This graphic has been going around for a few weeks yet surprisingly with little analysis. A Backstage Sociologist first published it in late April, writing only:

Teaching and learning are not market transactions: They are sacred encounters of soulcraft. This graphic leaves one who teaches social science and the humanities with a heavy heart and despairing about the eventual extinction of well-educated citizens.

I suspect there is more to this chart and part of the soul searching should happen within sociology itself. I see the steep rise in business graduates and perhaps to a lesser extent in the life sciences and communications are partly a development in technology and the reality of the job market. 
One way that sociology might address this is through a stronger focus on applied sociology. Without question, developing the sociological imagination has many personal and professional benefits, as critical thinking can help to improve civic participation and empower us to understand our lives in a broader context.
Then again, if you are a poor or otherwise disadvantaged young person thinking about the debt and other commitments you need to balance, pursuing a degree in sociology can be daunting. We are largely positioned as an academic discipline. There are few academic jobs for our graduates. Market forces may be driving graduates away from social science, but our discipline can be doing much more to demonstrate the applicability of our theories and methods to specific jobs and industries. 
You can read more from my website Sociology at Work, with links to resources that can help provide tangible examples of how sociology students might find work in different industries, and how they might specifically use their degrees. High-res

This graphic has been going around for a few weeks yet surprisingly with little analysis. A Backstage Sociologist first published it in late April, writing only:

Teaching and learning are not market transactions: They are sacred encounters of soulcraft. This graphic leaves one who teaches social science and the humanities with a heavy heart and despairing about the eventual extinction of well-educated citizens.

I suspect there is more to this chart and part of the soul searching should happen within sociology itself. I see the steep rise in business graduates and perhaps to a lesser extent in the life sciences and communications are partly a development in technology and the reality of the job market. 

One way that sociology might address this is through a stronger focus on applied sociology. Without question, developing the sociological imagination has many personal and professional benefits, as critical thinking can help to improve civic participation and empower us to understand our lives in a broader context.

Then again, if you are a poor or otherwise disadvantaged young person thinking about the debt and other commitments you need to balance, pursuing a degree in sociology can be daunting. We are largely positioned as an academic discipline. There are few academic jobs for our graduates. Market forces may be driving graduates away from social science, but our discipline can be doing much more to demonstrate the applicability of our theories and methods to specific jobs and industries.

You can read more from my website Sociology at Work, with links to resources that can help provide tangible examples of how sociology students might find work in different industries, and how they might specifically use their degrees.

When I was still teaching sociology, I was often bemused when some students complained that they had too much reading to do ahead of class. We typically set two journal articles or book chapters as mandatory reading each week (and of course there were additional suggested texts). This level of reading will serve you well throughout your career.
In fact, your applied sociological work is likely to involve lots of reading and synthesis of different materials. Your output may not necessarily mean writing up this information. In all likelihood, you’ll have to provide verbal summaries and visual presentations of what you read. All that undergraduate reading will be invaluable to your career.
Read more on my website, Sociology at Work, a not-for-profit network that supports the career planning and professional development of applied sociologists.
[Text image] Applied sociology expands your ability to evaluate, organise & present new information quickly. High-res

When I was still teaching sociology, I was often bemused when some students complained that they had too much reading to do ahead of class. We typically set two journal articles or book chapters as mandatory reading each week (and of course there were additional suggested texts). This level of reading will serve you well throughout your career.

In fact, your applied sociological work is likely to involve lots of reading and synthesis of different materials. Your output may not necessarily mean writing up this information. In all likelihood, you’ll have to provide verbal summaries and visual presentations of what you read. All that undergraduate reading will be invaluable to your career.

Read more on my website, Sociology at Work, a not-for-profit network that supports the career planning and professional development of applied sociologists.

[Text image] Applied sociology expands your ability to evaluate, organise & present new information quickly.

