What are the norms of sickness? Are their certain expectations of people who are sick compared to those who are healthy? In this post, Stephanie Medley-Rath explains what the sick role can teach us about other aspects of role theory.
Talcott Parsons identified the concept of the sick role in 1951. The sick role was developed out of role theory. Though the sick role may be outliving its original usefulness, it still can help illuminate the concepts of roles, role conflict, and role strain. Let me explain these concepts and then we’ll get back to the sick role.
Roles refer to the expectations associated with a particular status. For example, as a college professor, I am expected to come to class on time and teach my subject matter, that is, sociology. I am not expected to walk in late or not show up at all, nor am I expected to be able to answer questions related to physics.
Role conflict occurs when the expectations of different roles conflict with one another. For example, a working mother with a sick child. The expectations of the worker is that they go to work. The expectations of the mother is to care for the sick child. The expectations of the worker role and the the expectations of the mother of a sick child role conflict with one another. What is a working mother with a sick child to do? (Of course, someone else could take care of the sick child. But the reality, is that it often falls on the mother.) Continue reading
Within numerous American universities, and likely the world, athletic departments and teams are a major force. In many cases, athletic teams bring universities millions of dollars. Stellar teams and individual athletes also bring universities high social status, serving as recruitment tools for future students – athletes and non-athletes alike. In addition to being an economic force and even behind four decades of institutionalized gender equity efforts, university athletic departments still emit heavy patriarchal values. In this post, David Mayeda examines the role objectification played in the recent recruiting of Andrew Wiggins – North America’s top high school male basketball player.
Florida State University’s (FSU) basketball team probably doesn’t stand much of a chance to contend for a national title this year, as indicated by their recent, lopsided loss to intra-state rival, Florida. Still, FSU appears to be in the running to sign North America’s top high school basketball prospect, Andrew Wiggins, largely because Wiggins’s father attended FSU. So if FSU doesn’t have an elite basketball team this year, how might groups within the university try to entice Wiggins?
As shown over at Yahoo!, female cheerleaders were holding signs for Wiggins that read, “FSU Has Hotter Girls” (presumably “hotter” than “girls” at Kentucky, the other university Wiggins is considering attending). Another group of FSU female students wore shirts that spelled out “We Want Wiggins!” Okay, so what? Isn’t this simply part of normal, fun university life? Well, yes, and that is precisely the problem. Here at SIF, we’ve discussed how sexual objectification infiltrates sports media in the past. In this case, we see a major American university perpetuating and trivializing the practice.
Recall, sexual objectification happens when people (most often women or girls) are rendered inanimate objects, void of emotion, feelings, intelligence, and valued only for their sexual accessibility to men. There are a number of strategies taken that can contribute to sexual objectification, including cases where “image[s] suggest that sexual availability is the defining characteristic of the person” (see here for an excellent overview). In the case with FSU and its attempts to lure Wiggins, the female students holding signs represent an alleged widely available range of attractive FSU female students, their supposed primary characteristic being a willingness for Wiggins’s sexual indulgence. Continue reading
The criticisms of Pinterest can teach us about the importance of sampling. In this post, Stephanie Medley-Rath explores how random sampling and convenience sampling contribute to our understanding of what Pinterest is really about.
I have had a Pinterest account for about a year and a half. When I initially received my invitation, I began following a lot of people in the scrapbooking community that I did not actually know in real life. None of my friends in real life were on Pinterest. Over the last year, that has changed. I now follow the boards of not only complete strangers (wow, that sounds really creepy), but also the boards of people I know in real life (still sounds kind of creepy).
So who cares who I follow on Pinterest? Who you follow on any social network site shapes what you see in your feed on that site and your impressions of the site. For the first few months I was on Pinterest, it was a wonderful place to
spend waste time because most of what appeared in my feed included crafty projects, color combinations, and scrapbook pages-all the things I really wanted to see and browse. Now my feed includes these items, plus fat-shaming imagery, homeschooling curricula, beautifully designed infographics, and sociologically-focused images (see Sociological Images or The Sociological Cinema). My feed changed as the type of people I followed expanded to more diverse groups using pinterest for different reasons. I went from following mostly people who were heavily involved in scrapbooking and other crafts, to people with a much wider range of interests. Continue reading