Sociology | WAMC

Sociology

Book cover for "Fans" by Larry Olmsted
Algonquin Books

Knee-deep into March Madness – we are going to talk about life as a sports fan. Do you spend weekends obsessing over your team’s wins and losses? Do you constantly check your fantasy basketball scores and buy jerseys of your favorite players?

Why do we care so much about sports, and how does being a fan effect our lives? In his new book, "Fans: How Watching Sports Makes Us Happier, Healthier, and More Understanding," award-winning journalist Larry Olmsted, makes the case that the more you identify with a sports team, the better your social, psychological, and physical health, the more meaningful your relationships, and the better connected and happier you are.

Using brand new research and exclusive interviews with fans and experts around the world, Olmsted presents a game-changing look into why being a fan is good for us both as individuals and as a society.

Book cover artwork for "Social Chemistry"
Dutton / Dutton

Human connection has become even more digital in 2020 due to social distancing measures and other pandemic precautions. Despite this major shift: personal and professional networks have arguably become more important than ever before. How can we reap their benefits?

In the new book, "Social Chemistry: Decoding the Patterns of Human Connection," Marissa King, a pioneer in the field of networks and social relationships, reveals how the quality and structure of your real-life network have the greatest power to transform your life and strengthen your relationships.

King has studied what people's social networks look like, how they evolve, and why that's significant for the last fifteen years. She demonstrates how you can apply her many years of cutting-edge research and insights to your own life.

Melanie Joy, PhD, EdM, is a Harvard-educated psychologist, international speaker, and organizational and relationship coach.

In her newest book, "Powerarchy: Understanding the Psychology of Oppression for Social Transformation" Joy examines the common underlying psychology that drives all oppressive systems and enables abusive interpersonal dynamics.

Book cover for "The Great Demographic Illusion"
Princeton Press / Princeton Press

CUNY Sociology Professor Richard Alba will join us to explain why the number of young Americans from mixed families is surging and what this means for the country’s future. His new book is: "The Great Demographic Illusion: Majority, Minority, and the Expanding American Mainstream."

Assembling a vast body of evidence, Alba explores where individuals of mixed parentage fit in American society. Most participate in and reshape the mainstream, as seen in their high levels of integration into social milieus that were previously white dominated.

Yet, racism is evident in the very different experiences of individuals with black-white heritage. Alba’s portrait squares in key ways with the history of immigrant-group assimilation, and indicates that, once again, mainstream American society is expanding and becoming more inclusive.

You might think that perfect harmony is the defining characteristic of healthy relationships, but the truth is that human interactions are messy, complicated, and confusing.

According to renowned psychologist Ed Tronick and pediatrician Claudia Gold, that is not only okay, it is actually crucial to our social and emotional development. In their new book "The Power of Discord," they show how working through the inevitable dissonance of human connection is the path to better relationships with romantic partners, family, friends, and colleagues.

They say, working through the volley of mismatch and repair in everyday life helps us form deep, lasting, trusting relationships, resilience in times of stress and trauma, and a solid sense of self in the world.

Racial tension in America has become a recurring topic of conversation in politics, the media, and everyday life. There are numerous explanations as to why this has become a predominant subject in today’s news and who is to blame. Our next guest says, as Americans prepare once again to cast their Presidential ballots, it’s more important than ever to have a smart and thoughtful conversation about race.

In “Getting Smart About Race,” sociology professor Margaret Andersen discusses why racial healing should be an integral element of our everyday discussions surrounding race and how to move the conversation in a positive direction.

William Doyle is a New York Times bestselling author and TV producer for networks including HBO, The History Channel, and PBS. Since 2015 he has served as Fulbright Scholar, Scholar in Residence and Lecturer on Media and Education at University of Eastern Finland, a Rockefeller Foundation Resident Fellow, and advisor to the Ministry of Education and Culture of Finland.

With Pasi Sahlberg, Professor of Education Policy at Gonski Institute for Education, University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia, Doyle has written the book "Let the Children Play: How More Play Will Save Our Schools and Help Children Thrive."


  Dr. Marika Lindholm a sociologist and the founder of Empowering Solo Moms Everywhere and esme.com - a gathering place for solo mothers to discuss their experiences and find information about navigating the particular challenges or raising children alone. 

