Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Our SHSubculture

HW: Read Kohl's Values Americans Live By in your packet.


Subcultures are smaller worlds within larger cultures.  Subcultures follow the overall culture of a society, but they have distinct elements of their own culture that separate them. 
1.  Individually:  What is a subculture that you are a part of?  Use your notes to help you, if you are not sure what a subculture is.  Why is this group a subculture?  What are some unique, interesting aspects about this group that the non-members will not know?





2.  In small groups, discuss the culture at Stevenson.  What makes us so special that visitors from all over the country come to visit and study us?  Is there enough of a difference to consider ourselves a special subculture?  As a group, find elements of culture that make us different from America:






Today's lesson was about what makes a subculture.  A subculture is part of a larger culture, but it has its own unique cultural aspects.  To illustrate how this works, we used our school as an example.  Why do so many visitors come here to see us?  What makes us so different?  Is our school a subculture?  To examine this, we reviewed these cultural traits and applied them to our school:
  • Material Culture;  all the physical stuff unique to our school:  the buildings, uniforms, guidebook
  • Mores: really serious norms that would disrupt the culture if violated: Walking on the right side of the hall/stairwell, not stopping in the hall or stairwell, not cheating, not fighting, knowing where to park, knowing how to be called out.  All of these are important norms.  If you violate them, there will punishment or judgement against you.
  • Folkways: norms that do not have serious moral implications;  being late to class, saying the pledge, no drinks or snacks outside the commons and not wearing green & gold on spirit days all are norms that are frequently violated without serious disruption to the school culture.
  • Taboos; Norms that are so accepted, they are not even talked about:  pregnancy & sex, use of drugs outside of school; these are activities that are embarrassing to even talk about.
  • Language: PAC, link, traveller, FMP, LOP, Glass commons, wood commons, 
  • Symbols: the Patriot (six fingers :-), the SHS seal, the statue, green and gold, 
  • Values: going to college, grades, competitiveness; These values are the most important in shaping our school culture.  They pervade every part of the school culture and they are a part of students, teachers, parents and administrators, but this is the hardest aspect of culture to see.  
For some perspective, here are some examples of other schools' cultures.
Do you see how the values we have here might separate us from other schools?  Do you see how they shape so much of what we do here?  I do not know if it counts as a "subculture" by sociological standards, but I think these values are what many of those visitors are searching for in their own schools. For your own thoughts, what subculture(s) are you a part of? What are the traits that make your subculture unique?

Takeaway (For more info see Ferris and Stein 83-85):

What is a subculture?

Why are values important to a culture?

What is a counter culture?


Thursday, February 15, 2018

Dual Credit Step 2: Register for Class

After you get an email from Loyola saying that you have been accepted into the program, you can register for the class.

To register:
Step 1: In the confirmation email applying for Dual Credit, click the "Loyola's Password Self-Service cite"


Step 2: Click "First Time Setup"



Step 3: Enter in the designated username and password with the instructions: "Your initial password for the setup site is the first letter of your first name, the first letter of your last name, and your birth date in a mmddyy format (i.e., John Smith, born March 1, 1990, would be js030190)."


Step 4: Enter in the 5 Security Questions

Step 5: Enter in other Personal Information

Step 6: It will give you a "success" message at the top of the page in Step 2. From there, click "Reset Password" to change it to your new desired password.



The video below has students jump straight to signing in, but that technically isn't the first step. 


This LINK explains the process to register, you can click the video tutorial here:
https://www.luc.edu/dualcredit/informationforadmittedstudents/





Gun Safety and Mass School Shootings

(Updated 2/19/2018)

As a teacher, school shootings are horrific. I have spent most of my life in a school. School shootings are not and should not be considered normal. I do not want to simply move on and pretend like nothing horrific has happened and I will not pretend that mass school shootings are an everyday event of regular life. It is jarring and upsetting. Besides being a teacher, I am also a sociologist. Sociologists study society to make sense of how individuals are influenced. If you want to understand something in society involving groups of people, turn to sociologists. That is our job. Therefore, I want to help my students make sense of the mass shootings as a sociologist.