Clinical sociology is an applied practice that focuses on health intervention, such as working with medical practitioners, community health services, social policy and public health campaigns. Head over to Sociology at Work to read two case studies of how medical sociology is used.
The first example is in informing health and policy work in industrial claims and workers’ compensations. The second example looks at a clinical sociologist who provides career coaching through physical therapy. Finally, there’s a discussion of how you might begin planning a career in clinical sociology.
[Image text] Clinical sociology delivers health intervention. This includes: rehabilitation; counselling; mediation; community services; case management; social policy research; & public health campaigns. High-res

Clinical sociology is an applied practice that focuses on health intervention, such as working with medical practitioners, community health services, social policy and public health campaigns. Head over to Sociology at Work to read two case studies of how medical sociology is used.

The first example is in informing health and policy work in industrial claims and workers’ compensations. The second example looks at a clinical sociologist who provides career coaching through physical therapy. Finally, there’s a discussion of how you might begin planning a career in clinical sociology.

[Image text] Clinical sociology delivers health intervention. This includes: rehabilitation; counselling; mediation; community services; case management; social policy research; & public health campaigns.

In this video, I discuss the careers panel that I sat on as part of the annual conference for The Australian Sociological Association (TASA). I focus on the panel discussion about how to translate theory into practice when you’re working outside academia. I also cover workplace ethics in the video, as well issues about managing professional identity outside of academia and the importance of networking. I was asked about how I manage my research consultancy business. I talk about how to market yourself and how to establish a professional reputation with prospective clients using social media.

Read a summary of the video on Sociology at Work.

Presenting your research at your first academic conference can be daunting to students. On Sociology at Work, I’ve republished an article where I reflected on what it was like for me. I was dreading the idea of “networking,” because at the time it conjured the idea of handing out business cards and forced small talk. In reality, that first conference led to many long-standing relationships that have supported my career. I met both my future thesis supervisors, and I forged friendships with many other students with whom I later collaborated on publications. I also met various mentors who would later help me as I progressed from student to early career researcher. 
Read more about why conferences can be important to meeting students’ needs. 
[Image text] Networking at conferences is vital to students: Meet researchers; Hear about other fields; Create ties with new colleagues. High-res

Presenting your research at your first academic conference can be daunting to students. On Sociology at Work, I’ve republished an article where I reflected on what it was like for me. I was dreading the idea of “networking,” because at the time it conjured the idea of handing out business cards and forced small talk. In reality, that first conference led to many long-standing relationships that have supported my career. I met both my future thesis supervisors, and I forged friendships with many other students with whom I later collaborated on publications. I also met various mentors who would later help me as I progressed from student to early career researcher. 

Read more about why conferences can be important to meeting students’ needs. 

[Image text] Networking at conferences is vital to students: Meet researchers; Hear about other fields; Create ties with new colleagues.

lookslikelibraryscience:

I’m Tanvi Rastogi, Youth Services Librarian at the Hunterdon County Library in NJ. Armed with a BA in Sociology, I decided to pursue librarianship because I believed in the idea of equal access to info; it wasn’t until after my first library job (as a shelver!) that my like of books evolved into a full-blown love.  Now reading for me is as easy and urgent as breathing and loving.  Every day I hope to share that excitement with kids and their parents.I love all aspects of my job, but one of my favorite parts of each day is that moment of utter quiet just before I flip off the lights in the children’s department, when all the patrons have left for the night and the room is entirely mine.  My library is, as Robert Cormier would have it, truly my treasure house.

lookslikelibraryscience:

I’m Tanvi Rastogi, Youth Services Librarian at the Hunterdon County Library in NJ. Armed with a BA in Sociology, I decided to pursue librarianship because I believed in the idea of equal access to info; it wasn’t until after my first library job (as a shelver!) that my like of books evolved into a full-blown love.  Now reading for me is as easy and urgent as breathing and loving.  Every day I hope to share that excitement with kids and their parents.

I love all aspects of my job, but one of my favorite parts of each day is that moment of utter quiet just before I flip off the lights in the children’s department, when all the patrons have left for the night and the room is entirely mine.  My library is, as Robert Cormier would have it, truly my treasure house.

