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Sociologist in Michigan
55 minutes | Oct 4, 2016
2016-10-05 Wayne State Section on Social Class
Week 6 of SOC5400 Sociology of Families focused on: Chapter 1, p. 1 – 29 The Evolution of Families and Marriages Hill, S. A. (2012). Families: A Social Class Perspective. Pine Forge Press. Lecture by Dr. John Girdwood
82 minutes | Sep 27, 2016
2016-09-28 Wayne State Section on Race Summary
Week 5 of SOC5400 Sociology of Families focused on: Course Text - McAdoo HP. Black Families. SAGE; 2007. 384 p. (p. 319 – 328 Edelman) A Portrait of Inequality (p. 328 – 339 Hill) The Impact of Welfare Reform on Black Families; Intersection of Race and Class Lecture by Dr. John Girdwood
30 minutes | Sep 25, 2016
2016-09-26 Wayne State Females and Fathers
Week 4 of SOC5400 Sociology of Families focused on: Course Text - McAdoo HP. Black Families. SAGE; 2007. 384 p. (p. 172 – 184 Sudarkasa) African American Female-Headed Households: Some Neglected Dimensions (p. 219 – 238 Livingston) The Roles of African American Fathers in the Socialization of Their Children; Intersection of Race and Gender Lecture by Dr. John Girdwood
31 minutes | Dec 7, 2015
Over the course of my research, many people asked me how to solve homelessness. Structural forces are the most powerful component of the phenomenon. Increasing awareness of the problem is a start toward resolution but not the solution. Redefining the concept of “homelessness” is helpful but not comprehensive. Reducing the stigma placed upon coping strategies contributes to a reduction in perceived deviance. However, the only way to eliminate “homelessness” is to dismantle to structural forces that produce the symptoms. Those structural forces are the same forces that maintain the status quo. The nation should democratically elect leaders who represent marginalized groups. The solution to homelessness is simple – give everybody a house. “Homelessness” is not the problem.
56 minutes | Dec 7, 2015
Chapter 7 - Part 5
A few months after my embedded ethnography as a homeless individual, I started interacting with the homeless in a local college town where I worked. I recorded several more months of field notes to triangulate some of the data I recorded as a homeless person.
50 minutes | Dec 7, 2015
Chapter 7 - Part 4
On my way into town today, I passed several street newspaper sellers. One man walked by me in long flowing blue garments. He had his face covered and almost looked like a ninja. He had a street paper news sign stuck to his belly. Those are always neon highlighter color. This one was yellow green. Soon after he passed me, I heard a civilian say “Rocking the Snuggie on backwards.” This was probably in reference to the man.
52 minutes | Dec 7, 2015
Chapter 7 - Part 3
I came to town during Saturday afternoon about 3p. Dinner was the only meal offered today. It was a combination of lunch and dinner. Before I got to the shelter, I walked around the city for about thirty minutes. I saw black males “Red Hat” and “Floppy Hat” (pseudonyms). I think I saw Scoot but I would not see him at dinner nor did I see him since. I recognized a man wearing a snowflake hat from the breakfast church. He was sitting on a street corner begging for money. I have never seen him at the shelter before.
56 minutes | Dec 6, 2015
Chapter 7 - Part 2
Before I left my notes to walk, I thought it would be a good idea to check my information sheet from the shelter to ensure I had my times correct. I was not planning to read my info sheet, but when I put my notebook into my backpack, there was my info sheet. Since I had 80 minutes until dinner (I thought), it was more than enough time for reading.
30 minutes | Dec 6, 2015
Chapter 7 - Part 1
This section includes a robust auto-ethnography of the homeless experience in a college town. I met with a shelter administrator prior to this research and that individual encouraged me to conduct ethnographic research at this site. The administrator said that, in order to get valid data, I needed to “eat with them, shower with them, and sleep with them” at the facility. This perspective aligned with my research purposes, to gather empirical data about the homeless experience in Michigan. I can use this data to triangulate some of the other methods in preceding sections. Although I was not truly homeless, I had a warm condominium in Flint to go home to, I became as embedded as possible and did not take any shortcuts. I tried my best to experience a microscopic example of the day-to-day life of the homeless individual. The following is mostly a narrative of that experience with some themes emphasized when appropriate. I recorded very thorough hand-written field notes during the experience in a spiral notebook. This narrative comes from those field notes and begins when I entered the shelter.
43 minutes | Dec 5, 2015
Chapter 6 - Part 2
I never knew this area as “Skid Row” until a hospital van dumped a homeless man at my research site and left him to die. The media referred to the area as “Skid Row” (Kiertzner, 2015). Explained earlier in this manuscript, Skid Row was a strip along Michigan Avenue (Barbour, 1987; Lindberg, 1951). Many of the Skid Row inhabitants during the 1950s migrated from Chicago then urban renewal displaced those Michigan Avenue residents during the 1960s. Now, the media considers Skid Row to be “3rd Street and Martin Luther King, across the street from the NSO homeless shelter” (Kiertzner, 2015). This label is a social construction based on prevalent homelessness, felons, drug traffic, mental illness, and despair.
55 minutes | Dec 5, 2015
Chapter 6 - Part 1
Throughout this manuscript, I criticize the reliance on homeless counts used to determine policies designed to eliminate the social problem of homelessness. This is not empty criticism. It stems two fundamental arguments I make: (i) Numbers do not fully represent the complexity of the homeless experience and (ii) Counts vary so dramatically between agencies with historic extrapolation flaws that the numbers are not valid. I wanted to see the flawed counting methodology firsthand so I participated in the count.
56 minutes | Dec 4, 2015
I argue throughout this manuscript that scholars must conduct more qualitative research in order to explain the variability of homeless experiences in America because the current categories do not adequately represent the phenomenon. The federal government groups a half million people together into a single “homeless” statistic presented to the public and Congress; the latter uses that quantitative data to make policy decisions. I argue the social problem of homelessness is much more complicated than that.
35 minutes | Dec 3, 2015
The theme of this section is that grounded theory provides a practical comprehensive framework to conduct a study on the experience of being homeless. Grounded theory encourages objectivity, thorough theoretical development, and relevant applicability to phenomena (as opposed to the universal principles of positivism). For these reasons, I base this study on grounded theory as a principle method of this mixed methods study. I take a story line approach in subsequent chapters while emphasizing the core category of this research: Homelessness is a general concept that encompasses many types of experiences, almost all of which involve severely impoverished individuals who cope with undesirable circumstances.
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