Personal Well Being
First of all, be mindful of yourself and other people. Take care of yourself. The news and the images are horrifying and even if you feel okay, the news may resonate in your subconscious. Don't be afraid to talk to someone about your feelings. Stop into student services and see your counselor or your social worker. Talk to a friend or parent or teacher. Exercise. Working out provides as much for your mental well-being as it does for your physical well-being. And, get out in nature. A walk in the woods or getting outside for 15 minutes has proven mental and physical health benefits. But also be mindful of others. Students each bring their own unique background to understand this issue. And each student is affected uniquely. Be mindful of your peers. Some students may be deeply affected by these incidents.  And other students may identify with gun ownership as a part of their personal identity.  It may be deeply ingrained just like a person's religion or sports team loyalty.  Discussing guns can be deeply personal.

A Longitudinal Perspective of Violence
Related to your well-being, keep in mind that schools are still very safe places to be.  And, we are living at one of the safest times in American history.  Below are some graphs showing longitudinal levels of school violence from the National Center for Education Statistics.  So, take solace in the knowledge that schools are safer than ever.  I think this data lends itself to the conclusion that we do not need armed guards in schools.


Not only has school become safer, so has the United States in general.  From PEW research, below is a graph showing crime trends since the 1990s.  This is still one of the safest times in the history of the United States to be living in this country.  Again, the data show that weapons are less likely to be needed now than 30 years ago.  


Longitudinal Perspective of Mass Shootings

Despite the decrease in crime overall during the last few decades, mass shootings have been on the rise.  See the data below from this post on the Society Pages to see that the incidents of multiple victim shootings involving a shooter who targets strangers randomly.  The incidents have especially increased since the assault weapons ban expired in 2004.  This map shows a timelapse of mass shootings.  Note how quickly they increase after 2004.

"...mass shootings have become more frequent over the past three decades.  And, using the Stanford Mass Shootings in America database, we can see this trend here (below) by relying on data that stretches back a bit further..."





Mass Shootings and Mental illness?
After nearly every mass shooting, there will be claims that the shooter was "mentally ill."  Anyone willing to kill other people randomly certainly has something wrong with them.  It goes against our nature to kill others.  We are wired from infancy to connect with other people, to need them and depend on them; to love and be loved.  So yes there is something wrong with people who kill like this but it is not mental illness.

What exactly is the mental illness?
When people say that the cause is mental illness, ask what illness is it?  Is it schizophrenia? Is it ADD?  Is it bipolar disorder?  Many pundits comment that there is mental illness but what illness connects all of the people who do these shootings?  There isn't one mental illness, however, we do know that these mass shootings are disproportionately committed by American males who are white.  If there is a mental illness, why don't women with the same illnesses commit the same crimes?  If it is a mental illness, why don't people in other countries with the same mental illness commit the same crime?   Why are the shootings committed mostly by American white males?  It is because the "illness" is genderized and cultural.

Research over the last 30 years has consistently shown that diagnosable mental illness does not underlie most gun violence.  In their 2016 edited book Gun Violence and Mental Illness, psychiatrists Liza Gold and Robert Simon summarize the evidence debunking the myth that mental illness is a leading cause of gun violence. As they report, less than 5% of shootings are committed by people with a diagnosable mental illness. Like mentally healthy offenders, the mentally ill are far more likely to shoot people they know rather than strangers.

Sports promote toughness and violence.

MMA is a symptom of how males are taught that violence
makes them masculine.
Video Games promote violent masculinity.

