itself without the existence of an “I”. So with Gilman’s self constructed concept of gender,it does not stand alone in its construction without taking parts of the me , and society’s cementation of its construction of gender cannot exist without the the conflict either( there is a codependent relationship).

    • sgrimsley 12:09 pm on November 19, 2010 Permalink

      Do you see any parallel between Mead’s ‘I’ and ‘me’ concepts and Freud’s concepts of the ‘id’ ‘ego’, and ‘superego’ ? I feel that the way that Marsh explained it drew many similarities to Freud. Freud discusses how each person has and id, which is their selfish part of the human psych that only care about getting what it wants. The ‘superego’ is the psych that is controlled by society. The ego is used to balance the ‘id’ and ‘superego’ and make decisions for the person. I feel like this seems similar to the way that Marsh explained the me and I. No?

    • dds2841 5:25 pm on November 28, 2010 Permalink

      It is similar to the way that Marsh explained it. The ‘I’ and ‘me’ are almost like the ‘id’, ‘ego’, and ‘superego. The ‘I’ is kind of like the ‘id’ because the person is thinking about him or herself. The ‘me’ is similar to the ‘superego’ because they take society into account.

  • 5:39 pm on November 18, 2010 | 1 Permalink

    George Herbert Mead was a symbolic interaction theorist, which is a belief that society is made up of individuals creating and recreating meaning. Just as Meghan previously stated there is a major focus on the individual. Specifically, Mead wrote about the “mind” and how we perceive our “self”. Overall I really enjoyed Mead and he is tied with Simmel for my favorite social theorist that we have discussed and this may be because some of Mead’s ideas are similar to Simmel’s. For example, Simmel’s idea of Fashion as a way of identity where people think what a certain outfit says about themselves. Fashion is a way to make yourself seem a certain way. Similarly, Mead’s idea that the mind has the ability to objectify ourselves and to see what other people see is very analogous to Simmel’s idea. Another idea that I found interesting was Mead’s idea that humans are distinguished from animals through symbols and specifically through language and that there is no inherent meaning to language except the meaning we have brought to it through consensus of understanding. This idea is very similar to a theoretical article by Nietzsche called “On Truth and Lies in a nonmoral sense” where he talks about how there is no absolute Truth because language is something that is created in order to exert power and there is no inherent meaning to it and the only way meaning is created is through consensus from society. I find it very interesting that Mead and Nietzsche have similar beliefs about language and it’s meaning since Mead seems like an optimistic theorist whereas everything I have heard about Nietzsche is pessimistic.

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  • 10:08 pm on November 16, 2010 | 1 Permalink

    I think Mead is easier to relate to than any of the other sociologists we have discussed this semester. It might be because we grew up in America and have that more individualistic mind set as Mead explains. Mead’s theories behind meaning and symbols are that things only have meaning because we give them meaning and we can give things different meanings. There is no meaning apart from social reality. Language could be the prime example of this but also be a complex example as well. Language is made up of symbols that only have meaning because we social constructed them to. There is no meaning of language that we don’t bring to it.
    Mead focused on how we derive meaning from the world around and how reflexivity allows us to do so through thinking through our options differentiating us from other animals. So could it be the fact that we give things mean that makes us different from other animals?
    Now looking back at my notes they are not too clear about symbolic interactionism. I have that there is more emphasis on the individual and generalized social attitudes and that we get to those attitudes through interaction. Is that all we had or am I missing something??

    • Nich 12:23 am on November 18, 2010 Permalink

      A quick note on the difference between humans and animals. I feel like Marsh was considering talking about this in more detail but then decided against this last class. It seems that humans have an obsession with separating themselves from other animals, putting themselves on a different, more superior, playing ground. All in an attempt to prove to themselves that they are better. This obsession seems ungrounded, yet one that we face.

      I did a paper on grief in animals recently and one of the books I read mentioned that an important difference in animals and humans is that humans (of a particular age) can fully understand the significance of death. I’m really not going anywhere with this other than noting that this obsession for separation still exists today.

  • 5:10 pm on November 16, 2010 | 1 Permalink

    Similarly to Meghan I found Anna Julia Cooper’s life more interesting than her theories. One of her ideas that really bothered me was when she explains that women (including both white and colored women) are responsible for the moral upbringing of society through education. I think it is crucial to educate society but the fact that it is the women’s responsibility is sexist not only to women but men as well. This idea puts all of the responsibility solely on women instead of broadening it to men. One can read it and think she is saying that men are incapable of providing a moral upbringing to children in society or one can read it and think she means that women’s place is solely in the home where her job is to teach children the “moral ways” of society. Either way one reads it she comes off sexist and hypocritical seeing that she was caught in a scandal where her morality was questioned. Although I do not like her feminist theory, I did like her article “Women vs. The Indian” where she starts off with a story about a black woman who is not accepted to take a type writing class because of the color of her skin. She starts off this article with a sarcastic tone, which really drew me in and made me want to read more. Overall I think that her writing style is much better than her ideas.