 

Lindholm is the co-editor of the new book “We Got This: Solo Mom Stories of Grit, Heart and Humor.” She will be at Oblong Books and Music in Rhinebeck, New York at 6pm on Friday, November 1.

The conference “Migration & Mental Health” will be held at SUNY New Paltz on October 11.

The conference focuses on providing psychological and psycho-social support for immigrants, especially those living in extreme situations. The theme of this eighth annual conference is “Gender, Place and Identity.”

Director of Athena Network New York Maria Elena Ferrer and Athena Network New York member/part of the conference steering committee Gerry Harrington.

In "Work, Love, and Learning in Utopia: Equality Reimagined," psychological anthropologist Martin Schoenhals argues that the negative emotions of sadness, anger, and fear evolved in tandem with hierarchy, while happiness evolved separately and in connection to prosociality and compassion.

The book covers a range of human concerns, from economics and education, to media and communication, to gender and sexuality. Schoenhals argues that equality of love is as important and possible as is economic equality.

Recent events have turned the spotlight on the issue of race in modern America, and the current cultural climate calls out for more research, education, dialogue, and understanding. "Race and Social Change: A Quest, A Study, A Call to Action" focuses on a provocative social science experiment with the potential to address these needs.

Author Max Klau explains how his own quest for insight into these matters led to the empirical study at the heart of this book, and he presents the results of years of research that integrate findings at the individual, group, and whole system levels of analysis.

As the new book, "The Gritty Berkshires," makes clear, Massachusetts' westernmost county is not just art museums, music festivals and beautiful scenery. For generations of working class families who have lived in the northern part of this county, their reality looks more like Rust Belt America.

Maynard Seider, an activist sociologist who has taught and researched in the area for more than three decades, places the history of the North Berkshire region in the context of U.S. and global history.

Through the use of oral histories, union archives, newspaper accounts and participant observation, the author focuses on the 1,000 men who built the nation's longest railroad tunnel, the thousands of men and women who worked in its textile mills and electronics factories and who struck, built worker co-ops, and community coalitions to improve their daily lives.

Author Aatish Taseer was born in the UK, the son of prominent Indian journalist Tavleen Singh and Pakistani politician, Salmaan Taseer. For his new book, "The Twice Born: Life and Death on the Ganges," Taseer traveled to Benares, the spiritual home of Hinduism for an up-close look at what the caste system means in India today.

Taseer says caste, the social and religious hierarchy of Hinduism, can have profound impacts on the trajectory of a person's life and governs any number of social interactions. It remains resilient in modern India, and Taseer considers its link to the rise of the Hindu nationalism.

Dr. Jennifer Eberhardt’s new book, “Biased: Uncovering the Hidden Prejudice That Shapes What We See, Think, and Do,” is a ground-breaking book that demonstrates how our unconscious biases powerfully shape our behavior.

Using scientific research and powerful personal stories, Dr. Eberhardt reveals that all people are vulnerable to racial bias, even if they are not racist. She presents her often shocking research and data, demonstrating how racial bias can contribute to stark disparities between social groups from the classroom to the courtroom to the boardroom.

But the potential for bias is present in all of us, and it is vital to understand how bias works in order to begin to correct its devastating effects in our society.

Dr. Jennifer Eberhardt is a professor of psychology at Stanford and a recipient of a 2014 MacArthur “genius” grant. She is co-founder and co-director of SPARQ (Social Psychological Answers to Real-World Questions), a Stanford Center that brings together researchers and practitioners to address significant social problems.

Book Cover - The Human Network

Inequality, social immobility, and political polarization are only a few crucial phenomena driven by the inevitability of social structures. Social structures determine who has power and influence, account for why people fail to assimilate basic facts, and enlarge our understanding of patterns of contagion.

Despite their primary role in shaping our lives, human networks are often overlooked when we try to account for our most important political and economic practices. In "The Human Network: How Your Social Position Determines Your Power, Beliefs and Behaviors." Stanford Professor Matthew Jackson illuminates the complexity of the social networks in which we are (often unwittingly) positioned and aims to facilitate a deeper appreciation of why we are who we are.

