Welcome to The Sociological Cinema!
This site is designed to help sociology instructors incorporate videos into their classes. Check out our blog, look through our pics page, and search our growing database of video clips. Each clip is tagged with appropriate sociological themes and organized for busy instructors. We invite you to join the discussion and comment on how you have used the videos in your classes, and to submit a clip of your own. Enjoy!
Video of the Week
Advocates for raising the minimum wage have seen some good news lately. For example, in Los Angeles, the minimum wage is scheduled to increase to $15/hour by 2020, the University of California system will reach this target by 2017, and lawmakers in New York are discussing similar legislation. This struggle has important implications for promoting economic security, addressing income inequality, and facilitating upward mobility.
Our video video of the week puts this struggle into context by telling the story of two young brothers trying to overcome difficult barriers to achieve the "American Dream" (read associated article here). Johnny and George live in Dorchester, MA, a Boston crime and poverty "hot spot." In addition to their economic issues, they face many family challenges (e.g. their father committed suicide 3 years ago). As the older brother notes, the most challenging thing is probably "living every day without our dad and with a single parent, who can barely afford to give us any of the resources we need." This is the type of scenario that a higher minimum wage can help address.
But while people in such neighborhoods are often depicted as being hopeless, Johnny and George are very hopeful and seek a better life. They work hard to achieve grades at the top of their classes, earn their own spending money through tutoring, and have received help from a local mentor and non-profit organizations. Viewers might reflect on how Johnny and George's story reflects the "pull yourself up by your bootstraps" ideology of the American, but that everyone needs help to do so. It raises questions of how the class structure shapes an individual's ability to live a successful life, and what types of social and economic resources are necessary to help those less fortunate in attaining it? How could an increase in minimum wage help people to achieve economic security within the labor market? Read more.