Men in the United States are socialized from the moment they are born to be tough.  They are taught to deny their emotions (except anger), to be uncaring and strong.  The ultimate manifestation of not caring and having no emotion and being strong and tough is violence.  And the way to be the most violent is through the best individual weapon one can find.  This enhances the violence that one can create and the more violent one is, the more he can establish himself as being a man and being taken seriously.  So, what we see again and again is that the perpetrators of mass shootings are males.   When males are hurting or upset or unsure of themselves, the only culturally accepted way of expressing themselves is through anger, toughness and violence.  And, mass shooters are disproportionately white males.  Because whites are the majority in this country, white males have lived with a sense of entitlement, but not a sense of ethnic or cultural identity.  White males can feel an entitlement because they have 
never had their position of assumed power questioned.  So, when they feel slighted, they feel justified in asserting themselves through violence.  Sometimes sociologists call this aggrieved entitlement.  This post examines violence in the summer of 2015 and it points out the aggrieved entitlement that people who do not study sociology might not notice.
In the movies, a gun makes you a tough guy to be taken seriously.
Whereas, minority males can still feel a sense of identity in their minority status even if they are not being taken seriously.    So, the mental "illness" is really more of an illness of 
masculinity and specifically American white male masculinity.  Sociologists will refer to the extreme violence of males as hyper-masculinity.  This hyper-masculine reaction results in mass shootings, especially where guns are readily available.
Guns are a manifestation of toughness and masculinity.

What are the symptoms of this illness?
If the mass shootings are the result of an"illness", what are the symptoms that lead up to the catastrophic event?  Are the symptoms celebrating violence? If I watch MMA or hockey fights, is that a symptom?  What about calling other people sissy and wuss and other words like that?  When does the mentality become an "illness"?  These shooters are all labeled "mentally ill" after they commit the crime.  It is a way of blaming the individual so that we don't have to deal with the cause as a collective.  If there is something wrong individually with the shooter then we don't have to change our laws or our culture.  We don't have to take any responsibility for the shooting.  We can choose to do nothing and cop-out.  But this doesn't explain the pattern of behavior.  Why the U.S.?  Why men?

Here is research from F. Carson Mencken and Paul FroeseBaylor University sociologists, showing the correlation between white males and gun ownership.
"...it was white men who had felt some kind of economic setback who were most attached to their guns....We have white men who have expectations about what it means to be a white man in America today that are not being met....Economic realities are changing in the United States and there’s this whole population of working-class white men who feel embittered, in the sense that maybe they don’t feel as economically successful or as powerful in their communities as they think they should be....We had this group of white men in the U.S. who were benefiting from hierarchies of power and economic inequalities that gave them a real sense of self and purpose, and so when they lost that—or they perceived that they were losing that—they searched for other ways of feeling masculine, and the gun was a natural thing to drift towards."
The process of becoming a gun owner and the acceptance of gun use.
There is also microsociological research about how gun owners accept guns and accept the act of shooting to kill another person as normal.  University of Texas Sociologist, Harel Shapira, explains his research in this video. Shapira spent hundreds of hours at gun schools going through live fire training programs and talking with other trainees about their interest in guns. In this video, he discusses the socialization process that occurs in these schools that creates gun owners. This might help understand why there is such a disconnect with understanding guns between those who own guns and those who do not. There is a shared meaning being created by guns rights advocates like the NRA, gun training schools and gun owners. This cultural understanding creates an understanding between those who have been indoctrinated to that thinking and those who have not. It feels like the two sides are speaking a different language and it is almost like they are.





Other Types of Gun Violence: Murders, Suicides and Accidents
The mass shootings are horrific and repugnant and like the graphs above show, they have been growing.  But mass shootings are only a tiny fraction (2%) of all gun deaths in America.  So, this is another important reminder during the crisis in the aftermath of a mass shooting.  It is very unlikely that you will be a victim in one of these events.  Instead, most gun deaths (66%) are self-inflicted wounds.  


From Nate Silver's data consulting group, Fivethirtyeight, Mass Shootings Are a Bad Way to Understand Gun Violence,

"...The majority of gun deaths in America aren’t even homicides, let alone caused by mass shootings. Two-thirds of the more than 33,000 gun deaths that take place in the U.S. every year are suicides."

Suicide
More people are killed committing suicide by guns than are murdered. And for all suicide deaths in the U.S., guns are the leading cause.

