This chapter argues that able power is and has been embodied in what Plato called “those of the best,” men who claim to ennoble the world with their eugenic superiority. Able power, legitimated by this view of congenital superiority, represented the disabled body in a pejorative language of humiliating tropes, the most common of which, in the terminology of antiquity, were deformity, defectiveness, and monstrosity. In modernity, able power absorbs scientific and pseudoscientific ideology into its agenda of legitimation by superimposing on top of the ancient and debilitating ideological categories medical terms that pathologize disabled people and ethnic others who are caught in the civilizing web of White European colonialism. The colonizing predilection of Western able power and its racist representations of non-Western ethnicities as inferior and defectively embodied is explored in a “historical sociology” of disability. Antique and modern imperialisms are examined. In these two moments, able power deploys economic and military might to subdue inferior persons abroad while simultaneously oppressing “dysgenic” bodies at home. The focus is on these two sociological moments because they, it is argued, represent the policies and practices of able power and the “ideology of able-bodiedness” at its most aggressive and violent.
Academic blogs are an increasingly popular form of social media that allow scholars to enact public engagement. This chapter examines academic blogs as scholarship, blogs about scholarship, and blogs as a tool to generate scholarship. After reviewing key terms and processes related to blogging, a brief history of blogging is provided. Then three types of blog environments are reviewed: personal, topic-driven, and filter blogs. Next, five metaphors for academic blogs are considered: blogs as education, information, relationship, engagement, and scholarship. These metaphors illustrate the breadth of blog functions, specifically their use for research innovation, mobility, connection, and reflexivity as well as for educational possibilities. Blogging as a form of scholarship is then explored in depth, especially the use of blogs for content analysis, multiadic discourse analysis, forms of diary research, and arts-based approaches. Finally, two key tensions regarding blogs as scholarship are explored: how the expedience of blog scholarship comes into conflict with concerns about credibility and how the accessible language and approaches to blog writing come into conflict with a blog entry’s enduring popularity or appeal.
Phillip Vannini and Sarah Abbott
Despite continued appeals by funding bodies, universities, and academy-based professional organizations to engage in knowledge mobilization, few academic researchers have made convincing and sustained efforts to dismantle the existing dominant power architecture that orders and organizes professional merit hierarchies along the lines of publication prestige (as indicated by the reputation of publishers) rather than on the basis of readership size or publication impact. The authors encourage more academics to write for a broader public audience. After highlighting a few common reasons why so much academic writing fails to engage readers beyond specialist audiences, the authors turn to the stories of five academic writers whose books have reached hundreds of thousands of people. These five books were selected because they were published within the last 10 years, were widely read, and were based in a qualitative, ethnographic research approach. Because they wished to reflect on the unique conditions shaping work within institutions of higher education, the authors excluded journalists and professional writers and included only university faculty. The authors interviewed these five authors, asking them about their writing styles, their publication-related experiences, and the production and distribution processes of their work.
This chapter considers the relations between disability and the political in contemporary societies. This includes a discussion of possibilities of human agency and social movement capacities in the disability field. The analysis discusses several models of disability and statuses of bodies, which are evident in theory, movement advocacy, and public policy. These are the personal tragedy and worthy poor model, the biomedical model, the social model, the human rights model, and the psychoemotional model of disability. The chapter then examines activism as a repertoire of activities and roles taking place in various jurisdictional spaces and territorial scales of mobilization. The chapter next analyzes three forms of social injustices and advocacy strategies pursued by contemporary disability rights movements: activism centered on recognition, redistribution, and representation. Concluding observations call on the need to examine disability and the struggle for social justice in relation to a politics of cultural recognition and identity, a politics of socioeconomic redistribution of material goods and services, and a politics of democratic representation that combines conventional and alternative modes of decision-making. Over time, the mix and style of activism may shift at the level of the individual or family, the agency or movement organization, or the national and international sectors. This gives disability activism and the struggle for social justice dynamic qualities enacted through symbolic, materialist, and political concerns in interaction with public and private authorities.