On our latest blog post, I discuss managing ethics in the workplace. Within academia, you can’t conduct research without ethics approval from your university. Outside of academia, some research organisations will have ethics protocols in place, but most workplaces are unlikely to stipulate ethics in the way we see it in sociology. Ethics is more than just doing what we think is right. Sociological ethics is about following the consensus of our discipline.This includes:  a code of professional integrity; guidelines for how to carry out, use and communicate our findings; protocols for how to manage relationships with research participants, clients, stakeholders and funding organisations; and our rights and obligations to all living beings, resources and the communities involved in and impacted by our work. Read more on how to manage ethics in the workplace over on our blog. High-res

On our latest blog post, I discuss managing ethics in the workplace. Within academia, you can’t conduct research without ethics approval from your university. Outside of academia, some research organisations will have ethics protocols in place, but most workplaces are unlikely to stipulate ethics in the way we see it in sociology. Ethics is more than just doing what we think is right. Sociological ethics is about following the consensus of our discipline.This includes:  a code of professional integrity; guidelines for how to carry out, use and communicate our findings; protocols for how to manage relationships with research participants, clients, stakeholders and funding organisations; and our rights and obligations to all living beings, resources and the communities involved in and impacted by our work. Read more on how to manage ethics in the workplace over on our blog.


The humanities — history, literature, languages, art, philosophy — and the social sciences focus on the lasting challenges relevant to all of us: creating lives of purpose and meaning, appreciating diversity and complexity, communicating effectively with others and overcoming adversity. Ultimately, our ability to work meaningfully with others will determine the success of our enterprises, and that ability is honed through the humanities and social sciences.
 That is why the humanities and social sciences are an essential part of undergraduate education. Most successful careers, including in technology and engineering, do not result simply from technical knowledge. They require leadership skills, social and emotional intelligence, cultural understanding, a capacity for strategic decision-making and a global perspective. Put another way, success in life requires a sensibility about the world and one’s place in it that the humanities seek to cultivate, as well as an understanding of economic and societal context that the social sciences provide. - Mary Sue Coleman, president of the University of Michigan, and John Hennessy president of Stanford University.

Photo: Dream & Reality by cohoo 郑凯夫 on Flickr.
Source of text: Washington Post. High-res

The humanities — history, literature, languages, art, philosophy — and the social sciences focus on the lasting challenges relevant to all of us: creating lives of purpose and meaning, appreciating diversity and complexity, communicating effectively with others and overcoming adversity. Ultimately, our ability to work meaningfully with others will determine the success of our enterprises, and that ability is honed through the humanities and social sciences.


That is why the humanities and social sciences are an essential part of undergraduate education. Most successful careers, including in technology and engineering, do not result simply from technical knowledge. They require leadership skills, social and emotional intelligence, cultural understanding, a capacity for strategic decision-making and a global perspective.

Put another way, success in life requires a sensibility about the world and one’s place in it that the humanities seek to cultivate, as well as an understanding of economic and societal context that the social sciences provide.

- Mary Sue Coleman, president of the University of Michigan, and John Hennessy president of Stanford University.

Photo: Dream & Reality by cohoo 郑凯夫 on Flickr.

Source of text: Washington Post.


Anthropologists complain about politics and the media, but they rarely engage with either. Then they wonder why their voices are not being heard. The most obvious way anthropologists can increase their influence is by writing online. I don’t mean writing in places like Anthropology News — where you have to pay an exorbitant membership fee to leave a comment – but on real blogs, on Twitter, on mainstream media sites, and in open access journals. Publishing reprints of paywalled articles is also a good idea, and is usually legal after a period of time. I did an interview about the benefits of reprinting journal articles online with Academia.edu, which you can read here. Anthropologists tend to forget that tenets basic to our discipline – for example, that race is a social construct and not a biological determinant of behavior – come as revelations to a lot of people. Issues of racial and religious discrimination are among the many areas where anthropologists can have a powerful voice.

Sarah Kendzior, PhD in Anthropology and writer for Al Jazeera English. Source of text: Savage Minds. Photo: Portrait by ►CubaGallery on Flickr. High-res

Anthropologists complain about politics and the media, but they rarely engage with either. Then they wonder why their voices are not being heard. The most obvious way anthropologists can increase their influence is by writing online. I don’t mean writing in places like Anthropology News — where you have to pay an exorbitant membership fee to leave a comment – but on real blogs, on Twitter, on mainstream media sites, and in open access journals. Publishing reprints of paywalled articles is also a good idea, and is usually legal after a period of time. I did an interview about the benefits of reprinting journal articles online with Academia.edu, which you can read here.

