On a regular basis Sociology Weblog: Sociological Songs


Todd SchoepflinBy Todd Schoepflin

Once I take heed to music, I at all times have an ear out for sociological themes in songs. I additionally wish to reference music lyrics and present music movies at school to focus on sociological concepts. What are your favourite sociological songs? Listed below are a few of mine.

  1. Future Rogers, “Tomboy”. This instance was given to me by a pupil in my Introduction to Sociology course after I requested the category to consider any music with messages about gender. Rogers sings, “I received one of the best of each worlds, I can cling with the dudes, get fairly with the ladies.” One other lyric that stands out is “My mama mentioned, ‘Marry a wealthy man’ and I used to be like, ‘Mama, I’m that wealthy man’.” The music opens up a dialog concerning the that means of the phrase tomboy. To place the dialogue into context, I like to recommend an article by Elizabeth King that gives an fascinating historical past of the time period tomboy and the way the idea has modified over time.
  2. Lenny Kravitz, “Mr. Cab Driver”. I ponder, how many individuals as of late have by no means hailed a cab? We’re now accustomed to the comfort of utilizing Uber and Lyft for transportation. I’ve signaled for a cab many instances throughout visits to New York and Toronto. Being white, it could by no means happen to me {that a} cab driver would possibly go me by as a result of colour of my pores and skin. On this music, Kravitz captures an instance of racism and stereotyping in singing “Mr. cab driver, will not you cease to let me in? Mr. cab driver, do not you want my sort of pores and skin? Mr. cab driver do not like the way in which I look. He do not like dreads, he thinks we’re all crooks. Mr. cab driver reads too many story books.” This instance can be utilized when instructing about stigma. In his e-book Stigma, one in every of Erving Goffman’s classes is tribal stigma, referring to stigmas of race, ethnicity, nation, and faith. Folks with a tribal stigma are topic to unequal therapy and hostility. An article I usually use for an instance of tribal stigma is “Touring Whereas Arab,” through which the writer says “in airports I’m simply one other Arab, a possible terrorist.”
  3. Skee-lo, “I Want”.

Bodily stigmas are one other class of stigma that Goffman wrote about. Examples of bodily stigma embrace an individual in a wheelchair, an individual who’s overweight, and an individual who’s blind. Carolyn Ellis extends the idea of bodily stigma by writing about minor bodily stigmas. Ellis is keen on comparatively minor “bodily imperfections that make us concern we stand out and is likely to be rejected.” Her private instance is having a lisp, a big problem contemplating her job as a university professor which options a lot public talking and heightened consciousness of 1’s personal voice. Different examples embrace baldness, pimples, physique odor, and being “too tall” or “too brief”. “Whether or not a selected attribute is handled as a minor bodily stigma is determined by the context through which it happens, its diploma of perceived distance from some imagined or accepted norm, the bearer’s self-perception, and others’ reactions,” she writes.

“I Want” is a traditional music that humorously captures the plight of the brief man. As a person properly beneath common male peak, I really like this music, and may relate. I realized early in life that being brief is much less valued than being tall. I used to be on the receiving finish of many brief jokes in childhood, and even often in maturity. I as soon as took an curiosity in somebody who described me as “not their sort,” which I later realized to imply she didn’t discover brief guys engaging. In interactions, I recurrently expertise being appeared down at throughout dialog, which feels to me like an influence imbalance.

  1. Maren Morris, “Tall Guys”. Morris says she wrote this music for her husband (who’s 6’3), and to make him snicker. It’s a celebration of tall males and reinforces the socially constructed concept that tall males are extra fascinating than brief males. She sings:

“Yeah, they preserve me wanting up after I’m feeling down

Yeah, I can at all times discover ’em in the course of a crowd

Once I cannot see over, he places me on his shoulders

I can put on my heels actual excessive

I am lover of all sorts

However there’s one thing ’bout tall guys, tall guys”

My college students are at all times after I convey up the topic of peak. Final semester, one in every of my college students mentioned she considers males who’re 5’9 to be brief, regardless that she acknowledged that 5’9 is common male peak. She mentioned this after I discussed seeing a social media dialog about whether or not Tom Holland is brief. I joked to college students that I’d like to be Holland’s peak (5’8), and mentioned I want the time period “brief king” existed after I was a younger man!

  1. Porno for Pyros, “Pets”. I’ve favored this music since listening to it when it got here out in 1993. The music holds up properly, and will be utilized within the context of social issues in the US and all through the world. It accommodates one in every of my favourite all-time music lyrics: “Possibly Martians may do higher than we have performed.” Perry Farrell sings, “My buddy says we’re just like the dinosaurs, solely we’re doing ourselves in, a lot sooner than they ever did…We’ll make nice pets.” Gun violence, homelessness, battle, poverty, famine. Contemplating the hurt we trigger to one another and to the planet, can we think about people would make good pets? I’m not so certain.

  1. Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, “Wings”. This instance is borrowed from sociologist Patricia Louie. In a superb sociological evaluation of this music, she writes: “‘Wings’ turns into an announcement on how capitalism seduces us into buying merchandise that promise to make our lives higher.” Utilizing her article to accompany the video, together with an On a regular basis Sociology put up from Peter Kaufman, is a inventive method to introduce college students to Karl Marx’s idea of commodity fetishism. As Kaufman explains, Marx was involved that we’re extra keen on issues than the individuals who make these issues. As Peter wrote, “Most of us by no means take into consideration the human labor that goes into the entire issues we purchase and eat.”

  1. Drake, “God’s Plan”.

I’ve written about my admiration for Peter Kaufman’s put up “The Fable of the Self-Made Particular person,” through which he means that we should always describe individuals as being socially made quite than self-made. As Peter mentioned, we’re social animals residing in a social world. We aren’t as impartial as we expect. Slightly, we’re influenced and impressed by our interdependent net of relationships. So why not acknowledge those that assist and assist us? I like the way in which Drake does this in “God’s Plan,” when he offers credit score to his supporting forged (emphasis mine):

“With out 40, Oli, there’d be no me

Think about if I by no means met the broskis

God’s plan, God’s plan

I am unable to do that alone

The music video exhibits Drake giving cash to individuals in Miami, and a donation to the Miami Hearth Division. At first of the video, we study the price range for the video was almost $1 million and that each one of it was given away. On the finish of the video, he expresses a sociological sentiment in saying “We’re nothing with out our moms.”

  1. Aretha Franklin, “Respect”.

Interdependence is a sociological worth, and so is respect. If we need to spotlight the significance of respect, who higher to summon than the late Aretha Franklin, one of many best singers of all time (for fascinating background on this music, try this text). The music will get me fascinated with Richard Sennett’s e-book Respect in a World of Inequality. As Sennett explains, we can’t merely command “Respect others” and count on individuals to enact respect. The that means of respect is complicated, and the expression of respect is an artwork. It’s a problem to attain mutual respect in an unequal phrase. Nonetheless, we will purpose for self-respect and attempt to respect others. What does respect imply to you, and the way do you suppose individuals can present respect throughout boundaries of inequality?





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