Alice Goffman’s On The Run: Ethnography in Action!

Alice Goffman’s On the Run: Fugitive Life in America is about young African-American boys and men on the run from the police in Philadelphia. The situation is a product of the United States’ skyrocketing incarceration rates—in the poor undereducated black neighborhood Goffman studies, something like 10% of the young men are incarcerated at any one … Continue reading Alice Goffman’s On The Run: Ethnography in Action!

Karl Marx’s View on Agency and What the Individual Can Do to Effect Social Change

Last Friday, I went to an Education conference to talk about my book Schooling, Bureaucracy, and Childhood: Bureaucratizing the Child. It is a book which emphasizes that questions whether schools can change as fast as school reformers have often wish. The point is to explain that as bureaucracies, schools are embedded in persistent habitus, which … Continue reading Karl Marx’s View on Agency and What the Individual Can Do to Effect Social Change

Hey, I’m Back

Hey, hello. I haven’t been here for a while. For the last year, Tony and Bill have been keeping things running here at ethnography.com while Marianne’s piece, “The McDonaldization of Higher Education” continued to be our top post week after week. You probably also caught Chunyan’s series on the Sociology of food and how we might … Continue reading Hey, I’m Back

Vanity as an Occupational Disease–Of Politicians (and everyone else)!

My wife and I recently completed re-translating Max Weber’s classic essay “Politics as Vocation” which is part of a book Weber’s Rationalism and Modern Society. The essay is about how the nature of politics, which is about the exercise of power, creates the type of human-being who is accustomed to telling other people what to … Continue reading Vanity as an Occupational Disease–Of Politicians (and everyone else)!

On the Culture of Binge Drinking in a Residential College Town

Culture: The values, beliefs, behaviors, and expectations of behaviors or social norms of a given population of humans. Do you know what I find amazing? I find it amazing that I never see people burning couches and cars in the streets of my neighborhood. And I find it amazing that I never find discarded red … Continue reading On the Culture of Binge Drinking in a Residential College Town

Johnny Cash on the Importance of Listening to Your Mama about Open Carry of Guns

In my Criminology class, I used to lecture about "ecological theories" of crime.  For example, the "ecology of bars" lend themselves to violence.  Basically, ecological theory says that if you put together young males, alcohol, and guns, someone is more likely to get hurt than if any one of the tree elements is removed.  Remove … Continue reading Johnny Cash on the Importance of Listening to Your Mama about Open Carry of Guns

Me & Tony Talk About the Corporatization of Higher Ed on Facebook

I like the "On this day" app on facebook. I don't teach anymore but I'm reminded of things I taught or read and what I thought about them, it's good to reflect now that I'm an official "post-ac" (that's a former academic, mostly adjuncts, who got fed up with the b.s. and left academia for greener pastures). … Continue reading Me & Tony Talk About the Corporatization of Higher Ed on Facebook

Student Housing and Ethnic Segregation at Chico State

This is a rather odd post for a blog which typically addresses national and international issues.  This blog is about my own university, Chico State, in California, which has worked very hard to qualify for federal money to be a "Hispanic Serving Institution."  This is a good thing, as California is rapidly changing ethnic composition … Continue reading Student Housing and Ethnic Segregation at Chico State

The Fallacy of “Workforce Ready” in Public Education

The United States was set back on its heels in the 1930s by the Great Depression. As a result, the United States charged the high schools with making the children “workforce ready.” The hope was that the schools could train children for the workforce of tomorrow—i.e. the 1940s—when the manufacturing base of the United States … Continue reading The Fallacy of “Workforce Ready” in Public Education

Here is Why You Should Not Listen to Popular Music–But Will Anyway!

One of my favorite sociological essays is Teodor Adorno’s 1941 “On Popular Music.” Adorno didn’t much like the popular music he heard on the radio in Los Angeles, and said so. He found it simplistic, monotonous, limited and manipulative. With an emphasis on manipulative. For besides being a classically trained musician, Adorno was also a … Continue reading Here is Why You Should Not Listen to Popular Music–But Will Anyway!