Anthropologists tend to forget that tenets basic to our discipline – for example, that race is a social construct and not a biological determinant of behavior – come as revelations to a lot of people. Issues of racial and religious discrimination are among the many areas where anthropologists can have a powerful voice.

Sarah Kendzior, PhD in Anthropology and writer for Al Jazeera English.

Source of text: Savage Minds.

Photo: Portrait by ►CubaGallery on Flickr.

The Academics, Content Trollers and Plagiarizers Have Made Me Tired…

gradientlair:

I’ve previously discussed the content trolling and plagiarism that made me have to post a Content Use Policy on my blog in regards to my writing. Both of these situations are very stressful, disrespectful and degrading. (And no, I am not “flattered" by exploitation.) But there’s a third situation that arises. It is not as bad as these two but it doesn’t leave me feeling very well either. 

It’s the academics.

Almost from this blog’s inception (which is only May 2012; it may seem like this particular blog of mine has existed forever but it hasn’t; it’s not my first blog ever either, but it’s also not very old itself) I have had academics after me for content. I’m asked about content daily/weekly. I am not exaggerating here.

Now this surprises me because unlike blogging for page clicks, ad revenue and attention type of White feminists and White-owned mainstream publications, academics are theoretically supposed to, I dunno, know the things that I know? I don’t understand why anything on my blog would have them in such a frenzy of desire. I feel like…me with my lowly Master’s degree compared to their doctorates (as no doctoral program wants me as of yet) shouldn’t be writing something so off the wall and so out of their world while they are in their doctoral programs, post-doctoral work or are professors of some sort. Really? So my responses to say…bell hooks or Patricia Hill Collins are things that never crossed their minds within doctoral programs or as professors? (And I know having a Master’s degree is literacy/education privilege out of the wazoo, but let’s be clear that it doesn’t always mean social status or middle class privilege for Black people.)

And I know, I know, the anti-formal education folks will say "well having a degree doesn’t mean that you are smart"  which is true, but I don’t think it’s always this simple. I am not talking about “smart” versus “not smart” here. I am wondering why the “ZOMG your blog!” reactions are coming from people who I presume have read, studied, and analyzed the same things that I have. Now certain topics they may have not explored like I have on beauty, street harassment or certain media critiques. But the essays on race/gender/feminism are really the source of intellectual cumming like this? It makes me wonder why the fuck are they accepted in their doctoral programs while some have told me no. My work is good enough to be cited in their work or taught in their classrooms but not good enough for me to be accepted in a doctoral program or get a teaching job? And then I am supposed to be flattered by all of this?

To be clear, I never started this blog for attention (introvert here), for fame (again, muthafuckin’ introvert here), for money (do you see ad revenue on my blog? Am I owned by a larger, White owned publication? Other than small donations, do I get a regular check here?), or for a job (do you see me shoving my work in everyone’s face or are people after me?). At the same time, bills gotta be paid. Why does everyone get to build their work and dreams on my work while I worry about gathering money for application fees to give one more try at doctoral applications since last fall was a bust? As I worry about bills. As I know that a degree = struggle and no degree = really fucking struggle for a lot of Black women? And then, when I have the audacity to critique all of this, I am the one called “selfish,” a “capitalist,” “seeking White approval” and plenty of other insults. 

And I get it. Most academics (most, not all, as some are content trollers and plagiarizers while being academics) mean well when they want to plaster my content—content that they should actually be able to create themselves no less—all over their classrooms, workshops, panels and whatever. They aren’t trying to hurt me. And in reference to White academics, they are not individually responsible for the inequality that puts me where I am but puts them where they are, even if they benefit from that inequality. I am not saying that White privilege is individually their fault at all times; it’s a result of a collective system. (They still need to check their fucking privilege before asking me questions like this and realize that even when they think that they are giving me a compliment, they are simply reminding me of inequality.) It takes multiple individuals, structures and institutions to make the academe the great place and the blithering cesspool that it is, because it’s surely both all of the time.

