Tags: emotion/desire, knowledge, psychology/social psychology,, theory, cognitive sociology, cultural sociology, eviatar zerubavel, morality, stanley cohen, 06 to 10 mins
Access: New York Times
Summary: "These allegations are false. I… didn't… do those things," says Jerry Sandusky in this interview with New York Times's reporter Jo Becker. Within just the last several weeks, sexual molestation allegations have been issued against former Penn State assistant football coach, Jerry Sandusky, and former Syracuse associate head basketball coach, Bernie Fine. Both men adamantly deny the charges. Former Republican presidential candidate, Herman Cain, has also been entangled in a high profile case of denial, asserting that he never engaged in sexual misconduct with four women (two have come out publicly), or had a 13 year affair with another woman. While all these men are innocent until otherwise proven guilty under the American justice system, the spectacle of it all offers a nice window through which to explore the sociology of denial. While studies of denial have traditionally been housed in the discipline of psychology, some scholars have sought to integrate sociological insights into the study of this enduring human phenomenon. Sociologists such as Stanley Cohen (States of Denial) and Eviatar Zerubavel (The Elephant in the Room: Silence and Denial in Everyday Life) offer an analysis of denial that explores how sociological factors such as human interaction, cultural meaning-making processes, and hierarchical power structures contribute to instances of denial in society. Students can be encouraged to apply these sociological insights to the current spectacles taking place, as well as reflect on the social consequences of denial and silences around wrongdoings. To see another clip from The Sociological Cinema that explores a human phenomenon typically conceived as individualistic and purely psychological from a sociological perspective, click here.
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