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Interviews with Sociologists about their New Books
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    • Social Sciences

Interviews with Sociologists about their New Books
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    Frances Galt, "Women’s Activism Behind the Screens: Trade Unions and Gender Inequality in the British Film and Television Industries" (Bristol UP, 2020)

    Frances Galt, "Women’s Activism Behind the Screens: Trade Unions and Gender Inequality in the British Film and Television Industries" (Bristol UP, 2020)

    How can the history of women’s work in film and TV help address inequality today? In Women’s Activism Behind the Screens: Trade Unions and Gender Inequality in the British Film and Television Industries (University of Bristol Press, 2020), Frances Galt, a Teaching Associate in history at Newcastle University, looks at the history of women’s struggles for equality within unions in the screen industry, to show the lessons of how gender equality has progressed and receded since the 1930s. The book draws on a rich blend of archival, oral history, and policy document research, presenting the context for key moments in the fight to support the status of women in the film and television industries. A fascinating history, with crucial lessons for contemporary activism, the book is essential reading across the humanities and social sciences.
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    • 43 min
    Roland T. Rust and Ming-Hui Huang, "The Feeling Economy: How Artificial Intelligence Is Creating the Era of Empathy" (Palgrave MacMillan, 2021)

    Roland T. Rust and Ming-Hui Huang, "The Feeling Economy: How Artificial Intelligence Is Creating the Era of Empathy" (Palgrave MacMillan, 2021)

    Today I talked to Ming-Hui Huang about her book (coauthored with Roland T. Rust), The Feeling Economy: How Artificial Intelligence Is Creating the Era of Empathy (Palgrave MacMillan, 2021)
    This episode covers the movement of the economy from brawn to brains to hearts. Put another way, the focus here is on the movement from the Physical Economy (farming, factories, etc.) to the Thinking Economy to now the dawning of the Feeling Economy. In the near-term future, artificial intelligence (AI) will handle the thinking tasks and humans on the job will focus on adding value through empathy and their interpersonal skills. The episode explores everything from workers re-skilling, cross-skilling and up-skilling to handle this change, to the impact of this change to being feeling-centric on our politics, educational practices, and the expectations of consumers. Of special note is that the new economic era may privilege female “soft” skills over the “hard” skills men are known by and often more comfortable with.
    Ming-Hui Huang holds a number of posts. She’s a Distinguished Professor at National Taiwan University; a fellow of the European Marketing Academy (EMAC); an International Research Fellow of the Centre for Corporate Reputation, University of Oxford, UK; and a Distinguished Research Fellow of the Center for Excellence in Service, University of Maryland, USA. She is also the incoming Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Service Research.
    Dan Hill, PhD, is the author of eight books and leads Sensory Logic, Inc. (https://www.sensorylogic.com). To check out his related “Dan Hill’s EQ Spotlight” blog, visit https://emotionswizard.com.
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    • 35 min
    Mark R. Rank, "Poorly Understood: What America Gets Wrong about Poverty" (Oxford UP, 2021)

    Mark R. Rank, "Poorly Understood: What America Gets Wrong about Poverty" (Oxford UP, 2021)

    Few topics have as many myths, stereotypes, and misperceptions surrounding them as that of poverty in America. The poor have been badly misunderstood since the beginnings of the country, with the rhetoric only ratcheting up in recent times. Our current era of fake news, alternative facts, and media partisanship has led to a breeding ground for all types of myths and misinformation to gain traction and legitimacy.
    Poorly Understood: What America Gets Wrong about Poverty (Oxford UP, 2021) is the first book to systematically address and confront many of the most widespread myths pertaining to poverty. Mark Robert Rank, Lawrence M. Eppard, and Heather E. Bullock powerfully demonstrate that the realities of poverty are much different than the myths; indeed in many ways they are more disturbing. The idealized image of American society is one of abundant opportunities, with hard work being rewarded by economic prosperity. But what if this picture is wrong? What if poverty is an experience that touches the majority of Americans? What if hard work does not necessarily lead to economic well-being? What if the reasons for poverty are largely beyond the control of individuals? And if all of the evidence necessary to disprove these myths has been readily available for years, why do they remain so stubbornly pervasive? These are much more disturbing realities to consider because they call into question the very core of America's identity.
    Armed with the latest research, Poorly Understood not only challenges the myths of poverty and inequality, but it explains why these myths continue to exist, providing an innovative blueprint for how the nation can move forward to effectively alleviate American poverty.
    Stephen Pimpare is director of the Public Service & Nonprofit Leadership program and Faculty Fellow at the Carsey School of Public Policy at the University of New Hampshire.
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    • 40 min
    Priya Basil, "Be My Guest: Reflections on Food, Community, and the Meaning of Generosity" (Knopf, 2020)

    Priya Basil, "Be My Guest: Reflections on Food, Community, and the Meaning of Generosity" (Knopf, 2020)