I talked to my best friend about all of this last night and being the good friend that she is, she listened and understood my frustration. She even mentioned putting certain content behind a pay wall but the truth is that a pay wall barricades my writing from the people I most want to read my blog, not academics who are used to content pay walls.

And it is not that I don’t want to share. If I didn’t, Gradient Lair wouldn’t exist. (I also note positive incidents of sharing via my Gradient Lair Around The Web posts and I share others’ writing via Read This Week.) I am just tired of being demanded to be flattered by people using my work to build their careers when all I receive are the insults, attacks and bigoted, oppressive comments. And sure, there are good comments too. But after a while, the daily/weekly contact from academics is tiring to my spirit and exhausting overall (especially when you add this to the worse actions of content trolling and plagiarizing by others). I don’t always feel flattered or happy about it, especially when it feels like people taking bricks I made to build themselves houses that I am not invited to live in or even visit.

I and any other writer stands on the shoulders of writers and scholars who came before us. True. Thus, I don’t mean to suggest that I am inventing a wheel and wheel-less wheelbarrow owners want my wheels. It’s just sometimes being a writer—especially when the things I write are often my life and a matter of life and death in all honesty—feels like being a dead carcass where content trolling is the punches before the guns, plagiarism is the gun/bullets and academics are the vultures picking off whatever is left of my flesh. I am always asked for something. I am never offered anything. 

So what’s the answer? Well the former two, content trolling and plagiarism I cannot prevent or control. People enjoy harming and exploiting Black and other women of colour’s work in the same way that they enjoy cultural appropriation, and for the same reasons. In terms of academics though, I dunno what to tell them. In my Content Use Policy I outlined that they can use the content and cite each post appropriately without contacting me for permission. Only if the content is to be used on a panel/project would they need to let me know. But they contact me almost daily anyway. They gush with compliments that I am supposed to orgasm over yet vaginal dryness that rivals the Atacama Desert commences. I am always supposed to be happy over this but I feel a range of nothing to sadness to rage to more sadness. I feel tired. 

I think I realized that a certain end date will come to Gradient Lair. I am not sure when. But when other Black women and some other women of colour told me that they stopped blogging or abruptly stopped, I get it. I always miss them dearly but I always 100% understand. I may eventually join them.


We must remember that intelligence is not enough. Intelligence plus character- that is the goal of true education.”

- Dr Martin Luther King.
Dr Martin Luther King Jr was born on the 15th of January 1929. Our American colleagues and others might know that King had a degree in sociology and theology (of course!). As the Blackwell Encyclopaedia of Sociology notes, King remains “a public sociologist par excellence.” In celebration of the passing birthday of this pre-eminent sociologist and progressive activist, I made you this, with one of my favourite quotes by King. Here, he argues that education is not simply about accumulating knowledge, but rather to develop a sense of morality based upon principles of social justice and then acting upon these values.
As an applied and public sociologist, we can see how Luther’s sociological training influenced his “change management” leadership style, which David Frantz describes as:

building a vision, networking, communicating powerfully, identifying and dealing with differences, creating leverage to motivate people, and conceptualizing alternative strategic paths. (p.157)

If you’re still studying sociology and you wonder what you can do with a sociology degree, think about King as a model for what applied sociologists can achieve outside academia. 
Read more on Sociology at Work. High-res

We must remember that intelligence is not enough. Intelligence plus character- that is the goal of true education.”

- Dr Martin Luther King.

Dr Martin Luther King Jr was born on the 15th of January 1929. Our American colleagues and others might know that King had a degree in sociology and theology (of course!). As the Blackwell Encyclopaedia of Sociology notes, King remains “a public sociologist par excellence.” In celebration of the passing birthday of this pre-eminent sociologist and progressive activist, I made you this, with one of my favourite quotes by King. Here, he argues that education is not simply about accumulating knowledge, but rather to develop a sense of morality based upon principles of social justice and then acting upon these values.