    • Lauren 2:25 pm on November 17, 2010 Permalink

      I can definitely see how one can read Cooper and get the idea that she is putting the responsibility for the moral uplift of society solely on the shoulders of women. However, I think we have to take what she is saying in context. Anna Julia Cooper was living during a time when women were not really valued at all aside from their reproductive roles, (and Gilman argued that women weren’t even valued for this, otherwise they would be compensated for it). So I think the emphasis on women as the ones who must advance society is to bring to light that what women do, in the home or elsewhere, is extremely important. I think you are right to say that this view is sexist – that one sex is responsible for the advancement of society. But maybe that is because we live in a different time where we value equality more? I think Cooper may have had to go to this extreme during her time because women were not valued at all for their work.

      And I do believe that Gilman had more faith in men than it may seem at first glance. There was one excerpt where it seems she was encouraging both black men and women in their shared roles in racial uplift:

      We need men who can let their interest and gallantry extend outside the circle of their aesthetic appreciation; men who can be a father, a brother, a friend to every weak, struggling unshielded girl. We need women who are so sure of their own social footing that they need not fear leaning to lend a hand to a falling or fallen sister. We need men and women who do not exhaust their genius splitting hairs on aristocratic distinctions and thanking God they are not others; but earnest, unselfish souls, who can go into the highways and byways, lifting up and leading, advising and encouraging with the truly Catholic benevolence of the Gospel of Christ. (p. 64)

  • 9:24 am on November 16, 2010 | 0 Permalink

    Anna Julia Cooper was spoken of highly in the introduction of her book. The author thinks she should be studied more and seems to be perplexed that she is not grouped with W. E. B. DuBois and Booker T. Washington. Anna Julia Cooper was a black feminist and she makes some valid points but her arguments are not as forward thinking and progressive as one might assume or hope for. In class as we discussed her work, most did not agree with what she was saying or saw her as behind in her thinking. She was racist against Muslims and it seemed as though she thought a woman’s place was in the home and taking care of the family. However she did put an emphasis on education and for a majority of her life worked in schools and for the improvement of education. She took in seven children throughout her life. Scandal surrounded part of her life when she was forced into exile in the Midwest for five years after she was fired from her administrative position at the M Street School. She worked as a teacher, principal and had various school administration positions. She wrote throughout her long life and did travel some and speak. Cooper lived in Washington D.C. most of her life and she worked in various schools, she focused on providing education, at one point leading a school that met in her house. I am on the fence about her, some of her ideas are vague and others are discriminating. I found her life more interesting than what she wrote about.

  • 9:44 pm on November 8, 2010 | 1 Permalink

    I also have a question about Anna Julia Cooper. In Chapter 5, she brings up Susan B. Anthony and Anna Shaw, but makes a comment about them being “too noble.” Having always known at least Anthony as a prominent feminist figure, this confused me a little. Anyone understand what she meant by this?

    Another quote in this chapter that I liked and thought was a good argument against racism and discrimination is this:
    “In the first place she imagines that because her grandfather had slaves who were black, all the blacks in the world of every shade and tint were once in the position of her slaves. This is as bad as the Irishman who was about to kill a peaceable Jew in the streets of Cork, – having just learned that Jews slew his Redeemer.”

    • Lauren 1:24 pm on November 16, 2010 Permalink

      I think that the comment about Susan B. Anthony and Anna Shaw goes along with Anna Julia Cooper’s black feminist thought as kind of a critique on/counter to white feminism. I think Cooper advocated for a feminism that included race, gender, and class…by calling Susan B. Anthony and Anna Shaw “too noble” I think she is saying that their particular position in society as white women makes them blind to the fact that even though they may face discrimination as women, they are still treated with more respect than black women. An example of this in Chapter 5 is on pages 94-95 when she describes the discrimination she experiences on the train and her difficulty in choosing where she belongs; the room “for ladies” or the room “for colored people.” So Cooper is forced to see herself in terms of her race, gender, and class, while perhaps white women are not necessarily reminded of all of these aspects of their lives to the extent that she is.

  • 4:07 pm on November 7, 2010 | 0 Permalink

    I was reading chapter 3 in Anna Julia Cooper and ran across this quote, “Whatever the attainments of the individual may be, unless his home have moved on pari passu, he can never be regarded as identical with or representative of the whole.” I was a bit confused about this quote. Can someone help me out with what she was trying to say?