This is an important point about terminology.  When we discuss gun safety, we have to be distinct about whether it is about mass shootings or murders or gun deaths overall.  Each of these are unique.  If you are talking about making people safer - by far the biggest threat posed by people with guns is to themselves.  

Putting loved ones at risk
Second to suicide, is the threat to other people who live in the house with the gun; these people are at a higher risk for being killed by the gun as a result of domestic violence or accidents.  In fact, see the next fact below from the AMA and AAP.  Guns are the 2nd or 3rd leading cause of death in children (depending upon the age of the child).

The American Medical Association and American Association of Pediatrics have published extensively showing that guns in the house are a risk factor. Guns are the 2nd leading cause of death of children in America!! Also the AAP has published about the extreme cost of guns in terms of ER visits and trauma. The annual cost from the Journal of the American College of Surgeons is about 70 billion dollars in expenditures and lost productivity. Gun violence affects more than 100,000 Americans each year.

And statistics show the more guns a state has, the more murders and suicides.
Three Important Ways America is Unique When It Comes to Guns
From the NY Times Interpreter column:

1) Gun ownership correlates closely with gun violence.

2) American gun ownership is different in quality as well as quantity.

3) American political culture toward guns is unlike any other in the world.
These numbers correlate almost directly.  Not just from state to state within the U.S. but also internationally from country to country.  The American Medical Association (AMA) and American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the American College of Trauma Surgeons and numerous other medical groups see guns in the house as a risk factor.



The looser gun laws (despite Chgo), the more murders and suicides.
This is true across the states and correlates very closely.  Here is research from the AAP.


But won't bad guys just get guns anyway?
The idea that there will always be people who break the law so we shouldn't limit the rights of everyone else doesn't hold up in my opinion.  For example, we don't allow people to monitor themselves for drinking and driving.  Some people can drive fine with a couple of drinks but they still might be prosecuted for any BAC above .08.
This is similar to many rules that we all follow to keep society safe.  We don't violate red lights even though there's no traffic around.  Why not just allow people to go through the light?  There will always be people who break traffic laws, so just get rid of the laws.
Why not legalize drugs?  Not everyone will abuse them, but some people will find a way to get them anyway.  
This argument can applied to almost any sector of society.  If people will break the rules, why have any rules - they just get in the way of allowing responsible people to do whatever they want responsibly.
Additionally, everyone is a good guy with a gun, until they aren't.  In other words, everyone is a law abiding citizen until they decide to use the gun against other people or themselves.  This research shows that a majority of guns used in mass shootings were purchased legally.

How to Reduce Shootings 

From Nicholas Kristof of the NY Times, How to Reduce Gun Violence, policies focusing on gun control have been ineffective.  Instead the issue should be a public health issue.  Thorough data showing that the problem is an American problem related to the number of guns.  But there are solutions that do not involve taking away guns generally. We have reduced auto fatalities by 90% by implementing regulations and technology.


What Explains Mass Shootings?  International Comparisons Suggest an Answer
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/07/world/americas/mass-shootings-us-international.html
"The only variable that can explain the high rate of mass shootings in America is its astronomical number of guns."

Practical Advice:  Run, Hide, Fight


Finally, because there have been so many mass shootings, there is a plethora of research about who survives and who doesn't and the microdynamics of how to survive.  Researchers have identified a three step plan to remember: Run, fight, hide.  This is simple and easy to remember so that when a catastrophic event occurs, you have a simple mantra to remember so that you can stay focused on how to survive:  Run, Hide, Fight
Run: Your first option is to get out of harm's way.  Know the exits, wherever you are.  Whether it's a school, a theater or a club, know the primary exits and secondary exits.  How can you get out of there if something happens?  Is there a window?  Is there a backdoor?
Hide: If you can't run, hide. This is when a lockdown goes into effect. If you can't run safely, hide.  Get out of sight.  Get away from the door, find a closet, stay silent.  I recommend while hiding, prepare yourself to fight.  If you are found which direction will the shooter come from? How will you confront him?
Finally, if confronted by the shooter, be ready to fight.  Have a weapon.  Even if it is a textbook or table leg or even your cell phone.  Attack first.  Use the distraction to eliminate the distance between you and the shooter. Knock the weapon loose.  Attack the eyes, nose and other vulnerable spots.


