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Breakaway 6 - "JPOP, KPOP, and Boy Bands" A Rant by Dr. Penn

We do a quick breakaway this week on a fun topic - boybands! Why is J-Pop and K-Pop so globally popular? What’s the difference between American, Japanese, and Korean boybands anyway? K-Pop is known for their perfectly choreographed and intricate dancing with pitch perfect singing; while J-Pop aims to be your boyband next door. But you might be surprised to learn that they arose out of very different sociopolitical contexts! Each genre has quite an interesting history in relation to trade,...


SOC 214 - Reproductive Politics: The Body as a Site of Political Struggle

In this episode, the team tackles one of the most sensitive topics within current social discussions - reproductive politics. Using Rickie Solinger’s seminal book Reproductive Politics, we discuss how the women’s bodies have become a site of public political struggle, thereby, determining the level of personal autonomy and privacy available to women. We highlight an aspect of Solinger’s work on fetal personhood, and how the rights of the fetus have been constructed, in some ways, in conflict...


SOC213 - Doulas and Midwives and Women's Health, Oh My!

The Social Breakdown Team is at it again with another really important topic--Women’s Health! On this week’s show Omar and Ellen will be having a discussion with Alexandra, a current University of Hawai’i at Manoa PhD Student, medical sociologist, and a practicing doula! What is a doula? What is midwifery? Join us for the conversation as Alex gives us a brief but important tour of women’s health, mythbusting the differences between being a doula and a midwife, and much more.


SOC 212 - Our Imagined Communities: Intro to Migration Studies (Guest Edition)

This week, we have a guest speaker on to give an introduction to migration studies. This topic has a lot to do with current events such as DACA, The Wall, and various other immigration policies. Tune in to learn more about how Sociology approaches these issues, and how we are all living in an imagined community - a concept put forth by Benedict Anderson to highlight the ideological project of ‘culture.’


SOC211 - "It Ain't a Rug!": Edward Said's Orientalism

We’re getting theoretical this week and tackling Orientalism, a concept and book by the fantastic Dr. Edward Said. If you’re taking a higher-level sociology, anthropology, history, or poli sci class, chances are you’re gonna hear “orientalism” thrown around! What is heck is it? (Hint: It ain’t a rug, a fast-food take out place, or the way to describe how someone looks!) What is its connection to imperialism and colonialism? And how has it influenced scholarship and research in the past and...


SOC210 - PhD's Guide to Research Ethics

This week, we’re bringing the PhD’s Guide series back to cover research ethics! Nowadays, researchers must carefully balance the potential knowledge a study can collect with the potential harm it may cause to the people participating in studies. But that definitely hasn’t always been the case! The treatment of Henrietta Lacks and studies like The Tearoom Trade are perfect examples of research ethics gone wrong. Tune in to learn more, and check out our website ( to read...


Intro to Spring Semester

Aloha! We’re coming back--we promise! This week we’ve a little update for you on our new set up for Spring semester. Take a quick listen and get your ears ready for next week’s new release.


SOC209 - Winter Mini-Ep: Gifts for Grad Students

It is that time of year! Time to wind down, take a break, and enjoy the holidays. It’s also time for the Social Breakdown Team to collect our thoughts so we can get ready for our return in January. We all hope you enjoyed the first half of Year 2. Join us for our mini episode where we discuss some good holiday gifts to give that grad student in your life. (Parents and friends, take a listen!) Have a wonderful end to 2018 everybody, and we’ll see you next year!


SOC208 - Left Handed Devils: The Social Construction of Deviance

We’re using our understanding of the three schools of sociological theory to breakdown deviance and crime this week. What is deviance? What is crime? How are they different? How does society create the definitions of what is a deviant behavior and what is a criminal act? We discuss power and inequality, as well as look at deviance and crime through the lens of the three schools of sociological thought - structural functionalism, conflict theory, and symbolic interactionism. Check out our...


Breakaway 5 - Black Friday and Holiday Shopping

Are you Black Friday shopper, like Penn? Or are you ambivalent, like Ellen? This week, the ladies of the Social Breakdown get together for a breakaway episode on the history of Black Friday and the many sociological purposes of holiday shopping. What does seasonal overconsumption do to our emotions, pocketbooks, and the environment? How are sales used to shame shoppers and bury environmental reports *cough cough Trump administration cough*? Tune in here to learn more!


SOC207 - Three Schools of Thought: Conflict Theory, Structural Functionalism, and Symbolic Interactionism

This week we go back to the basics by introducing the three schools of sociological thought - conflict theory, structural functionalism, and symbolic interactionism. Knowing these three schools is a must for any aspiring sociologist. Join us as we discuss how Marx theorized the process of social change through conflict, why Durkheim believed society needed religion in order to function, and why people interpret the symbolic significance of guns differently. Which school of thought do you...


Breakaway Episode 4: Context Collapse

This week, Penn and Ellen breakdown an interesting phenomenon that occurs often on social media - context collapse - when various segments of your social network (friends, family, acquaintances, employers, and complete strangers) are muddled together into one big audience. How does a social media user as yourself negotiate the multiple imagined audiences of the social network? From self-presentation tactics such as censorship and compartmentalization, we discuss the complex ways we navigate...


SOC206 - Intention vs. Perception: On Human Aggression

For our Halloween spooktacular, we present to you an episode on human aggression! AhhHHHH! This week we’re defining what aggression is, how it is different from violence, and where aggression stems from. Is it an innate trait, as Freud believed, or is it socially learned, as many sociologists argue? We end our talk discussing how we can reduce aggression in ourselves and others. Tune in, learn, and don’t forget to give us a rating wherever you’re listening from!


SOC205 - The Matrices of Oppression: An Introduction to Intersectionality

We're building off of last week's episode on sex and gender and breaking down the more complex ideas of intersectionality and feminist thought. How do you define intersectionality? What is feminist thought? And how can you apply these concepts to how you think and behave in your everyday life? (HINT: Be aware of your privileges, y’all!) We also talk about the amazing scholars-- like Patricia Hill Collins, Meda Chesney-Lind, and Kimberle Crenshaw to name a few-- who have founded these...


SOC204 - The Spectrum: An Introduction to Sex and Gender

Gender and sex - they appear to be the same thing, but in reality they aren’t! This week we dive into the differences between gender and sex through the lense of sociology using work from Judith Butler, Simone de Beauvoir and other recent research. How have our notions of gender and sex changed over the years? Where are these two concepts headed? And how do our own identities influence the way we behave, feel, and think? Tune in to find out! (And come back next week for our follow-up...


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 until...


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 for...


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...