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SOC203 - PhD's Guide to Grad School Applications

We’re back with another PhD’s Guide on an important and timely topic: the graduate school application process! This week, we’re talking 'bout do’s and do not’s when trying to impress those higher education programs to accept you as a worthy candidate. The tips provided in this episode are not specific to sociology departments, so you peeps of all academic persuasions (and even peeps with distant interests in grad school) TUNE IN, perhaps we can help! **Disclaimer** Heed only the advice...


SOC202 - #FreeTheGenitals: Why Japanese Porn is Blurred

Finally, we are answering one of life’s greatest mysteries. Remember the first episode we did? We mentioned a little question: Why the heck is Japanese porn blurred? More specifically, why is genitalia blurred? We tackle this hairy question first with a discussion of pornography trends and facts in the US and in Japan. Pornography remains a key form of entertainment for people, although it may surprise you that the internet has not changed pornography statistics too drastically. Listen...


SOC201 - PhD's Guide to Time Management

That’s right, you read correctly! We are back for year 2, and we’re starting off with some useful tips on time management for those of us trying to shake off the summer and roll into Fall semester. Curious about how to keep up with all of that reading? Interested in some tips to stay on track with a big project? Well, we have some advice for you with this episode, and hope this topic will serve you well on your journey through graduate school and beyond! Just remember, you come first, so...


SOC131 - How We Do It (Behind the Scenes)

For our last show of our first academic year, we’re giving you a behind the scenes look into The Social Breakdown. We talk about the podcast’s origins, our recording and editing set up, how we prepare for each episode, and most importantly, what are our styles and approaches to impression management? Is there a difference between our front stage and back stage “self” when we are hosting!? (Spoiler alert: OF COURSE THERE IS!) Two quick notes before we go for summer break: 1) THANK YOU...


SOC130 - Obedience, Whaddup?

Like all living things, humans are creatures of habit, routine, and-- most importantly-- learned and patterned behavior. So this week, the Social Breakdown team has the interesting task of teasing out difference between the socialized and patterned behaviors of conformity and obedience. We use Stanley Milgram’s shock experiment to understand how obedience plays into social roles, status, and hierarchies. Also, how do culture and institutions affect this social phenomena? Join us for the...


SOC129 - PhD's Guide to Writing

Here we are with another episode in our PhD’s guide series. This time, with the help of Howard Becker's "Writing for Social Scientists", we are discussing how to write, and how to do it well! Of course we cannot discuss all there need to know about writing, nor are we experts, but we do have some good tips and tricks for you to follow. Join us in our conversation on the DO’s and DON’Ts when it comes to writing, and perhaps we can help you a bit on your journey from mediocrity to a writing...


Breakaway Episode 3: Self-Esteem and Race

Self-esteem is a major concept in Social Psychology and it is majorly interesting! That’s why Ellen and Omar got together to discuss it this week. With the help of writing from academics Morris Rosenberg and Leonard Pearlin, they talk about how race affects self-esteem, and why Asian-Americans routinely report the lowest self-esteem among all races. They also ask, is sociology’s current way of measuring self-esteem the best one? Tune in to hear the convo! Also don’t forget to subscribe...


SOC128 - The Dark Web (Part 2): The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

We’re back to the deep and dark web! This week we’re looking at the positive (and innocuous) aspects of the dark web. While it may be a place for illicit trade, the dark web is also a space for free speech and anonymity, and people are taking advantage of this by creating anonymous social networking sites and speaking out (and whistleblowing) on important issues. Tune in to hear us discuss the power and moral implications of being able to be anonymous online! Head to our website...


SOC127 - The Dark Web (Part 1): The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

The surface web, deep web, and dark web! What are they? What’s the difference? And what are the social implications of having these different areas of the internet? Since these are such hefty questions, we’ve split this topic into two episodes! In this episode, we’re going to explore the seedy, nefarious side of the dark web: the Silk Road, murder-for-hire, illicit trafficking, and more. Tune in to learn more about the internet and its many layers! You can find links to the articles and...


SOC126 - Medicalizing Behavior: Common or "Abnormal"?

Since 2000, which marked the national Human Genome Project (HGP), society has seen a shift in the process of medicalization, and we are here to talk about it! What is “normal” versus “abnormal” child behavior? How has society continued to explain human behavior in biological, genetic or medical terms? How does the pharmaceutical industry influence this process? Join us for the conversation on this week’s episode! Also, check out our website (www.thesocialbreakdown) to look at the many...


