Tags: psychology/social psychology, sports, theory, henri tajfel, intragroup processes, intergroup processes, john turner, role identities, self-categorization theory, social identities, social identity theory, 06 to 10 mins
Summary: This montage of two clips from the 2004 movie Miracle documents the United States Hockey Team’s win over Russia to secure the gold medal at the 1980 Winter Olympics; the montage also features footage from the actual game. In the first clip, U.S. head coach Herb Brooks asks the players to introduce themselves, which they do using their names, cities of origin, and university affiliations. In the second clip, the team has just lost a scrimmage game and Brooks keeps them on the ice to run drills despite the players’ exhaustion and coaching staff’s disapproval, until one of the players “reintroduces” himself; Brooks asks again who the player, Mike Eruzione, plays for, and Eruzione replies, “I play for the United States of America.” Upon hearing this, Brooks appears satisfied and ends the drills. This video can be used to illustrate several dimensions of Henri Tajfel’s social identity theory and/or John Turner’s self-categorization theory. I show this clip after students have read an overview of role and social identity theories by Thoits and Virshup (1997). First, it can be used to distinguish generally between role identities (who I am) and group or social identities (who we are). Sports teams, in general, are basic examples of I’s coming together to form we’s. Second, more specific principles within theories of social identity are illustrated. Tajfel’s psychologically oriented social identity theory focuses on intergroup processes of in-group and out-group formation, group conflict, and prejudice. Turner’s self-categorization theory is more focused on intragroup processes of categorization and depersonalization; in other words, the process by which individuals form a group. The Miracle montage is an illustration of both intergroup and intragroup processes, with the U.S.-Russia rivalry illustrating group conflict (intergroup) and the post-loss drills leading Eruzione to declare that he plays for the United States (depersonalization and categorization). This montage is especially useful at illustrating the processes of depersonalization and categorization as we watch the players go from identifying themselves as individuals to identifying themselves as members of the U.S. team. The somewhat artificial context of sports can be an accessible entry point to talking about other more “real world” contexts of group identity, both in terms of intergroup conflict and intragroup processes of depersonalization (e.g., ethnic, tribal, and state identifications and conflicts).
Submitted By: Kathleen E. Denny
Tags: crime/law/deviance, multiculturalism, race/ethnicity, social construction, apartheid, multiracial identity, racism, stigma, 06 to 10 mins
Summary: This clip features a set from stand-up comedian Trevor Noah's show at the Apollo Theatre in London. In his humorous commentary, Noah illustrates how meanings ascribed to race are socially constructed, and how social mechanisms--such as laws--function to create, reproduce, and reinforce socially ascribed meanings of race. Noah begins by talking about his experience growing up under apartheid, the South African law that made it illegal for white and black people to interact. Born to a black mother and white father, Noah recounts the legal consequences his parents faced for their relationship (with Noah as the evidence of that relationship and thus a liability for his parents in public). Noah also addresses the stigma he felt as a result of these very real legal dangers, offering a particularly compelling description of what the stigma felt like: "It was horrible. I felt like a bag of weed" (when his parents had to "drop" him any time authorities or would-be snitches came by). Growing up, Noah was also teased by others and called derogatory names like "mixed breed" and "half caste." Noah reflects on these names: "I hate that term 'half'. Why not 'double'?" Noah's critique highlights a common conceptualization of race, the presumption being that mixed race constitutes some form of dilution. Viewers are encouraged to take Noah's question seriously: Why is the notion of mixed race so often depicted as a "thinning" or "watering down" of some sort? Why aren't multiracial identities described as an augmentation? Pushed further, why are they presumed to constitute some type of meaningful transformation in the first place (i.e., "half" or "double")? What are the implications of such presumptions? As Noah continues to describe his own story and racialization experience, he further illustrates another dimension of the social construction of race, as race takes on different meaning in different social contexts. In South Africa, Noah longed to be considered black. He was told that, in America, people would think of him as black, as any (known) African ancestry tends to constitute "blackness" in the United States. Of course, this American racialized phenomenon has its own long legal history in the so-called "one-drop rule." Yet, upon arrival in the U.S. and much to his bewilderment, Noah is mistaken for Mexican. Here, viewers can see how race means different things in different contexts: In South Africa, Noah wanted to be "more black." In the U.S., he was told that he'd be "super black." Noah studied performances of American blackness in hopes of acquiring this super black status. However, upon arrival, Noah was deemed neither American black nor multiracial South African. Instead, he was perceived to be Mexican. The clip usefully illustrates some of the fluidity, complexity, and consequences of different racial formation systems.
