Earlier today I spoke on a careers panel at the #postgraduate day for The Australian Sociological Association. I’ll do a full post on this later but for now I wanted to share a couple of the questions we were asked. These ranged from specifics like how to set up a business to broader questions about how to manage #ethics and how to maintain a professional identity. One of the key themes from the panellists was learning to translate #theory into practice and networking. I spoke about writing for your future clients via a specialist blog and using #SocialMedia. #sociology #visualsociology #career #work #students #monashuniversity
This video by Eddie G provides an engaging Mexican-American introduction to El Día de los Muertos/ Day of the Dead. Eddie G captures how one community celebrates the dead, as just one step in the “pyramid of life.” In describing the symbolism of the colours of a symbolic altar, one woman says:
[In Spanish] The yellow is the beginning of life. The red is the momentum of the blood. Green represents settling down, starting a family, working, and helping the community. Blue represents the sky. The elders reminiscing and talking about their memories. That’s all we have left. The top is white. That’s death.
The Day of the Dead has grown in popularity in the United States and in other places outside Mexico. Non-Mexicans may be attracted to the colourful costumes, the skulls, face-painting and the “cool” allure of death. Yet the significance of this spiritual festival is more than just about death. It is a symbol of post-colonial struggles and a celebration of life.
Education researchers Dafina Lazarus Stewart and Adele Lozano see that the Day of the Dead is an important tradition that can help introduce students to intercultural experiences. In particular, it is an opportunity to learn about Mexican culture and draw connections between cultures of resistance amongst various other Latin American traditions, as well as a way to better understand the links between various Latin youth social movements around the world. The researchers write:
The concept of resistance is an important cultural/ political aspect of Día de los Muertos. Although the Latina/o population consists of diverse groups, most share a history of colonialism and oppression. It is commonly believed that Indigenous populations in Mexico refused to back down when the Spanish colonisers tried to force them to relinquish their annual Día de los Muertos ritual (Brandes, 1998). Many Latina/o college students are aware of this spirit of resistance and may draw parallels to their own struggles to pursue higher education in the face of institutional racism, financial hardships, and marginalisation within the academy. Día de los Muertos can serve to empower students as they recognize the importance of resistance, connect with their spiritual selves, and reaffirm the value of their cultural traditions…
The researchers note that to an outsider, the Day of the Dead seems to hold a morbid fascination with death and the occult. In fact, this festival actually draws on symbols of duality and profound spirituality, both of which are central to Mexican culture: “death is viewed as a continuation of life through the open acknowledgement of the reality of a spiritual, nonmaterial existence.”
Video: Oh Em Gee, It’s Eddie G.
- Source: zeezeescorner
An international survey of 4,341 students finds 20% prefer to do postgraduate studies in USA; 12% prefer the UK; 8% Australia; and 6% each for Canada & Germany. In terms of cities, the biggest proportion seek to study in New York (15%), followed by London (11%). Most students are motivated to study abroad thinking job prospects in their fields might be increased. Cultural diversity and entertainment were secondary draw cards to big cities, with Sydney being cited as attractive for a beach lifestyle.
My research on international students in Australia finds many are disillusioned by their experience because they cannot find jobs at the end of their degree and they feel isolated. I suggest better support systems and policies are needed to better guide international students.
- Source: zeezeescorner
Obiageli EzekwesiliBy SaharaReporters, New York.
Oby Ezekwesili, a former Vice-President (Africa) of the World Bank who retired a few months ago, has expressed devastation at the killing of students in Mubi and Port Harcourt in the past week.
- Reblogged from saharareporters
The Atlantic has featured the work of an American sociology postgrad, Esther Kim, who rode Greyhound buses for two years. Kim’s ethnographic research focuses on how passengers adhere to unspoken rules of public behaviour: remain quiet, don’t make eye contact, and don’t sit next to undesirable people who are “crazy”, “smelly”, overweight or loud. The article discusses Kim’s application of Erving Goffman’s theory of symbolic interactionism. This is a framework to understand the way in which people convey social meaning through verbal or unspoken visual cues or rituals. In this case, by positioning one’s body so as to exude a message of “don’t talk to me”, Greyhound passengers actively try to create a measure of privacy for themselves within a confined public space. People who break these unspoken social norms of behaviour are confronted by other passengers. This short article does not focus on a critique of what makes these so-called undesirable companions, but I hope the published journal article in Symbolic Interaction will take this up.