Research and resources that support this post:

Control and Fear; What Mass Shootings and Domestic Violence Have in Common
https://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/16/world/americas/control-and-fear-what-mass-killings-and-domestic-violence-have-in-common.html?smid=tw-share
Control and fear; the link between mass shootings and domestic violence.  
"...When Everytown for Gun Safety, a gun control group, analyzed F.B.I. data on mass shootings from 2009 to 2015, it found that 57 percent of the cases included a spouse, former spouse or other family member among the victims — and that 16 percent of the attackers had previously been charged with domestic violence."

Teaching Her A Lesson; Media Misses Boys Rage Relating to Girls in School Shootings
http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/1741659005050245
Thus far, this post has addresses only mass shootings, but mass shootings are only a tiny percentage of the deaths that guns inflict. If one is analyzing gun safety, it is important to look at all gun deaths. Instead of worrying about being killled by a stranger, Americans are far more likely to be killed by someone who is their same race than by someone from a different race, and you are even more likely to be murdered by someone you know than by a stranger (let alone another race).
This is another piece of evidence that doesn't support the necessity of gun ownership for protection or because of zenophobic fears.

Violence from teen boys who feel rejected by girls.  
"...An analysis of media coverage of 12 United States school shootings, which took place between 1997 and 2002, shows a previously unnoticed pattern: nearly all the boys who killed in these shootings specifically targeted girls who rejected them, or minimally implied that they acted due to a perceived rejection by a girl. This research highlights the media’s blindness to significant social problems that are hidden behind society’s ‘boys-will-be-boys’ attitude toward harassment of and violence against teenage girls."

America's Unique Gun Problem Explained in 17 Maps and Charts
https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/10/2/16399418/us-gun-violence-statistics-maps-chartsThis site explains most of everything explained throughout this whole post.

The Sociological Explanation For Why Men in America Turn to Violence
https://qz.com/1095247/the-sociological-explanation-for-why-men-in-america-turn-to-gun-violence/


The sociological explanation for why men in America turn to gun violence.  Article includes an explanation of why the US, and why men.  Includes quotes from social psychologists as well as sociologists Michael Kimmel and Kieran Healy.


Thoughts on Vegas and Why Men Keep Doing This
https://byrslf.co/thoughts-on-the-vegas-shooting-14af397cee2c
Men have gotten lonelier and their mental health has suffered.


Suicide by mass murder: Masculinity, aggrieved entitlement, and rampage school shootings

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.5172/hesr.2010.19.4.451
We examine three recent American cases, which involve suicide, to elucidate how the culture of hegemonic masculinity in the US creates a sense of aggrieved entitlement conducive to violence. This sense of entitlement simultaneously frames suicide as an appropriate, instrumental behaviour for these males to underscore their violent enactment of masculinity.




Profile of a Mass Shooter: The Domestic Violence Link
https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-first-impression/201605/profile-mass-shooter-the-domestic-violence-link
Acts of violence specifically aimed at women continue to be marginalized in our culture. Perhaps if we more explicitly fuse domestic violence with mass shootings, the threat will be taken more seriously, and policymakers will have an even greater incentive to keep women safe.
The Trace https://www.thetrace.org/
"The Trace is an independent, nonprofit news organization dedicated to expanding coverage of guns in the United States. We believe that our country’s epidemic rates of firearm-related violence are coupled with a second problem: a shortage of information about the issue at large." 

The Gun Control Paradox https://contexts.org/articles/the-gun-control-paradox/
While a majority of Americans are more likely to support gun regulations, the minority of Americans who support gun ownership are far more likely to write their legislators and donate money.

