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BUY THESE BOOKS!!
50+ chapters of grad skool advice goodness: Grad Skool Rulz ($4.44 – cheap!!!!)
A theory book you can understand!!! Theory for the Working Sociologist (discount code: ROJAS – 30% off!!)
The rise of Black Studies:  From Black Power to Black Studies 
Did Obama tank the antiwar movement? Party in the Street
Read Contexts Magazine– It’s Awesome!!!!

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Written by fabiorojas

January 6, 2019 at 8:01 am

Posted in uncategorized

theory for the working sociologist: graduate course edition

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Last week, I wrote about how to use Theory for the Working Sociologist in an undergraduate course. How does one do it for a graduate course? As usual, just abandon the pretense that you’re teaching great books, history of sociology, or philosophy of science. And just remind yourself that you are here to teach the core ideas of social theory in ways that a normal sociologist – like a demographer or a sociologist of education – would use.

I’ll focus on the graduate theory course. As with the undergraduate class, you should probably decide what the major approaches to social theory are. In my grad class, I stuck with inequality/power, culture/structure/values, rational choice and social construction. You can come up with your own labels.

The big difference with the undergrad class is that I usually start with selections from the Theory book and then add a healthy mix of classic and super-modern readings. You can also easily weave in cutting edge work from today, as long as you can identify the theoretical assumptions.

Here’s a cool example. In my recent graduate social theory course, I wanted to spend a week on “dual process models,” which folks like Vaisey and Lizardo have imported from psychology into sociology. Normally, doing contemporary social psychology in a theory course would be pushing it. But not if you assign the book.

How does it work? Simple. We had a section on “values and structures.” That is chapter 4 in Theory for the Working Sociologist. That chapter provides an overview. Then, I supplemented the textbook with an intuitive sequence of readings:

  1. Durkheim, selections from Elementary Forms
  2. Weber, selections from Protestant Ethic
  3. Parsons, selections from The Social System or one of the early books on social action
  4. Swidler, DiMaggio and Powell and Meyer and Rowan (toolkit theory and institutionalism)
  5. Then: Vaisey & co. on dual process models, and Lizardo on declarative/non-declarative models of culture

Thus, by focusing the logical development of the theory of culture from Durkheim to the present, it becomes very easy to understand the motivation behind the argument for dual process models. The text book offers a nice road map and it’s easy to add or subtract items (like dual process models) as needed. Once they are done with social theory, they will understand how a lot of social psychology is logically integrated with the intellectual architecture of the discipline.

Finally, you can also easily assign sections of Theory for the Working Sociologist as a supplement to other courses. For example, you might be teaching political sociology and run into arguments about the rational voter model. You could then assign a few pages from the book about rational choice theory to help students see why the argument happened in the first place.

++++++++

BUY THESE BOOKS!!
50+ chapters of grad skool advice goodness: Grad Skool Rulz ($4.44 – cheap!!!!)
A theory book you can understand!!! Theory for the Working Sociologist (discount code: ROJAS – 30% off!!)
The rise of Black Studies:  From Black Power to Black Studies 
Did Obama tank the antiwar movement? Party in the Street
Read Contexts Magazine– It’s Awesome!!!!

Written by fabiorojas

January 4, 2019 at 8:01 am

Posted in uncategorized

theory for the working sociologist: user support edition

Are you panicked about teaching social theory for the first time? Maybe you’re an experienced instructor who still gets stuck explaining the nuances of anomie theory. Do you feel as if you need some back up?

I’m here to help.  I wrote Theory for the Working Sociologist for the person who wants some help teaching social theory. And sure, there’s a lot of good social theory books out there written by some really smart people. But these books are all missing one crucial thing – user support. That’s right. You can contact me directly and I will help you out.

I can provide a sample syllabus, sample lecture notes, and recommendations for supplementary readings. I can talk to your class or we can chat on the phone. Want to hang at ASA and shop talk? Let’s do coffee!

What are you waiting for? Operators are standing by!

++++++++

BUY THESE BOOKS!!
50+ chapters of grad skool advice goodness: Grad Skool Rulz ($4.44 – cheap!!!!)
A theory book you can understand!!! Theory for the Working Sociologist (discount code: ROJAS – 30% off!!)
The rise of Black Studies:  From Black Power to Black Studies 
Did Obama tank the antiwar movement? Party in the Street
Read Contexts Magazine– It’s Awesome!!!!

Written by fabiorojas

January 2, 2019 at 8:03 am

Posted in uncategorized

ho ho ho, to santa’s place we go: the spectacle of turning snow into euros

How does a sparsely populated, snowy, and remote area in Finland become Santa’s retreat, drawing tourists eager to spot Santa and his abode?

Organization Science has an article about Enontekiö’s transformation into a tourist destination.  Here’s the intriguing abstract about how to realize a myth via marketing:

The Conversation blog features co-author ‘s general audience-friendly preview of the article.

Happy holidays, everyone!  Wishing you all happiness and health.

Written by katherinechen

December 25, 2018 at 1:11 am

Posted in culture, social construction

Tagged with

winter 2019 book forum

What book do you want to discuss in Winter 2019? Use the comments or email/DM me. Feel free to self promote your own book.