Bias against women at work, bias against people of color in the criminal justice system, bias against the LGBT community at the marriage license desk, the news story about the many ways bias, unconscious or otherwise rears its head in American society keep piling up. It is easy to see the latest headlines shake our heads and feel like there is nothing we can do about it.

Enter NYU professor and social psychologist Dolly Chugh, who's new book "The Person You Mean To Be: How Good People Fight Bias" offers a message for anyone who wants to help build a more equal and just society for everyone, but does not know where to start. Dr. Dolly Chugh is a Harvard educated, award-winning social psychologist at the NYU Stern School Of Business. She Joins us Today.

James Clear is one of the world's leading experts on habit formation. He is known for his ability to distill complex topics into simple behaviors that can be easily applied to daily life and work. His new book, "Atomic Habits: Tiny Changes, Remarkable Results," offers a framework for improving habits - every day.

Clear looks to reveal practical strategies that will teach you how to form good habits, break bad ones, and master the tiny behaviors that lead to extraordinary results.

All social relations are laden with power. Getting out from under dominant power relations and mastering power dynamics is perhaps the most essential skill for change agents across all sectors seeking to ignite positive change in the world.

Cyndi Suarez is the author of "The Power Manual: How to Master Complex Power Dynamic," an action manual that explores major concepts of power, with a focus on the dynamics of domination and liberation, and presents methods for shifting power relations and enacting freedom.

At the age of nine, Issac J. Bailey saw his hero, his eldest brother, taken away in handcuffs, not to return from prison for thirty-two years. Bailey tells the story of their relationship and of his experience living in a family suffering from guilt and shame in his book, "My Brother Moochie: Regaining Dignity in the Midst of Crime, Poverty, and Racism in the American South." Drawing on sociological research as well as his expertise as a journalist, he seeks to answer the crucial question of why Moochie and many other young black men, including half of the ten boys in his own family, end up in the criminal justice system.

What role do poverty, race, and faith play? What effect does living in the South, in the Bible Belt, have? And why is their experience understood as an acceptable trope for black men, while white people who commit crimes are never seen in this generalized way?

Issac J. Bailey was born in St. Stephen, South Carolina, and holds a degree in psychology from Davidson College in North Carolina. Having trained at the prestigious Poynter Institute for journalists in St. Petersburg, Florida, he has been a professional journalist for twenty years. He has taught applied ethics at Coastal Carolina University and, as a Nieman Fellow at Harvard, has taught journalism at Harvard Summer School.

For decades now, American voters have been convinced to support public policies that only benefit those in power. But how do the powerful extract consent from citizens whose own self-interest and collective well-being are constantly denied? And why do so many Americans seem to have given up on quality public education, on safe food and safe streets, on living wages - even on democracy itself?

"Kill It to Save It" lays bare the hypocrisy of contemporary US political discourse, documenting the historical and theoretical trajectory of capitalism’s triumph over democracy.

Corey Dolgon is professor of sociology and director of community-based learning at Stonehill College in Easton, Massachusetts.

"Down the Up Staircase" tells the story of one Harlem family across three generations, connecting its journey to the historical and social forces that transformed Harlem over the past century.

Bruce D. Haynes and Syma Solovitch capture the tides of change that pushed blacks forward through the twentieth century as well as the many forces that ravaged black communities, including Haynes's own.

As an authority on race and urban communities, Haynes brings unique sociological insights to the American mobility saga and the tenuous nature of status and success among the black middle class. Bruce Haynes joins us.

Gish Jen has spent much of her literary career writing about the experiences of Chinese-Americans. Her latest book, “The Girl at the Baggage Claim: Explaining the East-West Culture Gap,” makes the case for the sociological and cultural patterns that influence many aspects of identity.

Corey Dolgon is professor of sociology and director of community-based learning at Stonehill College in Easton, Massachusetts. He is the author of three other books, including the award-winning The End of the Hamptons: Scenes from the Class Struggle in America’s Paradise.

His new book, Kill It to Save It, lays bare the hypocrisy of contemporary US political discourse, documenting the historical and theoretical trajectory of capitalism’s triumph over democracy.

Joan C. Williams is Distinguished Professor of Law and Hastings Foundation Chair at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law. Williams’s work includes What Works for Women at Work, coauthored with Rachel Dempsey; Unbending Gender: Why Family and Work Conflict and What To Do About It. Williams is frequently featured as an expert on social class.

