Author Archives: Ana Velitchkova

Public Shaming and the 21st-Century Crowd

Witch-hunts (and stories such as The Scarlet Letter) have puzzled me but I thought they were things of the past. Then, I saw the uncomfortable-to-watch talk by Monica Lewinsky in which she argues she was patient zero of the new era of Internet shaming. So, when a book club I have been thinking of joining decided to read So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed (Riverhead, 2015) by journalist Jon Ronson, promising to shed light on the 21st-century version of public shaming, I could not resist. The book ended up being not only an engaging vacation read but a source of important questions social scientists should think about too. Continue reading

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Filed under Great Books for Summer Reading 2015

Conversing with Theory, Thinking Globally

Can social movement scholarship benefit from conversing with two theories currently prominent in sociology, pragmatism and (the Bourdieusian version of) field theory, approached from a global point of view? I venture to answer in the affirmative and offer a few reasons for proposing this answer.

According to the pragmatist approach, as outlined in Dewey’s The Public and its Problems (1954 [1927]), the public and the state are co-constituted because of practical concerns, namely the need to address an issue that affects or is of concern to a group of people. An issue that has collective consequences can thus give rise to a public (potentially) affected by (or interested in) these consequences as long as the public perceives them or recognizes itself as a public.

This definition implies that the size of the public depends on the impact reach of the issue. Continue reading

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Filed under Emerging Stars in Social Movement Research, Essay Dialogues

The Cosmopolitan Migrant

There is nothing like finding yourself unable to get out of bed, alone in a foreign country, to make you realize how vulnerable a migrant is. A flash of panic strikes through your mind. Then, some unexpected lucidity born out of the urgency of the situation reemerges to make you start listing your options.

My first thought is: ‘Make sure you have the phone and the charger next to you.’ If need be, with a phone, you can call an ambulance, your employer, or one of the couple of friends you have made in the short amount of time you have spent in your host country, which reassures me. Continue reading

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Filed under Daily Disruption

The global body politics of attending the ASA; or the political consequences of mundane occurrences

Staying at the Best Hotel in the Tenderloin area of San Francisco is a sociologically informative experience. The Best Hotel is splendidly located only two blocks away from the two ASA conference hotels and it is relatively cheap ($120 per night as opposed to $300), booked only ten days in advance; yet, I am guessing, it is not among the most desirable housing options for conference participants. The hotel reviews depict the place as located in an area where homeless people, drunks, and drug addicts loiter. Some reviewers even report bed bugs, which horrifies a San Francisco friend of mine most of all. While waiting for my room to be ready−I was being treated to a brand new bed [a sigh of relief!]−the manager, who is also a concierge, repairs guy, and anything else that he needs to be, regretfully informs me that “My only problem is the homeless and the drug dealers in front”. Indeed, the place isn’t that bad. The room is large and clean (I am not a fan of the smell of the cleaning products used but I can live with that for a few days, I try to convince myself). It has a bathroom en suite, free Internet, and coffee 24 hours: the traveler’s essentials. Continue reading

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Filed under Daily Disruption