Submitted By: Margaret Austin Smith
Tags: emotion/desire, gender, politics/election/voting, prejudice/discrimination, leadership, subtitles/CC, 06 to 10 mins
Access: The Daily Show: Part 1, Part 2
Summary: Men and women are often judged in opposite ways even when engaging in nearly identical behaviors, and authors such as Kathleen Hall Jamieson point out how these social judgments are especially problematic for women in leadership positions, as masculine authority supposedly contradicts feminine social expectations. This contradiction and the social judgments of men and women is highlighted in a recent segment from The Daily Show, titled "The Broads Must be Crazy." Jon Stewart first points out that the speculation about whether Hillary Clinton’s recently ascribed grandmother status will affect her electability has “never, ever” been an issue with any grandfather candidate who has sought the presidency. The segment then outlines numerous instances where male and female politicians were framed in entirely different ways when engaging in similar, if not identical, behaviors. The end of the clip even illustrates how the supposedly feminine emotions are thought to be strengths when expressed by men; while a nearly identical emotive expression is seen as problematic for female leaders.
Submitted By: Jason T. Eastman
Tags: crime/law/deviance, culture, gender, inequality, prejudice/discrimination, violence, mircroaggression, misogyny, patriarchy, rape, rape culture, sexual violence, slut shaming, street harassment, subtitles/CC, 06 to 10 mins
Summary: "Oppressed Majority" is a short film from Eleonore Pourriat, and it contemplates what the world would be like if men and women swapped statuses. The film's protagonist starts his day by checking the mail and politely listening to his neighbor complain about the dilapidated condition of their building. She concludes, "But I should really be talking to your wife." With this alternate French universe as her backdrop, the remark is a perfect example of the subtle brand of sexism Pourriat is able to successfully explore--what sociologists sometimes refer to as microaggressions. Later in the film, the protagonist encounters a group of young women on the street. He endures their catcalls, but when he finally stands up for himself, the women chase him into alley and rape him at knifepoint. While the obstacles confronting the protagonist as he goes about his day do not always result in physical harm, in each instance, he is the recipient of a rather vivid lesson about the place and position he and other men occupy in this fictional matriarchal society. In my view, the film works as a kind of thought experiment and confronts viewers with an unsettling question: If you're appalled by the treatment of men in this fictional society, why aren't you appalled by the ways women are treated in many real societies? For those who might object that the filmmaker is exaggerating to make her point, consider the fact that at least in the U.S. a nationally representative survey found that 87 percent of American women between the ages of 18-64 had been harassed by a male stranger; and over half of them experienced “extreme” forms of harassment including being touched, grabbed, rubbed, brushed or followed. Even more harrowing, a recent Centers for Disease Control survey calculated that 1 in 5 American women will endure a rape or attempted rape in their lifetimes. To be blunt, the film is shocking, not because it exaggerates, but because it encourages viewers to contemplate a truth. What is truly remarkable then is that people have become so numb to patriarchal aggressions; the assaults have become so normalized that it takes a work of fiction to coax people into truly seeing the society in which they live.
Submitted By: Lester Andrist
Tags: capitalism, children/youth, consumption/consumerism, gender, inequality, marketing/brands, gender roles, gender socialization, market economy, market segmentation, toys, 06 to 10 mins
Summary: In this episode from the Australian television series The Checkout, gendered marketing is analyzed and, specifically, the theory of market segmentation is explored. This theory posits that dividing consumers up into smaller groups is good for business; as the video demonstrates, gender is a common criteria upon which companies segment the market and increase the sales of their products. Product elements such as "shape, texture, packaging, logos, verbiage, graphics, sounds, and names [are all used] to define the gender of a brand." For example, Lego company tripled the sales of the same product and boosted their annual global revenue by as much as 25% when they created Lego Friends for girls and building sets and action figures for boys. Similar to children’s toys, companies segment the market by gender when advertising products for adults as well. Among the many examples cited in the video, Dove Company created “For Men” soaps, which have more squared edges than its regular, ellipse-shaped soap bars, packed in grey boxes in order to give a more “macho mystique” to the product. This video can be used in classrooms for explaining the connections between capitalist market economy and gender socialization, and its implications for gender inequalities. The video highlights how gender inequality manifests in the different prices of these products, with "women's products" often costing much more than those marketed toward men. However, viewers can also consider other ways that gendered marketing contributes to gender inequality. For other examples and critiques of gendered marketing on The Sociological Cinema, click here, here, and here. For a collection of pics on gendered marketing, click here.
