The American Sociological Association seems to take a genuine interest in the study of sociology at all levels – from the humble High School classroom to the rarefied strata of postgraduate specialisms – and their latest initiative is the creation of what they’ve called Sociological Insights:
“A curated collection of short videos, featuring sociologists sharing their expertise on some of the most pressing topics today”.
And while these sociologists are, as you might expect, uniformly drawn from the ranks of American Academia and the “pressing topics” are resolutely focused on those most-pertinent to Americans and American Society – from privatised Health Care, through Evangelical Christianity, to gun crime and Black experiences of discrimination – this doesn’t mean the films don’t have value for Non-North American’s (as the rest of the world is known. Probably. I haven’t actually checked).
On the contrary, there’s enough sociological content within each film to enable those outside the American purview to look past the specific-specifics in order to embrace and apply the more general principles involved across 6 broad categories of film:
1. Criminal Justice encompasses illegal drug markets, the police and racism, racialised police misconduct and mass incarceration.
2. Poverty touches on areas like food insecurity and the working poor.
3. Environment covers areas like poverty and environmental harm and the politics of climate change.
4. Gender – probably the most-accessible for non-American audiences – looks at gender inequality in the home, the complexity of gender identity and how “women are challenging traditional gender norms in the craft beer scene”.
5. Technology and Aging involves online dating amongst the elderly and social networks for seniors.
6. Miscellaneous includes the gun control debate, religiosity in America, Hate Crime, Health Care and immigration.
The format is pretty standardised across all of the films: American sociologist talking to camera about their research interspersed with film to illustrate their ideas and arguments.
And all in under 3 minutes.