Children's Hospital of Philadelphia Center for the Prevention of Injury
https://injury.research.chop.edu/violence-prevention-initiative/types-violence-involving-youth/gun-violence/gun-violence-facts-and

  • 1.7 million children live with unlocked, loaded guns - 1 out of 3 homes with kids have guns.
  • In 2014, 2,549 children (age 0 to 19 years) died by gunshot and an additional 13,576 were injured.
  • Those people that die from accidental shooting were more than three times as likely to have had a firearm in their home as those in the control group.
  • Among children, the majority (89%) of unintentional shooting deaths occur in the home. Most of these deaths occur when children are playing with a loaded gun in their parent’s absence.
  • People who report “firearm access” are at twice the risk of homicide and more than three times the risk of suicide compared to those who do not own or have access to firearms.
  • Suicide rates are much higher in states with higher rates of gun ownership, even after controlling for differences among states for poverty, urbanization, unemployment, mental illness, and alcohol or drug abuse.

Responding to an Active Shooter Situation from the FBI
https://www.fbi.gov/about/partnerships/office-of-partner-engagement/active-shooter-resources/responding-to-an-active-shooter-crisis-situation

Run, Hide Fight from Psychology Today https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-act-violence/201408/the-truth-behind-the-run-hide-fight-debate

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

It's funny because we are ethnocentric!

Yesterday's Mindfulness Takeaway:
Gestures and language.  Why are these important?

Today: Cultural Norms - What is expected behavior?

Levine and Wolff published an article about different ways that social scientists researched time in various cultures.  See the article called Social Time here.

 Using the article, please answer these questions:

1. How did the author conduct research about time in the U.S. and Brazil?

2. What did he find?

3. How does language shape how people perceive/experience time?

4.  What other data did researchers use to study time around the world?

Here is more research about time around how time is socially constructed.

Norms vary around the world. One example of this is the norms centered around time. How do people from different cultures think about time differently? What do they consider late or early? These are norms.  Here is a list of norms from around the world.  It is important to recognize these norms in cross-cultural communication. If we fail to acknowledge these differences we run the risk of offending someone or worse, a whole culture of people.

And this graphic explains varying norms from around the world.


 This video is set to music for comic effect, but it is funny because in America, the norm is that men do not hold hands or kiss in public. However, this is expected in many Middle Eastern cultures. In order to show solidarity The President must hold the hand of the King of Saudi Arabia.


Also for more humor on cultural differences, checkout these HSBC adds: Eels, personal space, wrong flower,

How did the chicken cross the road?

When traveling to different cultures, 'how' the chicken crossed the road seems to be more relevant than 'why'. When I was in Italy, it took me six days to figure out how to cross the street. There were scooters and cars swerving everywhere and honking. Every time I tried to cross the street, cars would screech to a stop and swear at me in Italian. Then I figured out how to do it. Just walk a steady pace across the street and let them avoid you - and it worked! This knowledge of how to cross the street is an important norm, what sociologists call a more. Mores are important to the order of a society. If you violate them, it will cause a disruption in the social setting. Other norms that are less important are called folkways. Folkways are not crucial to the order of society and if you were to violate a folkway people would not necessarily judge you. The more of how to cross a street can be found in lots of videos on youtube. Watch this video from India. Note how the person crossing the street is aware of the norms of traffic and so the pedestrian successfully crosses without getting hit. It is worth noting that these mores, although very important to the society, are not necessarily laws. Similar to the ideas of time being a social construct, they are just the way that people operate and even though they are not written into laws, they are important to the function of society. Watch this video of an intersection in India and think about who has the right of way? There may not be a law about it, but those drivers know what they are doing, but would an American?
Have you experienced a different set of norms from another culture either by traveling somewhere or by meeting a foreigner here in America? What was it like? Were there misunderstandings?
Something else that you might want to blog about is google another culture where you would like to travel. Find out what unique norms exist in their culture. Here is a link to cultural etiquette around the world.



