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The Social Breakdown

100 EpisodesProduced by socbreakdownWebsite

The sociology podcast nobody wants, but everybody needs! Come join us as we break down the complex social world one topic at a time using our sociological imagination.

episodes iconAll Episodes

SOC509 -LGBTQ Caregiving (Guest Edition)

January 12th, 2022


On today’s episode, Ellen and Omar speak with G.J. Hodson M.A. (he/they/she) on LGBTQ caregiving. Those who identify as LGBTQ are a growing segment …

SOC508 - Changing the Narrative for Native Hawaiian Wellbeing

December 22nd, 2021


Aloha mai kākou, we take a local perspective today with special guests, Brandon from Kamehameha Schools and Lisa from the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, …

SOC507 - Princess Performers (Guest Edition)

December 8th, 2021


Are you a Disney fan? Have you ever seen a princess in the flesh? Well, this week we are joined by Kristen Newvine of the Social Science Princess Project, who talks with us about this world of character performance. We …

SOC506 - Rolling with the Queen: Patricia Hill Collins & Black Feminist Thought

November 24th, 2021


We go deep into higher level theory with Black Feminist Thought (BFT as we like to call it) as presented by the one and only Dr. Patricia Hill …

SOC505 - Caste, Class and Masculinities: Exploring the Jatt Community (Guest Edition)

November 10th, 2021


The Indian caste system is regularly brought up in sociology courses as an example of a social structure that prevents mobility. But what if that’s …

Check Your Boobs: it's Breast Cancer Awareness month! (Mini-episode)

October 20th, 2021


October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, the time when everything turns pink! We here at The Social Breakdown wanted to remind everyone with breasts (pssst-- we ALL have ‘em!) to do all the needed check ups: …

SOC504 - Money and Morals: Judging Creativity in Art (Guest Edition)

October 13th, 2021


Did you know that contemporary and modern art aren't the same thing? Come learn with us about the contemporary art world, how artists judge and value their own art and creative journey, and how artists represent or …

SOC503 - Social Problems and Social Causes: We have an episode on it

September 29th, 2021


The gang is back! We tackle a foundational topic in sociology: social problems! Social problems relate to numerous other concepts that we've …

SOC502 - Gentrification: Movement in Neighborhoods (Guest Edition)

September 15th, 2021


Our first guest of the season is one we’re all fans of: Dr. Tanya Golash-Boza!! Tanya joins us to talk about a new project that explores the …

SOC 501 - "You're a donkey!": Food Media and Violence in Kitchens

September 2nd, 2021


Food media is relatively new, but you can’t deny its popularity. Hit food shows such as Hell's Kitchen have propelled chefs to fame, but at what …

SOC419 - A Better Life: Higher Education and Anti-Black Racism (Guest Edition)

June 30th, 2021


The pursuit of a college education is often seen as a surefire path to a better life and social mobility. Yet for black families the story is not so …

(Rerelease) SOC216 – Feminist & Critical Criminology (Guest Edition)

June 16th, 2021


We've got a throwback for you from our second season! Dr. Nicholas Chagnon joins us to get into the nitty gritty of critical feminism and feminist …

(Rerelease) SOC121 – ‘X’ Number of Asians: The Model Minority Myth

June 9th, 2021


With the #StopAsianHate movement, we wanted to bring back an episode from our first season about the Model Minority Myth. It’s important to break …

SOC418 - We Watch the Watchmen: Are We Superheroed Out? (Guest Episode)

May 12th, 2021


‘Watchmen,’ the 1980s comic, has been adapted into a television series on HBO and a film. Which one is better? Brian Brutlag, from the Sociologist’s …

SOC311 - Intro to Popular Culture: "It's all about popular"

April 28th, 2021


We’re getting light-hearted in these crazy times and introducing you to the sociology of pop culture! In this episode, we use Dr. David Grazian’s …

SOC417 - Sports, Violence Against Women, and Celebrity (Guest Edition)

April 14th, 2021


Violence against women in sports is a common topic in the news nowadays, with allegations of abuse and misconduct coming to light. Criminal and …

SOC416 - Venice and The Venetian: A Sociology of Tourism (Guest Edition)

March 31st, 2021


Is the COVID-19 pandemic the death of tourism? Is the Venetian in Vegas authentic? We have a guest episode for you today with Marta Soligo, who will …

Breakaway Episode 10 - Girl Power and the Vampire Slayer

March 17th, 2021


We're back with a fun breakaway episode talking about monster artists and girl power! In light of recent revelations about Joss Whedon, we breakdown classic feminist girl power TV show, Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Is it …

SOC415 - 2020 LookBackStage

March 3rd, 2021


We're flashbacking to everyone's favorite year - 2020! The three of us get together to reflect on 2020, how it affected us, and discuss how we think it'll affect society moving forward. The pandemic that froze the world …