Submitted By: Nihal Çelik
Tags: commodification, consumption/consumerism, economic sociology, food/agriculture, marx/marxism, theory, commodity fetishm, de-fetishism, local food, 00 to 05 mins, 06 to 10 mins
Length: 2:27; 7:46
Access: YouTube (short version)
YouTube (full version)
Summary: In Marxist theory, commodity fetishism is the process by which people come to see commodities in terms of their physical properties and market value, rather than being derived from the labor and labor conditions that produced it. This is important because it obscures the social relationships between people and reduces commodities to the economic exchange between buyer and seller. Value then falsely appears to be the natural part of that commodity, rather than in the labor that produced it. For example, consider the production and consumption of chicken. In a conventional exchange at the supermarket, consumers know nothing about the labor and conditions that went into producing the chicken. The purely market-based exchange obscures and hides the exploitation and typical industrial farming methods, which are shown in this Food Inc clip or this Samsara clip, making it appear that the value of the chicken comes from the product itself. Local economies, including the local food movement, are often attempts to reverse this process by re-situating economic activity within the social relations that produced it. Through local economies, such as farmers' markets and local handicrafts, consumers can interact directly with local producers and understand the labor process and labor conditions of how goods are produced. In short, it seeks to de-fetishize the commodity. This hilarious clip from Portlandia illustrates these concepts through satire. It shows the main characters ordering a chicken dish in a restaurant, where they inquire about the conditions in which it was raised. For example, they ask about the size of its roaming area, its diet, if it is local and organic, about who is raising the chicken, and if the farmer lives locally. They learn the chicken's name is Colin and are given his "papers." In the full clip, they also travel to the farm where Colin was raised, get a tour, and meet the workers who raised Colin and the other chickens. They end up staying at the farm for 5 years, but then realize the farm is run by a cult, and ultimately return to the restaurant and inquire about the salmon. For related videos, see commodity fetishism illustrated in this Macklemore music video, and de-fetishism through a promotional fair trade video or Chipotle ad.
Submitted By: Paul Dean
Tags: children/youth, crime/law/deviance, discourse/language, gender, immigration/citizenship, inequality, intersectionality, media, prejudice/discrimination, race/ethnicity, sex/sexuality, stereotypes, 06 to 10 mins
Summary: Star Jones briefly hosted a live talk show from August 2007 until February 2008, and in one of the show's segments she covered the story of Kelsey Peterson, a 25-year-old teacher who sexually assaulted her 13-year-old student, who happened to be an undocumented immigrant from Mexico. The above video features a telephone interview, where Jones asks Peterson's attorney, James Martin Davis, whether he believes it is possible for a 13-year-old child to give consent. Martin responds, "I resent the word 'child.' You're baby-fying this kid. This kid is a Latino machismo teenager...Is there anyone in the world who has a higher sex drive than a teenage boy." Jones admonishes Martin for his casual racism and ends the interview. In a follow-up segment, she invites the attorney for the victim, Amy Peck, and scholar Marc Lamont Hill to discuss the racist exchange, as well as the impact of racial thinking on the case. Although Star Jones and her guests largely frame the interview in terms of race, this video offers a nice foray into a larger discussion about how multiple dimensions of inequality intersect to shape the way people experience the criminal justice system and whether victims of crime become the recipients of public sympathy. Jones suggests a useful thought experiment by asking people to imagine that the race and gender of the participants are reversed. The question can be usefully posed: How would the story be discussed and reported by the media and interested parties if the victim was a young white girl and the perpetrator an older Latino man? Also, what difference does it make that the teenager was an undocumented Mexican immigrant, and how might the current discourse surrounding Mexican immigrants shape sympathy for the victim?