Kim’s work studies this form of long-distance public transportation as a place for social isolation. The management of public space is interesting to understand, because it is a facet of everyday life that often goes on unexamined. Our behaviour in public spaces rests on unspoken assumptions and interpersonal policing of social norms that are not enshrined formally by law. Most of us learn the rules for public behaviour at a young age and we don’t necessarily question why these rules exist or their social consequences. In the case of Kim’s work, social isolation leads to disengagement with others.
Via: The Atlantic.
- Source: zeezeescorner
Producing, dealing with, and surviving a manuscript; a message to authors beginning to scale a mountain.
I want to post this as I am in the final stages of proof reading my manuscript. The publishers have sent it back to me for checking as they prepare to send it to press.
I think for even the most aloof student there is always that lingering knowledge that when you do a PhD, you are basically writing a book. The truth is that you are writing something ‘book length’, you are proving your skill at managing a cogent argument over upwards of 80,000 words. The truth of the matter is that turning a PhD thesis into a book is a miraculous feat.
I never really entertained the idea that my doctoral research would become the basis for a book. However, when the examiners both stressed that the material was worthy of publication, I took it to heart. I realised that if I was going to transform my thesis into a book it would be a mammoth task. I felt knowing the scale of the task would enable me to endure the rough terrain with greater resolve. In part I was right, I did however underestimate the conceptual shift of the task.
I made massive efforts to redraft the text so it was more accessible, less defensive, and more characteristic of a book than a thesis. after the best part of 18 months I had mostly achieved this. But about a third of the text was too academic and needed to be refreshed and made accessible. This is when I embraced on supplementary research and injected some fresh perspective into the text.
In truth the process of reproducing a manuscript from a PhD is pretty much like doing another PhD. It is hard work and you do not have the same structure of support or guarantee of a final award.
William Germano’s book about how to get ‘serious books’ published was a huge aid. I recommend this whole heartedly to anyone considering a similar endeavour. I also encourage you to carefully consider some of his polemic wording. In the melodrama, there is much experience and good advice. I also got some excellent feedback from other academics, people who had actually published books. Their insights were invaluable.
I shall also make a post soon that gives a basic walkthrough of what the process encompassed so people learn a bit of the mystery of how a bunch of ideas become a book you actually hold.
- Reblogged from everydayhybridity
My latest journal article: Context and outcomes of intercultural education amongst international students in Australia. Published by Intercultural Education:
International students represent a large economic and international relations investment for Australia. Australian universities are increasingly relying upon overseas students for their revenue, but these institutions are not adequately addressing the special learning, linguistic, cultural and religious needs of these students. Despite their Australian education, international students experience various difficulties in finding work in their field of study after they graduate. Poor English-language, communication and problem-solving skills are the biggest obstacles to securing ongoing and satisfying jobs. Employer biases regarding international students are equally a problem. This paper provides a demographic context of the international student population in Australia and it also addresses the gaps impeding their full social participation in Australian educational institutions. This paper argues that a stronger focus on the socialisation of international students is likely to increase their educational and career satisfaction. Educational providers would better serve international students by focusing on practical learning, career-planning and reinforcing the social and cultural skills valued by Australian employers.
Los estudiantes internacionales representan una gran inversión económica así como de relaciones internacionales para Australia. Las universidades Australianas dependen financieramente cada vez mas del ingreso de estudiantes de ultramar, sin embargo no responden adecuadamente a las necesidades culturales, lingüísticas y religiosas de estos estudiantes. No obstante su formación universitaria, los estudiantes internacionales encuentran barreras para la obtención de empleo en su campo profesional luego de su graduación en universidades australianas. Este artículo presenta el contexto demográfico general de la población estudiantil internacional en Australia e identifica las barreras para su integración social. El argumento central en el presente artículo es que una mayor atención a la organización social de estos estudiantes puede no solamente mejorar su satisfacción educacional sino también profesional. Las instituciones educativas Australianas podrían ofrecer mejores servicios a los estudiantes internacionales si avocaran recursos para el entrenamiento de habilidades prácticas que ayudaran a estos estudiantes a planear su carrera y mejorar sus capacidades sociales y culturales.
Read my article via the publisher.
The Bourdieu tradition lives on…
Over the past two decades in the United States, there has been a new wave of criticism of higher education. Much of it has condemned the rise of “academic capitalism” and the corporatization of the university; a substantial wing has focused on the deteriorating conditions of academic labor; and some of it has pointed out the problems of students and their escalating debt. A good deal of this new work comes from literary and cultural critics, although it also includes those from education, history, sociology, and labor studies. This wave constitutes what Heather Steffen, a graduate student in literary and cultural studies with whom I have worked at Carnegie Mellon University, and I think is an emerging field of “critical university studies.”
Often criticism of the university seems a scattershot enterprise. A scholar from almost any discipline might have something to say about higher education, but it’s usually an occasional piece that’s a sideline from normal work. There is, of course, a sizable body of scholarship coming from the field of education, but it largely deals with elementary and secondary schooling. Or it follows established scholarly channels; for instance, it might gather and present data about the student body, or it could deal with administration, or fill in a segment of the history, sociology, or financing of education.
In contrast, this new wave in higher education looks beyond the confines of particular specializations and takes a resolutely critical perspective. Part of its task is scholarly, reporting on and analyzing changes besetting higher education, but it goes a step further and takes a stand against some of those changes, notably those contributing to the “unmaking of the public university,” in the words of the literary critic Christopher Newfield.
To give it a name recognizes that it has attained significant mass and signals a gathering place for those considering similar work. “Critical” indicates the new work’s oppositional stance, similar to approaches like critical legal studies, critical race studies, critical development studies, critical food studies, and so on, that focuses on the ways in which current practices serve power or wealth and contribute to injustice or inequality rather than social hope. “Studies” picks up its cross-disciplinary character, focused on a particular issue and drawing on research from any relevant area to approach the problem. “University” outlines its field of reference, which includes the discourse of “the idea of the university” as well as the actual practices and diverse institutions of contemporary higher education…
While those of us affiliated with critical university studies tack to a progressive ideal of free and open public education, teaching the university does not presuppose any political position. Instead, it puts the issue in front of students for them to question, investigate, and judge. After all, they are not only the subject of higher education but will soon be our citizenry, so they might more knowledgeably decide what system they want, how it might promote an enhanced public life, and how it might contribute to the flourishing of those who pass through its classrooms, quads, and online portals.
By Jeffrey J. Williams.
- Source: chronicle.com
Hundreds of students from Tucson’s Cholla, Pueblo and Wakefield high schools are walking out today, in protest of the book ban and TUSD’s decision to shut down the Mexican American Studies program.
In an amazing lack of foresight, Arizona’s politicians have managed to piss off an entire generation of young brown people who are getting very good at organizing and will also soon be voting. In five years Arizona will be a very different place. And I can’t wait. Que vivan l@s estudiantes!
In lak’ech: tú eres mi otro yo. Si te hago daño a ti, Me hago daño a mí mismo. Sí te amo y respeto, Me amo y respeto yo.
Photo: DA Morales
Darwin’s Finches - Developmental biology graduate student
“San shaman piece with humans transitioning in and out of bovid (impala, etc.) forms”. Paleoanthropologist (physical anthropology)
Dromaeosaur - Programmer.
None of my tattoos are specifically about sociology (they are mostly tattoos of my favourite artists), but I got them to celebrate big life events, including three relating to my career as a sociologist: the completion of my Honours thesis, the end of my PhD, and the beginning of my career as an applied sociologist. More on the sociology of tattoos to come.
- Source: zeezeescorner
Shit Scientists Say
I’m a little tired of the “Shit ____ Say/Don’t Say” meme already, but I’ll make an exception for this one. It’s mildly hilarious.
Pretty good parody video. “In conclusion more research is required” (ha!).
Part of the joke in this video is the little regard some scientists have for treating living beings empathically and ethically, instead referring to animals and people as disposable tools: “Do you have an extra monkey?” “Hey, you got an extra undergrad?”. And feeling superior to everything and everyone: “She keeps talking about her Nature paper, but she was only the third author”. “I mean there’s science and then there’s social science”.
Funnily enough apart from this remark, the only science portrayed in this video are the natural sciences. Yes, this is a reflection of the producers of the video (who may be natural scientists doing a parody), but this is also indicative of how science is constructed in the public imagination. Plus on Tumblr I might add: the science and social science tags are separate, though I’ve yet to see social science show up in the science stream. (Also our thread has no editors, which I know some other sociologists have pointed out.)
Before we sociologists get up on our moral high horse about scientific superiority, I have heard some amazing derision amongst our peers, particularly from senior academics putting down applied sociologists.
Where does all this science holier-than-thou-shit come from? Read Bourdieu Homo Academicus, where he talks about how scientific disciplines structure knowledge, status and symbolic power. Here’s a clue, where Bourdieu quotes Hobbes: "Reputation of power is power".
Ahh science, science, where for art thou science…
I’d like to see a sociologist do something similar - ‘dance your PhD’. This is a video by a biology postgrad: Selection of a DNA aptamer for homocysteine using SELEX. PhD by Maureen McKeague.
“Dance Your Ph.D” - source
I don’t even know.
- Reblogged from monicamelquiades
- Reblogged from theeconomist
In answer to your questions:
What have your experiences in the field of sociology been like?
Sociology is my passion and my work experiences have been varied and wonderful! I worked as a research assistant and teacher at an Australian university while I was completing my PhD. I worked on lots of different projects and I would recommend you do the same (either as a volunteer or in a paid position) so you can work out what you are interested in. With respect to my work as a researcher, I started off working as a Computer Assisted Telephone Interviewer (CATI). This is the type of work you would start off doing if you wanted to go into marketing/social marketing, but I actually worked for a research centre on a survey of ‘public good’ (what the public thought about the Australian government privatising all of our public utilities). I also worked on other projects for a Sociology Professor (on big businesses and biotechnology issues). At the same time, I taught various undergraduate subjects that helped me to strengthen how I communicated my own ideas and research. It was also a good way to become comfortable with being in front of audiences.
The year after I completed my PhD I worked as a sociology lecturer and as a research assistant for a Social Marketing Professor (on a project on public information campaigns for welfare recipients). I love teaching and I would encourage students to give it a go at least once, but ultimately I decided academia was not for me. It’s very tough on early career sociologists. It’s very competitive because most sociologists want to be academics and there aren’t many positions. Despite the fact that I’d already been teaching for four years, I was a new PhD graduate, and as such, I was competing with people with far longer postdoctoral experience. If you want to have an academic career, you can generally expect to work for at least a couple of years on temporary contracts and this wasn’t something that suited me.
I ended up deciding to do something completely crazy and so I applied for a tonne of jobs in many different fields where sociologists don’t usually work. I was pleasantly surprised that many industries are hungry for sociologists, so I had lots of places from which to choose.
In the end, I went into the Australian public service. I have worked as a researcher and analyst in government for the past six years. I found this work really fantastic and challenging. I worked in an interdisciplinary team, mostly with mathematicians, computer scientists, and natural scientists. It was tough but intellectually very rewarding. You get to have a direct impact on how social policies are generated which is fantastic, but it’s not always easy because I constantly had to ‘translate’ sociological ideas for policy workers and specialists from other areas who think about the world really differently. That was the hardest thing, but this is also the best part of the job, because it kept me on my toes.
Where did you go to school?
I went to Swinburne University in Melbourne, Australia, which has a very small but highly dedicated sociology department. I did all of my undergraduate and postgraduate studies there. The intimate nature really suited me. It gave me the opportunity to get to know my lecturers and I had a good relationship with my thesis supervisors as I’d known them for years.
I would say that your way of thinking is probably the better way to go - it’s generally better to do your undergraduate and postgraduate stints in different universities. So your idea of transferring to another university is smart - it means you will have a broader network of colleagues which will be advantageous when you start looking for work. Small universities are good because the learning experience is more personal - but the downside is that there are less units to choose from. Larger universities will have lots of sociology courses you can take. It depends on the type of educational experience you want. Have a look at different sociology department websites because they will list all their courses and you can also have a look at their staff profiles. Read up on the published research of the lecturers in different universities because that might also give you an idea of where you’d like to study.
Another thing to note is that I did an undergraduate Bachelor of Arts degree with a double major in sociology and media. My media studies and the other elective subjects I took as an undergraduate (literature, statistics, psychology, philosophy) have ALL been useful in my career as a sociologist.
what are you doing now?
Ha! What a timely question - I actually quit my job not too long a go! I had moved to another city when I took up my government job and then I moved again temporarily last year for a six month secondment. I have been away from my home city for a really long time and I decided it was time for yet another career change. I still haven’t worked out what I want to do next, but I’m taking a much deserved break til I figure out my next move.
Hope all that helps! As you’re trying to decide whether sociology is for you and where you’d like to study, I would say be proactive like you have done here and read up on different sociology departments and get in touch with the department heads or with individual sociologists you think you might like to learn from. Have a look at the websites of the sociology organisations in whatever country you think you might like to live in. For example, The Australian Sociological Association, The British Soc Ass, The American Soc Ass, The Japan Sociological Society, etc. Also have a look around for scholarships because that might also impact on where you end up. Different countries have different schemes available, but you can also have a look on the grants page at The International Sociological Association website. Most scholarships are for Honours and PhD students, but occasionally there are opportunities for undergrads/sophomores.
If you have any other questions, don’t be shy and send them through!