A group of Brock sociology professors wants students to think about the most basic aspects of their day in a whole new light.
While drinking coffee, taking a vacation, or using a credit card seem to be basic, normal everyday practices, they all have deep political and sociological underpinnings not normally examined in the classroom.
To encourage students to take on examination of those practices, several Brock professors have contributed chapters, and one is a co-editor on a new textbook, Power and Everyday Practices, designed for undergraduate and graduate sociology courses.
Margot Francis, Mary Beth Raddon, Rebecca Raby and Dennis Soron all contributed chapters to the 381-page book, while Raby was also a co-editor with Deborah Brock and Mark P. Thomas, both of York University.
“This is a forward-thinking book, one that answers the call for students who want to do sociology, not just be thinking sociologically,” noted Terry Fedorkiw, marketing manager from publisher Nelson Education Canada. Fedorkiw noted the textbook has already been picked up by a number of schools across the country.
Various authors outline everyday objects and social practices, through the lenses of theorists Michel Foucault and Karl Marx, by examining how these practices have become normalized historically, socially or culturally.
Brock contributions include:
- a chapter from Mary Beth Raddon on financial fitness, which seeks to show that financial responsibility should be placed with the financial industry, and not with ordinary people. Today’s campaigns aimed at financial literacy seek to empower us, but the neoliberal discourse ends up deepening social inequality and contributing to economic volatility, as is seen in world markets today
- a chapter from Margot Francis, on the way in which colonial concepts related to Aboriginal people of North America have become normalized to the degree of creating an “imaginary Indian,” a stereotypical myth that gets represented in such settings as children’s summer camps
- a chapter from Dennis Soron, on the practice of shopping and the resulting politics of everyday consumption. Soron questions the dominant assumptions about everyday consumer behaviour as apolitical and individual, pushing the reader to see the complex social, political, economic and political influences on shopping behaviour.
- a chapter from Rebecca Raby on aging, and the social implications and related relations of power imposed on the meaning of adulthood. Raby examines these relations of power in comparison to other life stages, including childhood, adolescence, youth, and old age.
Besides contributing to the preface and introductory chapter, Raby also contributed to a chapter on tourism, and how this everyday practice is enabled because of the global inequalities of income, gender, race and labour.
“Having this event is a wonderful way to celebrate the accomplishments of our colleagues, and to let the world know what we are doing in the social sciences,” noted Thomas Dunk, dean, Faculty of Social Sciences, during a recent book launch event on campus.
The textbook is currently being used at Brock in Ann Duffy’s second-year sociology course.