Dean Lusher, Peng Wang, Julia Brennecke, Julien Brailly, Malick Faye, and Colin Gallagher
This chapter presents recent developments in exponential random graph models (ERGMs), statistical models for social network structure. ERGMs assume that social networks are composed of various network substructures (or network configurations) like reciprocity, brokerage, or transitive closure, which, combined together, explain how the network came into being. The chapter also discusses recent developments for related models—auto-logistic actor attributes models (ALAAMs)—that examine social influence effects. The chapter focuses on three new types of models that have developed in the past few years: directed network models for social influence, multilevel extensions of ERGMs, and multilevel extensions of ALAAMs. The chapter concludes with three empirical applications to demonstrate what new possibilities exist in the application of these new statistical models for social networks to social science questions.
Kjerstin Gruys and David J. Hutson
This chapter uses a comparative case method, drawing on autoethnographic accounts to explore how ethnographers perform aesthetic labor across two research sites: a women’s plus-size clothing store and a coed retail gym. The authors find that they engaged in aesthetic labor as they adapted to the aesthetic expectations of sites by either blending in or sticking out. In their studies, the successful accomplishment of aesthetic labor relied primarily on gender and body size, highlighting how the body functions as a status characteristic that influences existing power dynamics. Such insights suggest the need to conceptualize ethnographic research through the lens of labor—a lens that makes clearer how academic work is structured by the same intersectional inequalities prevalent in most occupational fields.
Critical theorists, especially feminists, have long been concerned with the affective dimension of our lives and have highlighted its centrality to political analyses. More recently, there has been a renewed interest in affect and emotion, often referred to as an “affective turn,” which has seen contemporary theorists across the disciplines focusing on affect in political, as well as ontological, settings. In light of such recent, renewed interest in affect and emotion, this chapter examines what resources, if any, Jane Addams’s work offers theorists for the present context. The chapter also positions Addams in relation to Dewey’s and James’s theories of emotion and identifies two prominent themes or roles for emotion in Addams’s thought: emotion as the basis of an ethical standard, and emotion as the basis of “perplexity.”
Social science is vested in the potential technology carries for expression and connection. Human beings utilize media, social media, and communication technologies for expression and connection. The author has been studying the social and political consequences of communication technologies, with an interest in the soft structures of feeling that these technologies filter, conduit, and enable. This interest has led to the development of the construct of “affective publics” and its companion term, “affective news.” Affective publics are networked publics that come together, are identified, and disband through shared sentiment. These concepts have been adopted in a multitude of studies that examine the relationship between technology and politics. This chapter explicates the concept, traces its theoretical roots, and describes how it might further an understanding of civic engagement.
This chapter explores “anti-consumerist” critique and practice as articulated in a range of Western nations over the last two decades. It surveys the rise of a twenty-first-century consumption politics, identifying how it has coalesced around opposition to consumerism and overconsumption, while remaining elusive in the extent to which it advocates substantive social and economic change and in the degree to which it rejects or embraces consumption as an arena of agency. The chapter explores this ambiguity through discussion of two interconnected forms of recent consumption politics—“responsible” consumer choice and “alternative” enterprise—outlining the fractured and tenuous ways in which these practices speak of contestation and of the emancipatory in relation to consumption and consumer economies. The chapter concludes by recognizing the conceptual and ideological limits of contemporary consumption politics, while insisting also that it has significantly expanded the political and ethical sensibilities through which we understand the commodity and its impact.
This chapter focuses on research among internally displaced Afghan communities who had fled to Pakistan over the protracted periods of conflict and were then unable to return to their homes and are currently living in temporary accommodation. Drawing on interviews with forced migrants this chapter aims to explore their lived experiences. In doing so, it highlights the complexities of the decision-making processes that involuntary migrants undertake. Negative public discourses of Afghan refugees notwithstanding, they are the quintessential exemplars of a global migration crisis, given that the geopolitical situation in the region over the last three decades have compelled millions to flee their homes. In order to dispel the fears and distrust toward asylum-seekers this chapter shows the importance of producing accurate data based on the worldviews of the displaced as they are formulating their decisions to flee. This in turn enables us to challenge both the artificially constructed demonizing discourses centered on asylum-seekers as well as the refugees’ own retrospective accounts, which are sometimes at odds with their actual experiences.