    Be My Guest: Reflections on Food, Community, and the Meaning of Generosity (Knopf, 2020) is an utterly unique, deeply personal meditation on what it means to tend to others and to ourselves--and how the two things work hand in hand. Priya Basil explores how food--and the act of offering food to others--are used to express love and support. Weaving together stories from her own life with knowledge gleaned from her Sikh heritage; her years spent in Kenya, India, Britain, and Germany; and ideas from Derrida, Plato, Arendt, and Peter Singer, Basil focuses an unexpected and illuminating light on what it means to be both a host and a guest. Lively, wide-ranging, and impassioned, Be My Guest is a singular work, at once a deeply felt plea for a kinder, more welcoming world and a reminder that, fundamentally, we all have more in common than we imagine.
    Nicholas Gordon is a reviewer for the Asian Review of Books. In his day job, he’s a researcher and writer for a think tank in economic and sustainable development. He can be found on Twitter at @nickrigordon.
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    • 49 min
    Ethan Pollock, "Without the Banya We Would Perish" (Oxford UP, 2019)

    Ethan Pollock, "Without the Banya We Would Perish" (Oxford UP, 2019)

    Blog Post:
    In Without the Banya We Would Perish: A History of the Russian Bathhouse (Oxford University Press, 2019), Dr. Ethan Pollock discusses one of life’s basic questions—How do people get clean?—in a way that embeds those everyday practices into a sophisticated historical context. 
    From legends about medieval Kievan rulers, to everyday Russians in the Soviet era, the banya has been a consistent part of everyday life. While its existence has been continuous, the meanings assigned to the banya have been at once diffuse, contradictory, and reflective of prevailing cultural and political trends and questions. Dr. Pollock’s book addresses these themes and more, in this fascinating historical survey.
    Aaron Weinacht is Professor of History at the University of Montana Western, in Dillon, MT. He teaches courses on Russian and Soviet History, World History, and Philosophy of History. His research interests include the sociological theorist Philip Rieff and the influence of Russian nihilism on American libertarianism.
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    • 1 hr 8 min
    C. L. Estes and N. B. DiCarlo, "Aging A-Z: Concepts Toward Emancipatory Gerontology" (Routledge, 2019)

    C. L. Estes and N. B. DiCarlo, "Aging A-Z: Concepts Toward Emancipatory Gerontology" (Routledge, 2019)

    It’s often said that the time in our lives can often pass without us noticing. Old age can come before we realize it, and it brings with it new elements to our own daily lives that we couldn’t have anticipated before. Observed from a distance and growing old can seem like a universal experience, but observed up close, it becomes clear that the different ways people age are as varied and unique as the people themselves, and these differences can come from within and without. Whether you get to live out your twilight years in a comfortable retirement home in the country, or an understaffed inner-city hospital, these experiences will be profoundly different, and likely had different paths that led to them. Viewed in this way, aging is seen not as some eternal experience that is the same for all people, but as a fundamental part of our politics and economic dynamics, for better and for worse. The COVID-crisis of the last year has brought to light how vulnerable our elderly are, how understaffed our care-facilities are, and how much needs to change to provide lives of safety, comfort and dignity to our elders, but in many ways all this crisis has done is exacerbated certain tensions and antagonisms that were already there, barely concealed by the relentless optimism of neoliberal technocrats. Changing these systems will mean rethinking the aging process, and connecting it with broader questions traditionally raised by the fields of critical theory and radical critiques of political economy.
    Diving right into this project are my guests today, Carroll Estes and Nicholas DiCarlo, here to discuss their recent publication Aging A-Z: Concepts Toward Emancipatory Gerontology (Routledge 2019). Styled as a sort of dictionary, the book has entries for a number of terms you would expect a book like this to have: Ableism, Home Care and Retirement all make appearances. Readers will be surprised, however, by the number of entries that also make appearances: Climate Change, Colonialism, Epistemology, Leninist Strategy and Praxis all make appearances as well. This book then is incredibly broad in scope, and attempts to force readers to realize the ways in which aging is affected that go beyond one’s immediate concern, bringing a new layer of understanding to the phrase: ‘The personal is political.’ Speaking as someone who has spent the entirety of the COVID-crisis working in elderly care, this book was a joyful revelation to flip through, and should be considered critical reading by anyone impacted by aging.
    Carroll Estes has a long and distinguished career in both academia and activism. She is professor emerita of Sociology at the University of California, San Francisco. It was there that she founded the Institute for Health and Aging. She has written numerous books and articles on the politics of aging, including the co-authored The Long Term Care Crisis, which was a 1994 Most Important Book (Choice Magazine). She is also the recipient of numerous academic honors, and is the former president of The Gerontological Society of America (GSA), the American Society on Aging (ASA) and the Association for Gerontology in Higher Education (AGHE).
    Nicholas DiCarlo writes about aging and social policy at the Institute for Health and Aging at the University of California, San Francisco. They have a Masters of Social Work, and a private psychotherapy practice in Oakland.
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    • 1 hr 8 min

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