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

February 24th, 2021


Ever wonder why sociology emphasizes fieldwork, quantitative research, and participant observation? Or who challenged the notion of the ‘armchair …

SOC414 - "I just see blue': What is art? (Guest episode)

February 17th, 2021


What is art? What is the value of fine art? In this week's episode, Anina Englehardt joins us to explore how sociology understands the world of …

SOC116 - Constructing Race and Black History Month

February 10th, 2021


February is Black History Month (BHM), which means… we gotta talk about it! This week we dig into the history behind BHM, talk about the founder of …

SOC413 - Firearms in America (Guest episode)

February 3rd, 2021


Guns are a hot button topic. They are imbued with politics, religion, masculinity, danger, safety, emotions, and more. Ellen was lucky enough to sit …

SOC412 - Student Loans (Guest Edition)

January 16th, 2021


Ahh, student loans… who doesn’t have ‘em nowadays? Today, we’re diving into the complex world of education-based debt with the help of our guest, Sam. How does student loan debt influence major life decisions, like …

SOC113 - Christmas Rituals & Traditions: Mariah Carey VS Chipmunks (re-release)

December 23rd, 2020


We’re returning to our first Christmas with you all with this re-release!

Even if you don’t celebrate Christmas, it’s hard to avoid it. Not only is it a day of celebration for Christian religions, but it has become …

SOC411 - Intro to Disability Studies: Who is deserving of a childhood? (Guest Edition)

December 16th, 2020


Me Before You? The Fault in Our Stars? Chicken Soup for the Soul? Popular culture representations of disability and the disabled community have shown …

SOC410 - The Political Economy of the Music Industry (Guest Episode)

December 9th, 2020


The music industry is a fascinating setting to understand the power of pop culture AND political economy. (Yup, like that Karl Marx kinda of …

SOC409 - The PhD's Guide to Getting a Non-Academic Job

November 25th, 2020


Are you a newly minted or almost PhD graduate? Have academic job prospects been stressing you out? Look no further - we may have the solution for …

SOC408 - Gentrification Through Food (Guest Episode)

November 11th, 2020


The way neighborhoods are transformed as investors, capital, and newcomers arrive cannot be understood without talking about cafes, lattes, food security, avocado toast, and race. Dr. Alison Alkon and Dr. Joshua Sbicca …

SOC407: Deinstitutionalization and Politics (Guest Edition with Jacquie Esser)

November 2nd, 2020


The Social Breakdown Team has been busy the last several weeks and we were able to get a guest interview with Hawai’i Deputy Public Defender Jacquie Esser. Esser recently ran for State Prosecutor and continues to be a …

SOC406 - Pre-election Special: The Politics of Higher Education (Guest Edition)

November 1st, 2020


Over the past three years, those of us in higher education have become more and more aware of the role politics play in academia. And on July 6th …

SOC405 - The Political Spectacle 2: GO VOTE!

October 28th, 2020


We’re continuing our trek into the world of politics and spectacles a la Murray Edelman this week in preparation for the upcoming election. We review …

SOC315 - The Political Spectacle: Symbols in Politics (Rerelease)

October 21st, 2020


It's election season! So, we've got a rerelease for you all of an episode from May 2020 about politics, politics, politics! This week we’re going to …

SOC404 - Manifesting Masculinities (Guest Edition)

October 14th, 2020


We’ve talked about femininity, feminism, and feminist criminology, but we have yet to tackle masculinity! So, we have a fabulous guest, Dr. Dan …

SOC403 - Empathy: It's more than a feeling

October 7th, 2020


Many people have heard the phrase, “take a walk in my shoes,” but what does this really mean? Is it possible to understand what someone is going through without sharing the same experiences? The answers to these …

SOC402 - Intro to Sociology of Education (Guest Edition)

September 23rd, 2020


This week we sat down with Dr. Mary Kate Blake, Assistant Professor of Sociology and Criminology from Valparaiso University, for a rundown of …

SOC401 - "You're all sociologists!" Part 3: Don't get senioritis!

September 11th, 2020


Welcome to senior year! It's Fall 2020 and we are off to a great start with part 3 of our "You're all sociologists!" series. For this premiere …

SOC118 - Love Struck or Love Sick? (Rerelease)

July 22nd, 2020


We have another rerelease for you this week!

Love-- something we need more of nowadays-- is the topic of this week's episode! So let's explore what …

SOC112 - (Neo)liberalism and its Discontents (Rerelease)

July 15th, 2020


Since we're on summer vacay, we're releasing some of our favorite episodes. So, here's one of Ellen's faves:

Looking back at its historical origins, the social breakdown crew talks about liberalism and its …

Breakaway Episode 10 - Inequality at Bon Appétit

July 1st, 2020


Penn and Ellen are avid fans of Bon Appetit’s YouTube channel. ‘Gourmet Makes,’ ‘Back to Back Chef,’ that one where Chris recreates dishes …

#BlackLivesMatter Miniseries: Defunding the Police

June 19th, 2020


We’re continuing our #BlackLivesMatter miniseries and exploring what it means when people demand that we defund the police. Annually the U.S. spends …

#BlackLivesMatter Miniseries: Vive la Resistance!

June 17th, 2020


For our miniseries on #BlackLivesMatter we were planning on doing an episode on tools of resistance-- the ways organizers act to create social …

#BlackLivesMatter Miniseries: What is #BLM?

June 15th, 2020


The #BlackLivesMatter social movement has been gaining momentum after the killing of George Floyd in Minnesota on May 25, and protests have been seen around the world and in every state in the U.S. We here at the Social …

SOC316 - PhD's Guide to Teaching

June 3rd, 2020


There’s a lotta roles grad students play in the university, and one of them is being a teacher. So, we have a PhD’s Guide to Teaching today to help …

SOC315 - The Political Spectacle: Symbols in Politics

May 20th, 2020


Politics, politics, politics-- what a fascinating part of our society that feels all-consuming sometimes. This week we’re going to explore politics …

SOC314 - Family Demography and Intergenerational Solidarity Theory (Guest Edition)

May 6th, 2020


Sociology is obviously concerned about connecting private troubles to public issues, as C. Wright Mills once said. Sociologists are also deeply …

SOC313 - To Err is Human: A Look at Medical Error

April 22nd, 2020


Medical error-- defined as unintended or failed plan of actions related to treatments-- is an understudied in medical sociology. Patient harm from …

(Don't) Ask a Sociologist Episode 1: What is Society?

April 15th, 2020


We're starting a new mini-series on our podcast called "(Don't) Ask a Sociologist"! We'll be answering questions from our listeners in ways probably …

SOC312 - Zen and the White Male Savior in Film (Guest Edition)

April 1st, 2020


We’re building off of last week’s episode on pop culture today with a deep dive into film analysis with a special guest, Prof. Brian Brutlag from The …

SOC311 - Intro to Popular Culture: "It's all about popular"

March 25th, 2020


We’re getting light-hearted in these crazy times and introducing you to the sociology of pop culture! In this episode, we use Dr. David Grazian’s …

(out)Breakaway Episode 9 - "It's not just the 'flu'"

March 20th, 2020


COVID-19 (Coronavirus) is rapidly developing around the world and so are our thoughts, emotions, and of course, our sociological perspectives! We …

SOC310 - PhD's Guide to BOOK$

March 11th, 2020


Have you ever taken a class and been forced to buy a $100 textbook? Have you ever been a teacher and was forced to assign a $100 textbook? It’s …

Breakaway Episode 8 - Girl Power and the #Girlboss Movement

February 26th, 2020


If you wanna be my lover, you have got to--” listen to this breakaway episode! Today, Penn and Ellen get together to talk about all things girl power, from the #Girlboss movement to feuds between celebrity women (which …

SOC309 - PhD's Guide to Relationships

February 12th, 2020


It’s almost the most romantic day of the year - good ol’ V-Day. While the gang has looked at family and romantic relationships from a sociological …

SOC308 - Grounded Theory: It's Not A Theory

January 29th, 2020


Ever heard of a theory that wasn’t a theory? This week the gang tackles a difficult qualitative methodological approach called Grounded Theory, put …

SOC307 - The Social Construction of Rock n’ Roll

January 15th, 2020


We’ve got a special guest episode featuring Dr. Matthew Smith-Lahrman for you this week! Matt is a rock ‘n roll guru and professor at Dixie State …

SOC306 - Stereotypes, Prejudice, and Discrimination (pt. 2): "I don't see color"

December 18th, 2019


Andddd we’re back with part two of our series on stereotypes, prejudice, and discrimination! In this episode we take a close look at institutional …

SOC305 - Stereotypes, Prejudice, and Discrimination (pt. 1): "Can I call you 'Mulan'?"

December 4th, 2019


Stereotypes, prejudice, discrimination-- all words we use interchangeably, and consequently, words we sometimes use incorrectly! This week’s show is the first episode of a two-part series where we untangle these three …

SOC304 - PhD's Guide to Money in Grad School

November 20th, 2019


If you hang around grad students, you’ll discover one of our favorite topics to discuss is money. We’re usually grumbling about funding, side gigs, …

SOC303 - The "Myth" of Mental Illness

November 6th, 2019


Join the SB team as we talk about the “myth of mental illness,” a phrase coined by psychiatrist and medical sociologist, Thomas Szasz. Today we will …

Breakaway Episode 7 - Monster Artists: When something you love is created by a monster

October 23rd, 2019


It’s just Omar and Penn this week but we tackle an interesting dilemma that has come into the spotlight in the wake of the #MeToo movement - what are we supposed to do when we find out that the art we love was created …

SOC302 - Podcasting w/ The Annex (Guest Edition)

October 9th, 2019


There’s a few sociology podcasts out there and this week we’re lucky enough to have Dr. Joseph Cohen, host of one of our favorites, The Annex …

SOC301 - Intro to Sociology of Emotions: Did you cry at Avengers: Endgame?

September 25th, 2019


We’re back y’all!! And we’re starting off our third season with a deep dive into the field of the Sociology of Emotions, a relatively young but uber …

SOC216 - Feminist & Critical Criminology: Problematizing the State (Guest Edition)

May 15th, 2019


Feminism - it has a bad rep, but it’s actually an important social movement fighting for equality across sex, gender, race, and all the other categories of stratification in our society. Right on the heels of Alabama …

SOC215 - Social Stratification, Capitalism, and Inequality: All the Sad Things

May 1st, 2019


This week we’re introducing the alliterative and uber important concept of social stratification: how people are sorted into different hierarchical groups based on the intersections of class, race, gender, wealth, etc. …

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

April 17th, 2019


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, …

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

April 3rd, 2019


In this episode, the team tackles one of the most sensitive topics within current social discussions - reproductive politics. Using Rickie Solinger’s …

SOC213 - Doulas and Midwives and Women's Health, Oh My! (Guest Edition)

March 20th, 2019


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 …

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

March 6th, 2019


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 …

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

February 20th, 2019


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 …

SOC210 - PhD's Guide to Research Ethics

February 6th, 2019


This week, we’re bringing the PhD’s Guide series back to cover research ethics! Nowadays, researchers must carefully balance the potential knowledge …

Intro to Spring Semester

January 30th, 2019


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

December 19th, 2018


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 …

SOC208 - Left Handed Devils: The Social Construction of Deviance

December 12th, 2018


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? …

Breakaway 5 - Black Friday and Holiday Shopping

December 5th, 2018


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 …

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

November 28th, 2018


This week we go back to the basics by introducing the three schools of sociological thought - conflict theory, structural functionalism, and symbolic …

Breakaway Episode 4: Context Collapse

November 7th, 2018


This week, Penn and Ellen breakdown an interesting phenomenon that occurs often on social media - context collapse - when various segments of your …

SOC206 - Intention vs. Perception: On Human Aggression

October 31st, 2018


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 …

SOC205 - The Matrices of Oppression: An Introduction to Intersectionality

October 24th, 2018


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 …

SOC204 - The Spectrum: An Introduction to Sex and Gender

October 17th, 2018


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 …

SOC203 - PhD's Guide to Grad School Applications

October 10th, 2018


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 …

SOC202 - #FreeTheGenitals: Why Japanese Porn is Blurred

October 3rd, 2018


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 …

SOC201 - PhD's Guide to Time Management

September 26th, 2018


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 …

SOC131 - How We Do It (Behind the Scenes)

June 6th, 2018


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, …

SOC130 - Obedience, Whaddup?

June 1st, 2018


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 …

SOC129 - PhD's Guide to Writing

May 23rd, 2018


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 …

Breakaway Episode 3: Self-Esteem and Race

May 16th, 2018


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. …

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

May 9th, 2018


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 …

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

May 2nd, 2018


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 …

SOC126 - Medicalizing Behavior: Common or "Abnormal"?

April 25th, 2018


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 …

SOC125 - Conformity, Whaddup?

April 18th, 2018


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 …

Breakaway Episode 2: The Middle Finger

April 11th, 2018


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 …

SOC124 - Life is but a Stage: Goffman and Dramaturgy

April 4th, 2018


“Life is a performance!” Have you ever heard that phrase? Well it’s super dramaturgical! Today we explore the work of Erving Goffman, a …

SOC123 - Sprannng Break Mini Episode

March 21st, 2018


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 …

SOC122 - PhD's Guide to Research Methods

March 14th, 2018


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 …

SOC121 - X Number of Asians: The Model Minority Myth

March 7th, 2018


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, …

SOC120 - PhD's Guide to Conferences

February 28th, 2018


Conferences… A little awkward, pretty informative, and occasionally monotonous. They’re a fact of life for those of us in academia! This week we …

SOC119 - Mom is the Panopticon: Modern Day Surveillance

February 21st, 2018


Triggered by the U.S. congress reauthorizing section 702 of the FISA act, our conversation this week focuses on privacy and surveillance. With the …

SOC118 - Love Struck or Love Sick?

February 14th, 2018


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 …

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

February 7th, 2018


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, …

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