Sociology is the scientific study of social behavior, ranging from individuals to interpersonal relationships to large-scale social change. Sociologists not only attempt to understand social behavior, but they also seek to change it through, for example, involvement in social policy, planning, or program evaluation.
The mission of the Department of Sociology is to provide students with an in-depth understanding of how our lives are shaped by a variety of social phenomena such as social institutions, groups, interpersonal relationships, and, in particular, inequality in modern society. We seek to build student success by combining an interdisciplinary and liberal arts context with concrete analytical skills in research methods, statistics, and critical thinking. Such skills equip our students for a variety of professional roles in business, non-profit, and governmental sectors. In short, our students learn how to study and explain social behavior as well as how to critically evaluate common assumptions about society.
Sociology majors Lindsay Stumpf ('14) and Peter Rydzewski ('14) recently presented their research at the New York State Sociological Association annual meeting in Buffalo in October 2013. Lindsay's presentation, “’We’re Gonna Chop Down Trees and Eat a Lot of Meat’: Masculinities in Season One of Adventure Time, Regular Show, & The Amazing World of Gumball," examined masculinities in the pilot seasons of three cartoons targeted to boys aged 7-11. She found that the dominant masculinity exhibited in the three seasons studied represents a form of hegemonic masculinity. Peter's presentation, "From Bashing to Bumping: The Paradox of Comfort in Gay- and Trans-Friendly Workplaces" was based on a meta-analysis of existing research, which shows that inclusion has come at a cost. While workplaces are now more inclusive, tensions that have remained, causing lesbian, gay, and transgender workers to struggle in new ways.
The 2013 induction ceremony for Alpha Kappa Delta (AKD), the international sociological honor society, was held on April 25, 2013. AKD recognizes junior or senior sociology majors ranked in the top third of their class based on GPA. Congratulations to 2013 inductees Gerald Battoglia, Nicole Lalik, Brad Malone, Michael Morgese, Daniel Oonk, Katie Parker, Claire Powell, Peter Rydzewski, Jillian Smitka, Tyler Sollenne, and Lindsay Stumpf for a job well done!
Graduating senior Daniel Oonk was also named the 2013 Department Scholar for outstanding academic achievement in sociology. Congratulations also to juniors Tyler Sollenne and Darren Kwiatkowski, the recipients of the 2013 Sociology Scholarship.
The Sociology Department now has its own blog! Featuring columns by sociology majors, reports on department-sponsored lectures, and recent alumni profiles, it has something for everyone. Check the blog frequently or sign up to follow it via email. Have something you want to contribute to the blog? Check the posting guidelines and email Dr. Bridges or Dr. Boyd for more information.
Dr. Tristan Bridges was a featured plenary speaker at the Sociologists for Women in Society winter meeting in Nashville, TN in February 2014. His talk, "On Embodying Feminist Masculine Identities: Sexual Illegibility as Gender Currency," examined the ways that men in a pro-feminist group used stories of having been "mistaken for gay" as a way of authenticating their feminist identities and convictions. Dr. Bridges focused on the ways that gender and sexual inequality are sometimes reproduced even as they are challenged, complicating contemporary discussions of inequality.
With coauthor Jason Martin, Dr. Melody Boyd presented a paper entitled "Youth Civic Engagement: The Role of Neighborhood Deinstitutionalization” at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association in New York City in August 2013. Using data from six white working class communities in Philadelphia, they found that a key factor in declining civic engagement among young working class whites may be the fact that white working class neighborhoods have become deinstitutionalized, both over time and in comparison to white middle class neighborhoods.
Dr. Boyd also presented, “‘It Made Me Angry…But I Couldn’t Do Nothing’: Contributions of the Criminal Justice System to Stressors Faced by Youth in Baltimore” at the Eastern Sociological Society annual meeting in Boston in March 2013. With coauthor Susan Clampet-Lundquist, their research focuses on the frequent interference of police officers during youths’ daily routines and the strain youth experience from incarceration of a parent.
Dr. Amy Guptill recently attended the joint annual meetings of the Agriculture, Food, and Human Values Society and the Association for the Study of Food and Society in East Lansing, MI where she gave a poster presentation entitled, “Where Do Online Local Food Markets Emerge? A Spatial Statistics Exploration.” The results of the research on which the presentation was based suggest that the factors that explain the emergence of online local food markets vary by region. With coauthors, Rick Welsh and Erin Kelly, she also presented a paper entitled, “Modeling Direct Marketing in the Northeastern US” that examined factors explaining differences in the volume of direct agricultural marketing across counties in the northeast US. They found that direct-to-consumer sales are higher in counties with greater populations, median incomes, and percent of farm operators who are women.
Dr. Amy Guptill and Dr. Denise Copelton recently published a new textbook entitled Food & Society: Principles and Paradoxes (with third coauthor Betsy Lucal of Indiana University, South Bend). The book has been adopted widely as the main text in sociology of food courses throughout the US, including here at The College at Brockport.