++++++++

BUY THESE BOOKS!!
50+ chapters of grad skool advice goodness: Grad Skool Rulz ($4.44 – cheap!!!!)
A theory book you can understand!!! Theory for the Working Sociologist (discount code: ROJAS – 30% off!!)
The rise of Black Studies:  From Black Power to Black Studies 
Did Obama tank the antiwar movement? Party in the Street
Read Contexts Magazine– It’s Awesome!!!!

Written by fabiorojas

December 24, 2018 at 5:01 am

Posted in uncategorized

myra melford, alive in the house of saints

++++++++

BUY THESE BOOKS!!
50+ chapters of grad skool advice goodness: Grad Skool Rulz ($4.44 – cheap!!!!)
A theory book you can understand!!! Theory for the Working Sociologist (discount code: ROJAS – 30% off!!)
The rise of Black Studies:  From Black Power to Black Studies 
Did Obama tank the antiwar movement? Party in the Street
Read Contexts Magazine– It’s Awesome!!!!

Written by fabiorojas

December 23, 2018 at 5:01 am

Posted in uncategorized

theory for the working sociologist: undergraduate version

Theory for the Working Sociologist was designed to be a stand alone book. You could pick up this short, spiffy book and quickly get the basic intuitions behind modern sociology. For that reason, it will be used primarily as a text book. This post, and an upcoming post next week, will describe how you can use Theory for the Working Sociologist as a tool for the classroom.

First, you must mentally re-orient yourself as a theory instructor. Drop the idea that you are teaching history of sociology, or Great Books, or philosophy of science. Instead, say, “my one and only job is to teach the main theories of sociology.”

Repeat that a few more times.

Take some deep breaths.

Feel better? I thought so.

Of course, if you want to briefly mention history of the history or whatever, that’s OK. But your real job is teaching theory in a way that would make sense to a normal student at your institution. If they are a sociology major, they want sociological explanations of real social processes, not history of sociology.

Second, your syllabus will have a handful of sections that lay out major theoretical perspectives. You can copy the book, or build your own. Here’s how I do it: inequality/power; values/culture/structure; social construction; rational choice. Then, each section will use the corresponding section of the book.

Third, you will need lots of concrete examples to flesh out the theories mentioned in the text book. This is where you want one of those nice fat anthologies of social theory. My favorite is Charles Lemert’s Social Theory: Multicultural, Global, and Classic Readings. This has almost all you need. The only thing it misses is rational choice/strategic action readings. Fortunately, those are easy to find.

Fourth, it will now be easy to populate each section. For undergrads, I usually have them read some actual sociology and then use the chapters in my book to explain the “big picture.” In my version of power and inequality, I do this exactly:

  1. Marxism
  2. Weber: bureaucracy, class/status/party, legitimate domination
  3. Race: DeBois, Fanon
  4. Gender: DeBeauvior, West/Zimmerman, Woolf’s essay
  5. Intersectionality: PH Collins, Field theory: Bourdieu and chapter 2 of Theory

Notice how this module on power/inequality has a lovely structure. All readings have a uniform theme: describing different mechanisms for creating and sustaining inequality. You also get a nice theoretical development. You start with simpler theories based on fewer variables (e.g., Marx) and then move to theories that have more moving parts (e.g. Bourdieu and intersectionality theory). Then, you use Theory for the Working Sociologist to provide a really succinct framing of the readings.

When I explained this to a colleague recently, he gasped, “if you teach gender in your theory course, what will that do to the regular gender course?” Answer: preparation. Once a student has seen how some basic ideas about gender fit into the discipline’s larger conceptual architecture, they can gain a deeper appreciation of what happens in a semester long course on gender.

You will also notice how you avoid a problem of most theory teaching – the assumption that classical sociologists had a uniform view or perspective in their writings. This may be true of Marx or Durkheim, but not Weber or Simmel. Weber was a stratification guy, and a culture guy, and a historical guy, and a political economy guy. So why pretend there is one neatly summarized “Weber” view? Instead, you can teach stratification Weber in the inequality section and the Protestant Ethic Weber in the section on culture and social structure. If you separate out a selection from Protestant Ethic, then you can do logical follow ups, like Swidler’s article on cultural toolkits which is a direct commentary on Weber.

Final note: What readings do I use for rational choice theory? This is really the only weakness of the Lemert anthology. The closest one can find is a vaguely utilitarian essay by John Stuart Mill. Luckily, the undergrads only need a few good readings. So I assign a few pages from Becker’s The Economic Approach to Human Behavior, Coleman on social capital, and the wiki on the median voter theorem, which always generates good discussion.

++++++++

BUY THESE BOOKS!!
50+ chapters of grad skool advice goodness: Grad Skool Rulz ($4.44 – cheap!!!!)
A theory book you can understand!!! Theory for the Working Sociologist (discount code: ROJAS – 30% off!!)
The rise of Black Studies:  From Black Power to Black Studies 
Did Obama tank the antiwar movement? Party in the Street
Read Contexts Magazine– It’s Awesome!!!!

Written by fabiorojas

December 21, 2018 at 5:22 am

Posted in uncategorized