SOC125 - Conformity, Whaddup?

This week we’re dipping our toes into the field of Social Psychology by exploring the concept of conformity. What is it? What do we risk if we don’t conform? And what are some social structures that influence us into conforming? Tune in to hear our conversation and remember to check out our website ( for more sources and articles on this topic!


Breakaway Episode 2: The Middle Finger

This week, Ellen and Penn get together to discuss one of their favorite gestures in a breakaway episode: The middle finger! Using work by Jack Katz, they explore why we flip the bird, what a “well-flipped” finger looks like, and the history behind flicking people off. It’s phallic, offensive, and Ellen thinks it’s funny to do in family photos. Did you know you can reach the sources we cite in the episode at Yup, check it out!


SOC124 - Life is but a Stage: Goffman and Dramaturgy

“Life is a performance!” Have you ever heard that phrase? Well it’s super dramaturgical! Today we explore the work of Erving Goffman, a micro-sociologists who pioneered the notion that we have front stage and back stage performances (aka dramaturgy). Join us as we discuss what a performance is, the many roles we play, and what happens when your performance is perceived as fraudulent.


SOC123 - Sprannng Break Mini Episode

The SB team have been busy giving you new episodes each week over the course the academic year, but as most of you are well aware... SPRING BREAK IS HERE! And we need a break. So, this week will be a mini episode where we give some recommendations on sociological WATCHING for you to do while we’re on vacation for a couple weeks. (Still read books though!) We will be back on April 4th, so we won’t be gone for too long. Also-- don't forget to do our survey on our website...


SOC122 - PhD's Guide to Research Methods

We continue our PhD’s guide series with a broad overview of sociological research methodology. WAIT! Don't fall asleep! We talk a ton about concepts and theories, but how do sociologists come up with the evidence to back them up? How do we do our research? This episode will give you a little insight into how. We cover the basics of qualitative and quantitative methods, as well as discuss the ethics of human research. Whether you like numbers or words, statistics or stories, there's a...


SOC121 - X Number of Asians: The Model Minority Myth

The Social Breakdown team is at it again! This time we’re talking about the myths of the model minority. It’s important to break down this myth, because we live in a world of identity politics where we fight over who gets to speak for whom and how we represent ourselves within institutions. Who is the model minority, and how did this term come to be? What social pressures defy or reproduce stereotypes? And what problems does this myth create for other people of color? Join us in our...


SOC120 - PhD's Guide to Conferences

Conferences… A little awkward, pretty informative, and occasionally monotonous. They’re a fact of life for those of us in academia! This week we delve into what conferences are, why you should attend, some of the main sociology conferences, and most importantly some DOs and DON’Ts of going to conferences. Listen to our suggestions, and then let us know if we missed anything by Tweeting or Facebooking us @socbreakdown!


SOC119 - Mom is the Panopticon: Modern Day Surveillance

Triggered by the U.S. congress reauthorizing section 702 of the FISA act, our conversation this week focuses on privacy and surveillance. With the internet, social media, and all of our new technology, do we have privacy anymore? We start the episode off talking about the classic sociological concept of Jeremy Bentham’s ‘Panopticon’. We also discuss the various ways (and reasons why) our government surveils us, how we tie morality in with privacy, and the consequences of doxxing and revenge...


SOC118 - Love Struck or Love Sick?

As SZA likes to croon, “LoOOOoovvveeeee, long as we got loooovvVVEEeee.” And that’s this week’s topic! In this episode we explore what happens in our brains when we are struck with love, how sociologists like Charles Cooley and Theodore Kemper see love, and how love can be used as a tool of social control. To better understand this intense emotion, we also discuss Georg Simmel’s important concept of the Dyad. Do you agree with sociology’s view of love? Tune in to hear our discussion! P.S....


SOC117 - The Forgotten Founding Father: W.E.B. Du Bois

Ever wonder where fieldwork, quantitative research, participant observation came from? Or who challenged the notion of the ‘armchair theorist’? In recognizing Black History Month, we pay homage to the often ignored, great modern sociologist, W.E.B. Du Bois. Using the book, The Scholar Denied: W.E.B. Du Bois and the Birth of Modern Sociology (2015) by Dr. Aldon D. Morris, we discuss the legacy and contribution of Du Bois and retell the story of the origins of modern sociology. While faculty...