André Grow and Andreas Flache
Social scientists increasingly construe social life as a complex dynamic process, in which macro-level properties of social systems can emerge from individuals’ actions and interactions in unexpected, unintended, and possibly undesirable ways. Reputation and status differentiation are important examples. This chapter discusses how agent-based computational modeling (ABCM) can be used to better understand the social processes by which the behavioral dynamics that underlie reputation formation can generate social inequality and contribute to status differentiation. The chapter begins by elaborating the foundations of ABCM and subsequently discusses a number of ABCM examples that address the emergence of reputation and status differentiation from simple but fundamental rules of social behavior and interaction. To further illustrate the method, the chapter presents a formal model that explains the emergence of status differentiation from reputation formation. It closes with a discussion of important future directions in this area, in particular the role that gossip might play in future ABCM work on reputation and status.
Michel Walrave, Joris Van Ouytsel, and Koen Ponnet
Both adolescents and adults use mobile applications to engage in conversations, expand their social networks, and, for some, engage in romantic relationships. While mobile applications offer a range of opportunities for maintaining and expanding one’s social circle, some users are confronted with forms of aggression. This chapter reviews the scientific knowledge on two forms of aggressive behavior through mobile technology within interpersonal relationships: cyberbullying and cyber dating abuse. First, the chapter focuses on cyberbullying, defined as intentional acts through digital media to hurt, socially isolate, or cause distress to a victim, which may occur repeatedly or result in repeated harm by continued exposure. The different types, prevalence, as well as predictors and consequences of cyberbullying are analyzed. Second, the authors review research on what stimulates bystanders to help a victim or, on the contrary, join in cyberbullying. Forms of aggression through digital media may occur not only among friends or peers but also within romantic relationships. The third part of the chapter is therefore devoted to the types, motives, and consequences of cyber dating abuse: digital behaviors that occur to control, stalk, harass, or abuse one’s dating partner. Next to emotional forms of abuse (such as threatening or insulting one’s partner), some forms of cyber abuse are sexual (such as pressuring a partner to engage in sexting). To offer a deeper understanding of these digital forms of dating abuse, the contextual and relational factors of the behavior are discussed.
In this chapter, the author considers some of the theoretical and methodological conundrums that she encountered in her qualitative research that has focused on later life experiences of the aging body as a site of inequality. Western culture is replete with deeply entrenched ageist stereotypes, which position old bodies as inherently asexual, dependent, frail, obsolete, senile, unproductive, and undesirable. Negative cultural constructions of old bodies are further reflected in and buttressed by masculinity and femininity ideals as well as societal assumptions concerning personal responsibility for health. Collectively, these cultural norms shape research in powerful ways as they lead to the avoidance of certain topics, taken-for-granted assumptions that are difficult to elicit or interrogate, and complex power dynamics between researchers and study participants. Reflecting on the intricacies of researching later life body image and embodiment, I offer some suggestions about how the challenges might be reframed as opportunities.
Simon Feeny and Mark McGillivray
This article examines the relationship between foreign aid and poverty in developing countries, with the goal of determining whether donor governments are motivated and actively set out to reduce poverty in developing countries through the provision of aid but with the impact of aid on poverty reduction. It begins with an overview of the aid and poverty record based on global data from the 1980s onward, with particular emphasis on Official Development Assistance (ODA). It then considers the analytics of aid and poverty before reviewing the relevant literature, including studies that address the impact of aid on growth and growth elasticity of poverty. The article argues that aid has had a marginally positive impact on poverty reduction in developing countries, and that poverty would be slightly higher without it.