As an applied and public sociologist, we can see how Luther’s sociological training influenced his “change management” leadership style, which David Frantz describes as:

building a vision, networking, communicating powerfully, identifying and dealing with differences, creating leverage to motivate people, and conceptualizing alternative strategic paths. (p.157)

If you’re still studying sociology and you wonder what you can do with a sociology degree, think about King as a model for what applied sociologists can achieve outside academia. 

Read more on Sociology at Work.

Here’s a reflection about what it was like when I first left academia to work on political #sociology: “The Lofty Symbolism Of The Philosopher’s Stone: Working Outside Academia As A Sociologist Of Migration, Ethnicity And Multiculturalism”View Postshared via WordPress.com High-res

Here’s a reflection about what it was like when I first left academia to work on political #sociology: “The Lofty Symbolism Of The Philosopher’s Stone: Working Outside Academia As A Sociologist Of Migration, Ethnicity And Multiculturalism”

View Post

shared via WordPress.com

This is a round up of the social protests in Bahrain from the 15-18th of December. Above is a video of Bahrain human rights activist, Zainab Alkhawaja, being roughly arrested on Thursday 15th of Dec. Alkhawaja blogs about political topics at Angry Arabia. At the time of her arrest, she was conducting a peaceful protest for Occupy Budaiya Street (in solidarity with the global Occupy Wall Street movement).

In the video above, Alkhawaja is seen sitting alone on the ground of a main street of Manama, Bahrain’s capital city. Up until she was picked up by police (literally hoisted off the ground), Alkhawaja was tweeting that the riot police seemed not to know what to do with the protesters’ pacifist tactics.

Robert Mackey, from The Lede  (The New York Times) reports that Alkhawaja had recently given a couple of high profile media interviews with ‘Western’ journalists Nicholas Kristof (NYT) and The Lede where she was highly critical of the Bahrain Government’s human rights violations and their lack of regard for civil liberties. A second woman activist was arrested along with Alkhawaja. The Lede further reports that a Times journalist captured photographs of other peaceful women activists being tear gassed by police later on Thursday evening.

On the 15th of Dec, Freedom House reported that a third activist had been arrested. Freedom House is calling for the protesters’ release. Daniel Calingaert, vice president for policy and external relations at Freedom House, says:

The fact that these arrests took place while U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Michael Posner is visiting the country raises serious questions about the royal family’s commitment to respect human rights… The Obama administration should base its engagement with the Bahraini government on its actions, not the words in a report.

Since then and in large part due to Alkhawaja’s arrest, the protest has grown considerably. Protesters have maintained a pacifist approach, with police using tear gas intermittently. Nicholas Kristof reports in the New York Times that tear gas is used routinely on citizens, and that it is being supplied by private American companies. Kristof says: ‘America’s best known export here in Bahrain is tear gas’.
Much of the riot police aggression is being reported upon via Twitter.
On the 16th of Dec tweeted this picture of a woman standing defiant as the protesters at the Abu Saiba roundabout were tear gassed.
image

On the 17th of Dec at 11:30 pm Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST), Bahraini journalist tweeted that hundreds of protesters were conducting a peaceful sit-in along the Budaiya Highway. Mahdi also tweeted this picture:

image

On 18th of Dec at 12:13am AEST, tweeted that the protesters were mostly women.

Around the same time, tweeted this picture of a protester holding up flowers to the riot police.

image

Also on the 18th, around 6am AEST, tweeted ‘Is this what they consider threatening? a picture 10 minutes before the attack’, with the following pic:

image

Still on the 18th Dec, 613pm AEST: EA WorldView posted this chilling video of police throwing gas and brutally hitting protesters. Warning - the violence is graphic and age-restricted on YouTube. Banijamrah News posted another video of various scenes where peaceful protesters are attacked with gas and also where protesters fight back at the police by throwing stones.

630pm AEST: posted a video of more tear gas being thrown on protesters, whom he says are chanting the word ‘peaceful’ in the background.

It is an absolute understatement to say how badly we need an applied sociological analysis of police behaviour during protests. The current global patterns from the USA, Australia, Russia, Wukan (China), Egypt and many other places are strikingly similar.

Credits:

Links to Alkhawaja’s arrest video and The Lede report via: