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Theory and collective behavior

3 Jun

As posted on the Shared Teaching Resources Facebook group, one person shared: I use this in my classes to illustrate how theory shapes our observations and interpretations of social behavior. I have a worksheet in which students are presented with one of three theories of collective behavior, which are emergent norm theory, contagion theory, and convergence theory, and then they are asked to make observations and interpretations of this scene. Since I do not announce beforehand that they have been presented with different theories, when I begin asking people to talk about what they have written down, I usually get the chance to start keying in on “differences of opinion” on what is going on in the clip. It usually leads to a very rich discussion, and I end the period talking about triangulation and bricolage.

The clip is on Films for Action’s FB site and the voice over explains the significance of leadership in drawing a collective mass together. However, the application above is relevant as well.

15 Dec

Adichie’s TED talk, The Danger of a Single Story

Our lives, our cultures, are composed of many overlapping stories. Novelist Chimamanda Adichie tells the story of how she found her authentic cultural voice — and warns that if we hear only a single story about another person or country, we risk a critical misunderstanding.

“The single story creates stereotypes, and the problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete. They make one story become the only story.”

Reflexive Modernization in 100 seconds

2 Nov

Clear explanation of Risk society’s theory of reflexive modernization, coined by Urlich Beck.

Social Theory resource

17 Mar

This is a Routledge resource, but without registering you can have access to some key summaries of theorists and their works. 

A rich collection of web-based materials—including interactive versions of key texts, open spaces to write and reflect on readings, biographical sketches of authors, and dozens of supplementary sources—that transports social theory from its classic period to the vibrant and complex world of now.

breaking social norms: no pants subway ride

18 Jan

On Sunday, January 8th, 2012 tens of thousands of people took off their pants on subways in 59 cities in 27 countries around the world. In New York, our 11th Annual No Pants Subway Ride had nearly 4,000 participants, spread out over six meeting points and ten subway lines. 

Interesting example of breaking social norms.!

Educated and jobless

15 Nov

Students should consider the practicality of their majors. One explanation for why students overlook this important aspect is that our culture of endless options, “everyone is special,” and “you can do whatever you want if you just put your mind to it,” helps students feel like the perfect job is awaiting them. Interesting cultural ideologies of meritocracy and consumer culture-colleges selling all their majors rather than pushing the most employable ones more and the simple norm of endless choices-contribute to popular unemployable majors.
I will sneak this in at the transition point from consumer culture to economy just before the Thanksgiving break.

“Brandwashed” author speaks on supermarkets and branding

1 Oct

Martin Lindstrom discussing his book “Brandwashed.” Topics: supermarkets and the power of branding.

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