Around the world, populist movements are gaining traction among the white working class. Meanwhile, members of the professional elite - journalists, managers, and establishment politicians - are on the outside looking in, left to argue over the reasons. In White Working Class, Joan C. Williams, described as having “something approaching rock star status” by the New York Times, explains why so much of the elite’s analysis of the white working class is misguided, rooted in class cluelessness.

Dr. Tasha Eurich is an organizational psychologist, researcher, New York Times best-selling author. She is also the founder of the Eurich Group, where she’s helped thousands of leaders and teams improve their effectiveness through greater self-awareness. Dr. Eurich contributes to The Huffington Post and Entrepreneur Magazine and has been featured in outlets like ForbesThe New York Times, CNBC, Fast Company, and Inc..

Research shows that self-awareness – knowing who we are and how others see us – is the foundation for high performance, smart choices, and lasting relationships. Without it, it’s impossible to master the skills needed to succeed in business and life: skills like emotional intelligence and empathy, influence and persuasion, communication and collaboration.

Dr. Tasha Eurich's new book is Insight: Why We're Not as Self-Aware as We Think, and How Seeing Ourselves Clearly Helps Us Succeed at Work and in Life.

Nancy Isenberg’s bestselling book: White Trash: The 400 Year Untold History of Class in America is now in paperback with a new preface covering the 2016 election.

Nancy Isenberg said the following about the political climate years ago surrounding Sarah Palin, “When you turn an election into a three-ring circus, there’s always a chance that the dancing bear will win.” And we recognize how right she is today. Yet the voters that put Trump in the White House have always been a permanent part of our American fabric, argues Isenberg.

In White Trash, Isenberg looks to obliterate the myth of America as a land of unbounded opportunity and social mobility and makes the case that while both class and identity politics matter, neither are sufficient alone to define categories of voting behavior. Again the name of the book is: White Trash: The 400 Year Untold History of Class in America. 

In What Love Is, philosopher Carrie Jenkins offers a bold new theory on the nature of romantic love that reconciles its humanistic and scientific components. Love can be a social construct (the idea of a perfect fairy tale romance) and a physical manifestation (those anxiety- inducing heart palpitations); we must recognize its complexities and decide for ourselves how to love.

Motivated by her own polyamorous relationships, she examines the ways in which our parameters of love have recently changed-to be more accepting of homosexual, interracial, and non-monogamous relationships-and how they will continue to evolve in the future. 

In Strangers in Their Own Land, sociologist Arlie Hochschild embarks on a thought-provoking journey from her liberal hometown of Berkeley, California, deep into Louisiana bayou country—a stronghold of the conservative right. As she gets to know people who strongly oppose many of the ideas she famously champions, Hochschild nevertheless finds common ground and quickly warms to the people she meets people whose concerns are actually ones that all Americans share: the desire for community, the embrace of family, and hopes for their children.

Strangers in Their Own Land goes beyond the commonplace liberal idea that these are people who have been duped into voting against their own interests. Instead, Hochschild finds lives ripped apart by stagnant wages, a loss of home, an elusive American dream—and political choices and views that make sense in the context of their lives. Hochschild draws on her expert knowledge of the sociology of emotion to help us understand what it feels like to live in “red” America.

  As the adage goes: home is where the heart is. This may seem self-explanatory, but none of our close primate cousins have anything like homes. Whether we live in an igloo or in Buckingham Palace, the fact that Homo sapiens create homes is one of the greatest puzzles of our evolution.

In Home: How Habitat Made Us Human, neuroanthropologist John S. Allen marshals evidence from evolutionary anthropology, neuroscience, the study of emotion, and modern sociology to argue that the home is one of the most important cognitive, technological, and cultural products of our species’ evolution. It is because we have homes—relatively secure against whatever horrors lurk outside—that human civilizations have been able to achieve the periods of explosive cultural and creative progress that are our species’ hallmark.

Life is boring: filled with meetings and traffic, errands and emails. Nothing we'd ever call fun. But what if we've gotten fun wrong?

In Play Anything, visionary game designer and philosopher Ian Bogost shows how we can overcome our daily anxiety; transforming the boring, ordinary world around us into one of endless, playful possibilities.

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