After some 10 years in power and more than two years in control of several municipalities, the previously banned Tunisian Islamist party al-Nahda has had a unique trajectory as a Sunni Islamic political movement in the wake of the Arab uprisings. This chapter examines that trajectory from a local perspective, focusing on two popular districts of Greater Tunis, al-Tadamun and Douar Hisher, historic strongholds of al-Nahda. The aim is to understand the mutations through which this central actor has passed in Tunisia, examining the evolution of its social action and its repertoire of political legitimization. The chapter outlines the tensions marking its institutionalization in terms of generational dislocation and the alienation of its popular base. In doing so, it traces the recomposition of local power and its underlying arrangements in relegated urban margins 10 years after the fall of Ben Ali’s authoritarian regime.
This chapter considers the significance of Marx’s concept of alienation to his overall criticism of capitalism. At the concept’s core is the idea that while labor is potentially a fulfilling and liberating activity, under capitalism it appears only as a hostile, dominating force. Workers thus experience their own activity, natural and built environments, and fellow human beings as alien and hostile. While this idea has been deeply influential, it has also been the subject of heated controversies, in particular for its apparent dependence on an essentialist or teleological idea of human nature. While important, such controversies were often inflated by their political and intellectual context, and this chapter argues they should be considered alongside the lasting significance of alienation as an explanatory concept. Understood as such, it can still contribute a great deal to understanding and criticizing contemporary society, and provide guidance for how to transcend and replace it.
This chapter offers a perspective on what makes Indigenous sociology distinctive, and why it is important. It is less concerned with “speaking back” or “up” to the sociological discipline and canon than with situating Indigenous sociology on its own terms. These terms are inherently relational. In Aotearoa New Zealand, the concept that best embodies relationality is whakapapa. Often used as a synonym for genealogy (a noun), whakapapa is also a verb that means to place in layers. The chapter explores the multiple meanings of whakapapa—and its relevance for relational sociology—in the context of a genealogical project with a hapū (subtribe) that I descend from. The chapter concludes by considering the implications of Indigenous sociology for Western sociology, in particular what it portends for transformation and decolonization.
Larissa Hjorth and Ingrid Richardson
In this chapter the authors conceptualize the shifts in mobile gaming through two key rubrics—ambient play and digital wayfaring—that help to coalesce the multiple forms of domestic, casual, and urban play that constitute mobile gaming. In the first two sections the authors provide a definition of these two terms and then a short history of mobile casual gaming in terms of the mobilization of private space. This is followed by a discussion of pervasive games as vehicles for transforming urban environments into playspaces. The authors finish with a brief discussion of the Pokémon Go phenomenon in terms of what constitutes mobile gaming today.
Andrew J. Jolivétte
Gender diversity in Native American and Indigenous communities is deeply embedded in a long genealogical history of culturally rooted ontologies that inform contemporary sociological understanding of geographies of gender. This chapter defines geographies of gender as those sites of convergence where Indigenous place-making intersects with settler scripts to resist, remake, and restore tribal and urban Indian-specific notions of gender thrivance. Geographies of gender are therefore a methodological intervening in settler constructions of gender and sexuality. This chapter applies this concept within the United States, with a specific focus on the San Francisco Bay Area and Southwest Louisiana. It challenges the Eurocentric binary construction of gender through an examination of Two-Spirit history as well as by documenting the often underrepresented leadership contributions of American Indian women who engage culturally specific practices to advance Native American and other Indigenous communities. The lives of five women leaders demonstrate how geographies of gender are not only land- and place-based, but also embedded within a cultural system that is specific to Indigenous worldviews and practices.
This article examines the unique contribution that analytic ethnography has made and can make to accomplishing two of the key principles of analytical sociology: developing theoretical explanations by identifying mechanisms that connect actors, action, and outcomes; bridging the micro, meso, and macro levels of analysis in those explanations. It first distinguishes ‘analytic ethnography’ from other varieties of ethnography before showing how analytic ethnography has historically developed mechanism-based explanations that go beyond the micro level. It then compares analytic ethnography to analytical sociology in order to highlight the compatibility of the two. Finally, it demonstrates how theoretical integration can be achieved first within analytic ethnography, then between analytic ethnography and analytical sociology, using research on signaling and explanations of outcomes in which signals are the mechanism.