Submitted By: Lester Andrist
Tags: prejudice/discrimination, race/ethnicity, internalized racism, respectability politics, stereotypes, subtitles/CC, 00 to 05 mins, 06 to 10 mins
Length: 6:35; 4:43
Access: YouTube (clip 1; clip 2)
Summary: In the wake of the Trayvon Martin case, media debates about crime and problems in African American communities were especially prominent. In the first clip, CNN anchor Don Lemon responds to these discussions with his own ideas about how young Black men can improve their communities and raise their social standing. He suggestions include: “pull up your pants,” stop using the “N word,” “respect where you live” by not littering, “finish school,” and “just because you can have a baby, it doesn’t mean you should.” In the second clip, blogger Jay Smooth responds to Don Lemon’s comments, breaking them down as part of a “politics of respectability.” According to Smooth, Lemon’s comments serve to implicitly blame young Black men for their problems, helping more privileged members of the Black community ameliorate the shame they feel as a result of internalized racism. These clips are useful for class discussions about race, internalized racism, and how racism persists in the context of colorblindness. They are particularly useful for introducing the concept of respectability politics. In the words of Tamara Winfrey Harris, “respectability politics work to counter negative views of blackness by aggressively adopting the manners and morality that the dominant culture deems ‘respectable.’ The approach emerged in reaction to white racism that labeled blackness as ‘other’—degenerate and substandard—with roots in an assimilationist narrative that prevailed in the late-19th-century United States.” Questions for classroom discussion might include: What are other examples of respectability politics that students have observed in communities of color? How does respectability politics function in other minority groups such as immigrant communities, the LGBT community, and people with physical or mental disabilities? What are the consequences of respectability politics (social, political, institutional etc...)?
Submitted By: Anya M. Galli
Tags: capitalism, class, economic sociology, government/the state, inequality, austerity, 06 to 10 mins
Summary: Political power goes hand in hand with who holds the money. Rarely are politicians poor or even "middle class" (a term they like to apply so loosely and broadly). When the political system is dominated by so few (think the 1%), the powers that be are free to use austerity to trim programs that they deem to be of least relevance to their own well-being, leaving the 99% to fend for themselves. Austerity is supposed to be a miracle fix for the economy, but the promises made when cuts are proposed often do not materialize. Moreover, the poor and working class tend to be hardest hit as programs that benefit them are often the first to be cut. This short video by Workers Uniting summarizes austerity in light of the issues confronting the least affluent across the country, including welfare cuts, lowered wages, and unemployment. Canadian economist Armine Yalnizyan states at 4:41, "You can't cut your way into growth," and later refers to the steps being taken as a "fiscal fantasy" given the common belief that cutting programs will magically solve budget deficits and lead to economic growth. Further, Yalnizyan notes that if it were this easy to solve the economic problems of the world, would it be moral to target those programs that assist the have-nots? At 7:07, Robert Kuttner suggests that we remove politicians that advocate austerity, and instead elect those who will bring us "possibility." Government needs to move forward by finding alternative ways to slash deficits and grow the economy without cutting programs that help the underrepresented 99%.
Submitted By: Rebekah Miller
Tags: nationalism, race/ethnicity, theory, color-blindness, ideology, obama, 06 to 10 mins
Summary: Racial ideologies are race-based frameworks for understanding the social world, which either challenge or reinforce the status quo of white privilege. In his book, Racism Without Racists (2013), Bonilla-Silva argues the dominant ideology of today is color-blindness, which views race as no longer important to determining social outcomes and, that by discussing race, we are treating it as if it is a real thing. As a result, we should move beyond race by ignoring it and being color-blind. The problem is that race does continue to shape social outcomes (e.g. in the labor market, wealth, education, interactions with police, and everyday encounters), and by ignoring this--or by being colorblind--we help perpetuate and reinforce the system of racial inequality. The power of this ideology is reflected in this early speech by Obama in March 2008. The speech came after the controversy of Jeremiah Wright, Obama's pastor whose racial remarks became highly scrutinized in national media. In the video here, Obama is encouraging viewers to ignore the issue of race and unite as Americans--to "move beyond these kinds of divisions." In short, he is promoting a color-blind society united through national identity. This is especially interesting in the context of Bonilla-Silva's book because in it, he predicts the future of race relations in the US by drawing upon the examples of Latin America. Amongst other factors, he notes that white supremacy in Latin American (e.g. Brazil) has been maintained through the myth of national unity, which claims that these countries have moved beyond racial divides and are united through national identity. In this speech, Obama makes similar calls to "bring the country together" as "Americans"; he states that "there is no Black America or white America, Asian America, Latino America; there is the United States of America" to great applause from the audience. In the book (Chapter 10), Bonilla-Silva notes the absence of gains made by Obama in regards to race, a topic that is not targeted in his social policies and is almost never addressed publicly (for an important exception, see his comments following the death of Trayvon Martin). In sum, Obama's speech is ideological because it helps to reinforce the system of white privilege; only by examining and discussing racial inequality can we begin to move beyond it.
Submitted By: Paul Dean
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