  • 9:44 am on November 5, 2010 | 0 Permalink

    In some respects, Dubios’ opinion about the role of the church in improving the state of the black community does coincide with Marx’s argument that religion is the opiate of the masses.
    W.E.B. argues that the church did not do enough to help the black community. In this argument, it does seem that he is making the case that the role of the church revolves around pacifying the black community. churches do not prescribe to social change or progression obtained with the use of duress or violent revolts.The church instructs the oppressed to accept their lot in life and to absolve their oppressors.

  • 12:10 pm on October 30, 2010 | 3 Permalink
    Tags: class consciousness, Du Bois, Simmel, veil

    In class, I pointed out a connection between Simmel and Du Bois’ theories on double consciousness and the stranger. I did not realize that this connection would come later in our readings, but I was happy to see it. Edles and Appelrouth said,”Both theorists emphasized the sense of otherness that not only inhibits social solidarity, but also prevents the formation of a unified sense of self” (350). They go on to point out that both use the metaphor of a veil. I think the main difference is that Du Bois is focusing his analysis on blacks, whereas Simmel extended the theory to many groups.

    In class, it seemed like not everyone agreed that this was a good connection. I was wondering if anyone has any ideas about how Simmel and Du Bois’ theories on this are not related? What do you think are the major differences between the two theories?

    • sgrimsley 5:20 pm on November 4, 2010 Permalink

      I guess I can understand how you can see similarities between these two these two theories. Simmel shows the duality of the stranger being both apart of society as well as being different enough to be outside of the society. Du Bois says the same of African Americans. African Americans see themselves as apart of the community but at the same time standing outside of it.

      However, I think there is a difference between these. I may be wrong but the way I see it what Du Bois discusses is the way in which African Americans must have two identities and can only show certain ones depending on who their audience is. They know to act differently around whites than they would around other blacks. Therefore, rather than saying they exist in and out of society simultaneously, Du Bois argues that African Americans have to form a fake self in order to be apart of that society at all.
      Does this make sense?

    • mroane 9:31 am on November 5, 2010 Permalink

      I agree there are some similarities between Dubois and Simmel to some extent.
      Although there does exists a stark contrast to Simmels concept of the stranger and W.E.B Dubois conception of the double consciousness, there concepts differ in one respect. Simmel’s stranger is accepted acknowledge by society as a whole. the stranger identity is still tied to the larger society in comparison to and equal to other members of society. With Dubois double consciousness, the person is not compared in comparison as an equal whose deviance contradicts with society, but as an unequal, nonequivalent individual who is deviant my design.

    • vic 6:22 pm on February 11, 2013 Permalink

      i have to write a paper contrasting dubois and simmel, any other ideas?

  • 7:48 pm on October 29, 2010 | 0 Permalink

    Dubois and the idea of the double consciousness.

    Dubios addresses the concept of the double consciousness from the perspective of blacks interactions within society in the context of , but he doesn’t address the double consciousness within the black community. Both of which are tightly interlinked with each other.

  • 2:52 pm on October 28, 2010 | 3 Permalink

    W.E.B. DuBois 3rd point that Erin brought up in class:”It is the duty of the Negro to raise himself by every effort to standards of modern civilization and not to lower those standards in any degree,” reminded me of Bill Cosby’s speeches on the black community that made news several years ago. After class I wanted to see if Bill Cosby had said anything recently. Cosby’s last publication was “We Can’t Blame the White People Any Longer”. You can find it here:
    Bill Cosby is very harsh towards the black community and disappointed. It is interesting to me that Cosby’s speech although radical has the basic idea of W.E.B. DuBois point.

    • Nich 11:21 pm on October 28, 2010 Permalink

      And this is why I don’t take the opinions of people of people like Billy Cosby or the Dixie Chicks too seriously. Some people in the entertainment industry have a call to arms about stuff that they really aren’t as well educated as they could be on and try to make it a persona mission of theres to bring it to the public. It usually results in me being annoyed and the issue being presented but not fully understood.

      Would be interesting to look at Cosby’s motivations for saying those things in comparison to DuBois, which as we discussed, was possibly because he was still “relatively new” in his career and didn’t want to publish anything that fully blamed the whites and the structural organization that embraced the racial problems he encountered.

    • mroane 7:39 pm on October 29, 2010 Permalink

      And similar to DuBois’ critique of the black community, Bill Cosby’s critique comes from a middle class analysis of the problem in the black community,which is the lens most use when analyzing issues inflicting those communities. The middle class critique is what he was most criticized for. Ironically, most of the criticism came from the educated upper and middle class blacks and not the lower, disfranchised blacks.