This port-a-potty was the creation of an artist in Switzerland.  Would you be able to use it?
It looks like this from the inside:





Would you be able to use a toilet if it looked like everyone could see you, even though you knew they could not? This is a taboo because even though people could not see us, the mere thought of them seeing us would make us hesitant. In other words, simply thinking about doing this is embarrassing and so we don't want to even think about it. Perhaps, that is why we have so many euphemisms for using the toilet: using the john, the restroom, the bathroom, the lavatory, the men's room, etc...

Takeaway:
Norms 

Folkways

Mores

Taboos
           
            Moral holidays

Moral holiday places

Sanctions 

For more info see Ferris and Stein 79-80

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Okay? You called me a what?! Gestures and Language

As students enter, look at these two shapes.  One is called a maluma and one is called takete.  Which is which? Even if you don't know, take a guess. Write it down without telling anyone what your answer is.




Homework:  Before our next class, please read Social Time in our packet.



We have been examining the components of culture. The non-material aspects of culture are often the most important but we are often unaware of them.

One type of non-material culture is symbolic culture, or gestures and language.

Gestures are important to understanding and communicating within a culture.  Understanding a culture's gestures can also help us avoid ethnocentrism and culture shock.  Here is a guide for international business travelers to help them understand the impact gestures can have on their interaction with other cultures.  Here is a link to a list of some single hand gestures from around the world.

Gestures are also an example that culture is resut of shared meaning among people.  And among groups of people, meaning can change over time.  Here is a post about the Bellamy Salute, a gesture that has changed its cultural meaning over time.

Language


Another important aspect of symbolic culture is Language.  first studied by Saphir and Whorf. Sapir-Whorf has been critically contested in recent years, but the NY Times ran a story about how there is still some merit to the idea of language affecting our thoughts. See that article here. Also, see this post about politics and how the use of English frames every debate especially the debate over gun violence.   Here is a book that highlights untranslatable words from around the world.
Language is important too as it affects how we think. When we think about something, we are using language inside of our heads so if we use certain words or do not have certain words, it may affect how think about things especially how we categorize something. Here are 11 words that have no translation. When bilingual students think about some ideas they have to shift from one language to another because sometimes it is easier to think about something or express an idea in one language because there are not proper words to describe it in another.

Here (see page 43 of this doc) is a lesson from Carol Mukhopadhyay on classifying in other cultures.  For each of the following sets, choose the item that does not belong:


Set 1. Auto, turtle, basket, bird


Set 2. Laundry, beer, clothing


Set 3. A chair, a spear, a couch 

After you have made your selections, click here for an explanation. 


This New Yorker article explains the research of professor Adam Alter on the hidden power of words and naming.

Also, here is a study explaining that with out language, numbers do not make sense.

Here is a link to Rabbi Heschel who insightfully explained "words create worlds."

Hidden Brain is a social science podcast from NPR and this episode explores how language shapes how we think.


Takeaway:

What are examples of symbolic culture? 


Why is it necessary to understand symbolic culture? 


            What is the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis? What are examples of it in our culture?

For more info, see Ferris and Stein page 77-79. 

Monday, February 12, 2018

Dollar Street - Qualitative data from countries around the world

HW:  Social Time pages 5-8 for two days from now.
Just Mercy chapters 3 and 4 

Mindfulness takeaway from our last lesson:
Material culture can represent nonmaterial culture.  For example, the Japanese toilet is physically different, but it also represents valuing cleanliness, not having furniture and conserving resources.  What is something you own that represents something you can't see?  Thoughts on the Japanese toilet and how it represents more than just a physical difference? Perhaps you can apply this to SHS and how something physical here represents something non-material?

TodayQualitative analysis of culture

Using existing data, you will conduct a qualitative analysis of culture.

First, check out the site below.

Second, create a claim that is supported by data.  On Page 4 of your packet write the claim and the data.


Here is a website that compiles pictures from around the world.  You can sort the data by income, country or by the category such as bedrooms, or toothbrushes.