SAGE Sociology

Author Lisa-Jo K. van den Scott discusses her paper, written with co-authors Clare Forstie and Savina Balasubramanian, "Shining Stars, Blind Sides, and "Real" Realities: Exit Rituals, Eulogy Work, and Allegories in Reality Television," which was recently published in the Journal of Contemporary Ethnography. Abstract: Competitive reality television is a pervasive part of contemporary American culture and encompasses a range of topics and forms. We identify three categories, or spheres, of contestant-elimination reality shows: External Vote, Internal Vote, and Choosing Individual/Deity. Within each sphere, we examine the locus of blame and the structure of the show as contexts for the elimination as symbolic death. This symbolic death presents allegories of loss of fame, social isolation, and individual loss of job, career, or love across these spheres. Contestants perform eulogy work to cope publicly with their elimination at the moment of exit. Eulogy work enables departing contestants to frame their “death” as a good death and to “cool themselves out” in an attempt to save face. In this way, contestants deal with conceptions of self in the show and the transfer of that self back to a reality outside of the bracketed time and space of the show. Drawing on literature from the sociology of emotions, the sociology of death, and the sociology of ritual, we provide the concept of eulogy work to capture the performance of the self specifically in the context of loss.

Read the article here.


Direct download: Edited_JCE_Lisa_Jo.mp3
Category:Sociology -- posted at: 7:06pm EDT

Authors Long Doan, Annalise Loehr, and Lisa Miller discuss their article published in the December 2014 issue of American Sociological Review.

Abstract: Attitudes toward gay rights have liberalized over the past few decades, but scholars know less about the extent to which individuals in the United States exhibit subtle forms of prejudice toward lesbians and gays. To help address this issue, we offer a conceptualization of formal rights and informal privileges. Using original data from a nationally representative survey experiment, we examine whether people distinguish between formal rights (e.g., partnership benefits) and informal privileges (e.g., public displays of affection) in their attitudes toward same-sex couples. Results show that heterosexuals are as willing to extend formal rights to same-sex couples as they are to unmarried heterosexual couples. However, they are less willing to grant informal privileges. Lesbians and gays are more willing to extend formal rights to same-sex couples, but they too are sometimes more supportive of informal privileges for heterosexual couples. We also find that heterosexuals’ attitudes toward marriage more closely align with their attitudes toward informal privileges than formal rights, whereas lesbians and gays view marriage similarly to both formal rights and informal privileges. Our findings highlight the need to examine multiple dimensions of sexual prejudice to help understand how informal types of prejudice persist as minority groups receive formal rights.

Read the article here:

Direct download: ASR_Long_Doan.mp3
Category:Sociology -- posted at: 12:57pm EDT

Author Kathleen J. Fitzgerald talks about her article in the February 2014 issue of Humanity & Society. Abstract: "While most scientists of the twentieth century argued for understanding race as a social construction, this understanding has shifted considerably in the past decade. In the current era, biological notions of race have resurfaced not only in the scientific community but in the form of direct consumer use of DNA tests for genetic ancestry testing, sometimes referred to as genetic genealogy, and the emergence of pharmacogenomics, or the marketing of race-specific pharmaceuticals. In this article, I argue that the return of race as a biological concept in the form of racial genomics can best be understood through an application of Blumer’s race as group position theory. Using that, I argue that during the past 20 years, four specific challenges to the racial hierarchy have emerged that have threatened white dominance: the original interpretation of the Human Genome Project results declaring humans to be 99.9 percent similar, thus, dispelling the idea that race has a genetic basis, the electoral wins of President Barack Obama and the ensuing rhetoric that America is a “postracial” society, and finally, the increase in interracial relationships and biracial/multiracial identities. The emergence of racial genomics, I argue, is a response to these specific threats to the racial hierarchy and to white dominance."

Direct download: HAS_Kathleen_Fizgerald.mp3
Category:Sociology -- posted at: 1:51pm EDT