    • mroane 8:11 pm on October 29, 2010 Permalink

      I don’t think Cosby focus was really on the structural part but more on the individualistic level. He called for, similar to Dubois, for taking responsibility for economic, educational disparities and less on the structural barriers.

  • 6:01 pm on October 27, 2010 | 0 Permalink

    I think the fact that “women were largely prohibited, both formally and informally, from becoming scientist and sociologists in the nineteenth and early twentieth century” (Edles and Appelrouth, 2010: 233) has the most impact of the absence of women theorist in the classic theory discourse.
    I think people are uncomfortable with gender issue and ignore them to a certain extent. In one of my economics classes I had to debate for comparable worth and everyone in my class said I had the “harder” side. It was interesting to me that a gender inequality was seen as a rational economic choice. I think in some ways many gender inequities are a part of our society so people are blind to them. Therefore, making it uncomfortable when they are discussed as well as leading people to believe they are not an important issue.

  • 8:43 pm on October 21, 2010 | 1 Permalink

    I thought the discussion in class today about that status of women’s representation in sociological theory was interesting, especially since I am doing an independent study on this topic. I know Nick brought up that he felt like the reason more women are not included in theory is perhaps because their theories are not quite as neutral as say, Marx or Weber’s (Nick can correct me if I misinterpreted this – class was several hours ago). And I would say that it is true that women are typically the ones who study gender inequality.

    I am curious to know what other people’s thoughts were on this matter. Do you think that because women are the ones who typically study gender that this affects their representation in theory or “the canon” of sociology? Is gender theory in general less neutral than other major perspectives?

    • dds2841 9:01 pm on October 21, 2010 Permalink

      I do agree that gender theory is not as neutral as the other theories that are out there. I think that the reason women tend to focus on gender more is because females are the ones that are disadvantages. Can you imagine a male theorist pointing out that they have more power and that women are disadvantaged? Men either don’t want to give up that power or they may see it as that is how society has always been so it must be ok. I think that women theorists feel it is their job to point out the inequalities between men and women. With that being said, just because the gender theory is less neutral does not mean that it is less important than the other theories.

  • 10:09 am on October 21, 2010 | 1 Permalink
    Tags: Gilman

    I found Charlotte Perkins Gilman really interesting. Though she did not have much formal education or higher education in studying sociology she knew what she was talking about and had great insight into gender inequality.
    In The Yellow Wall Paper, though it is a novel, she goes into a description of falling into madness. The novel is autobiographical and Gilman says she almost went mad after the birth of her daughter. The remedy, a rest cure, was said to be rest, less stimulation and more time with the new baby. This remedy was the opposite of what Gilman craved and needed, she realized this and put in an end to the bed rest and isolation remedy she was being put through.
    Gilman’s ideas about gender inequality are very persuasive. She argues that if a woman’s place is in the home because of her child-bearing responsibilities when in fact most of a woman’s work is actual house work not just doting on the children. She explains how moist of what stay at home wives do is mostly housework or other business around the home.
    I also agree with her point of how if a woman is dependent on a man then she is stripped of her freedom. Her social and economic status is then determined by her husband’s occupation and status. She does not own her labor, her labor is owned by her husband if he owns the home and she is merely living and working in it. This is quite a statement to make and was even more taboo when Gilman originally published Women and Economics in 1898.

    • Jessica Masulli 12:16 pm on October 30, 2010 Permalink

      Gilman’s theories still hold true today, but in a different way. I was interested in what Dr. Marsh said about these applications today.

      In most relationships today, there has to be a rational economic decision that is made when having children. The choice is who should stay home with the children or should we put them in the care of others. I realize that this is a difficult decision to make financially because often outside daycare centers are very expensive, and can alone equal the pay of one spouse. Thus, the decision might fall to who must stay home, the husband or wife. This decision is often made based on who has a better paying job, which is usually the man considering that women make less pay for the same work. For this reason, many of the same problems as Gilman described are apparent today.

      While women have taken huge steps to not feel like property anymore and to have many rights, there is still a problem of pay that continues to devalue women who stay at home with children.

  • 4:58 pm on October 20, 2010 | 0 Permalink

    Herbert Gintis-
    I was able to go to his speech (and he came to two of my classes), but I do not think I have any more insight on his stance on capitalism. However, one point he made in my Mirco class was that costumer has the root word custom in it. Therefore the idea is buyers and sellers have an on going relationship and I think from that we are to assume that each will play fair since it is not a “one-shot game”.

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