Posted by nickiewild

Muslim Identity, Cultural Trauma, and the Racialized Backlash

by Nickie Wild Jeffrey Alexander writes that “cultural trauma occurs when members of a collectivity feel they have been subjected to a horrendous event that leaves indelible marks upon their group consciousness, marking their memories forever and changing their future identity in fundamental and irrevocable ways” (2004). With this basic definition in mind, can we … Continue reading

Taking Advantage of “Breaking News”

by NickieWild Who determines what “news” is? Can we define news as “that which gets talked about,” as Katz and Lazarsfeld wrote about in Personal Influence in 1955? Or are there more strict criteria that are (or should be) observed in the modern media environment? Last year, I wrote about “Martin Eisenstadt,” a fake member … Continue reading

Religion and Child Custody Cases

by NickieWild What are the limits of free expression in the United States today? Are we still living under what many would consider a theocratic state? Although the “Protestant Ethic” as defined by Weber is often thought of in terms of the realm of work, it includes other moral dimensions. The U.S. has often been … Continue reading

Census Worker’s Murder Part of A Larger Picture

by NickieWild What is the poverty rate? How should the government allocate local funds? How many people in an area need representation by Congress? These are just some of the crucial questions that can only be answered by an accurate census of the American people. But lately, anything associated with the Federal government has come … Continue reading

Fake-Booking, Astroturfing, and Other Social Movement Hazards

by NickieWild What makes social movement activity “authentic”? Recently in American politics, there has been a lot of discussion about “astroturfing”: protests at and disruptions of town hall meetings held by members of Congress that appear to be grassroots activity, but which are sponsored and organized by corporations and PACs (Political Action Committees). Two of … Continue reading

The Authentic Fake Meaningful Experience

by NickieWild It’s been over seven years since Naomi Klein published No Logo, which explored the backlash against large multinational corporations. Brand identities such as Nike became increasingly associated with sweatshops instead of what the company wanted everyone to feel when they saw the ever-present “swoosh” logo. Wal-Mart became associated with union busting instead of … Continue reading

Veiled Beauty: Saudi Arabia and Plastic Surgery

by NickieWild As Westerners, it is difficult for us to imagine a situation where women are regarded as the mysterious “Other” more than in Saudi Arabia, where wearing the hijab is required and what we consider basic rights, such as full employment and driving privileges, are not universal. There, Simone de Beauvoir’s concept of a … Continue reading

Racist Language in the U.S.: Alive, But Not Well

by NickieWild Is racist language still acceptable in the United States? As with most things in social science, the answer depends on the situation and people involved. Recently, the television program on the CBS network “Big Brother” self-censored an episode where two contestants used a derogatory term to describe fellow contestants who were of Mexican … Continue reading

Space: Capitalism’s Final Frontier?

by NickieWild On June 19th, a groundbreaking ceremony in the town of Upham, New Mexico was held for the world’s first commercial spaceport, “Spaceport America.” British company Virgin Galactic received $200 million in taxpayer incentives to fund the project that will take space tourists on a short flight above the atmosphere for $200,000 dollars. The … Continue reading