Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts
Wheaton College
Sociology

Departmental News Archive

  • Charting Life

    by John Grady
    Life expectancy as a chronicle of civilization.

    US Life Expectancy for Men and Women, 1900--Present

     

    Life Expectancy for Men and Women in the United States, 1900 to the Present.

    Life Expectancy for Men and Women in the United States, 1900 to the Present.

     

     

    CHARTING LIFE

    by John Grady

    This is a simple line chart and easy to read. The vertical axis scales one type of information -- in this case, how many years someone born in the US might expect to live -- while the horizontal axis lists when people were born. A point on either line is an estimate based on projecting the death rates prevailing at that date into the future. Projecting a trend in this fashion, however, does not account for what the actual future might bring. Life expectancy in real time could be lowered by war, disease, famine, or a cataclysmic natural event. Conversely, our lives could extend beyond what was predicted at birth by improvements in living standards, medical care, and healthier lifestyles. For Americans, the big take away story from this chart is that the good far outweighs the bad.

    Throughout human history, average life expectancy was anywhere from 30 to 40 years at best. Around 250 years ago in Western Europe and the United States, things slowly began to change. There was more food available; public health measures were taken; medical science improved, and housing became more secure and comfortable. By 1900, life expectancy was almost 50 years. What happened during the next century was without precedent in human history. By 2000 life expectancy had nearly doubled and men and women on average lived into their late 70s and early 80s.

    Line charts are one of the best ways of visualizing a trend. They show direction: is it going up or down; is it even or uneven; curvilinear or cyclic? They show whether the rate of change is fast, slow, or non-existent. They also can be designed to include more than one line – in this case trends for men and women – and these can be easily compared. With these observations in mind, what does this chart tell us?
    • While the growth of life expectancy is a steadily progressive trend over the course of the century, it tends to slow down from the early 1950s on for both men and women;
    • Women tend to live longer than men and this discrepancy has generally widened since the beginnings of World War II. There is some evidence of a narrowing of the gender gap during the 1990s, which is probably due to men beginning to quit smoking in the 1960s in significant numbers, while women were just embracing the habit. There is a lag in outcomes for men and women because it takes about 30 years for the negative health effects of smoking to begin to take their toll – and for the positive effects of not smoking to have an impact.
    • Before 1945 changes in life expectancy were very volatile. They go up and down by one or two years of life expectancy from year to year. This volatility is most likely due to outbreaks of various infectious diseases. After World War II, mass vaccination and expanded health care probably accounts for how steady the trend becomes for both men and women.

    Because of the way that life expectancy is measured, it is very susceptible to being influenced by a dramatic increase in the death rate, even if that jump is limited to a very short period of time. The influenza epidemic of 1919 is considered the most lethal worldwide epidemic in history and killed more than 20 million people, 500,000 of them in the United States alone. This singular event was so massive that the slaughter it records leaves a distinct graphic trace on the chart as a plunging spike.

    Charts are one of the best ways of examining social indicators. When done well, they provide us with clear measures of patterns that we might not otherwise be aware. Nevertheless, the care we take in viewing them is only as good as the care that must be taken in their preparation as well as observing and collecting the original information. The data that went into making this chart on life expectancy is reliable for just these reasons, and -- because we can imagine what it measures – these simple lines speak volumes about what American civilization accomplished for its people over the last century.

  • Member of "Serve the City" in Brussels Dressing the Hair of a Homeless Woman What Can You Do? Service Sociology and Social Problems

    By A. Javier Trevino  

    A new type of sociology is devoted to the practical amelioration of social problems.

    By A. Javier Trevino

    Studying sociology usually means that you will be dealing with many issues that are troubling, harmful, and just plain distressing. As such, it is understandable that you may feel that “it’s all bad news,” that something needs to be done, that things need to change. But how?

    If sociology is the discipline that studies social problems—like crime; poverty; inequalities based on social class, race, and gender; epidemics; environmental problems, and so on—you may want to know what “solutions” it has to offer. Indeed, you may be interested in finding out what you can do to make a difference.

    Member of "Serve the City" in Brussels Dressing the Hair of a Homeless Woman

    Member of "Serve the City" in Brussels Dressing the Hair of a Homeless Woman

    Concern with the problems of urban life and their alleviation goes back to the early days of American sociology at the turn of the twentieth century. As sociology was becoming more and more popular in colleges and universities around the country, it basically took two forms: the study of sociological theory and the practice of ameliorative reform and service. At that time, most people thought of sociology as a form of philanthropy and courses such as Methods of Social Amelioration, Charities and Corrections, and Preventive Philanthropy were common. Undergraduate sociology programs were even more focused on training in charity and social service work.

    After its founding in 1892, the University of Chicago established the first full-fledged department of sociology in the United States. At least initially, sociologists there were diligently engaged with applied social reform and philanthropy. Indeed, the founder of the department, Albion W. Small, pointed out that sociology “is good for nothing unless it can enrich average life; our primary task is to work out correct statements of social problems and valid methods of solving them.”

    Along with the development of sociology at Chicago, between 1885 and 1930, a unique, active, and engaged sociology was being implemented in many of the “settlement houses,” or neighborhood centers that provided services to poor immigrants, that had been founded in major cities throughout the United States. Settlement sociologists, like Jane Addams, who in 1889 cofounded the most famous of the settlement houses, Hull House, in one Chicago’s desperately poor neighborhoods, considered the settlement as an experimental effort in the solution of the social problems of the modern city. Addams, and others like her, sought empirical data on various social problems through detailed descriptions of the conditions of groups living in poverty. In addition, Hull House provided a wide variety of community services, including securing support for deserted women, conducting a kindergarten and day nursery, implementing various enterprises for neighborhood improvement, and establishing a relief station.

    A new type of sociology that is devoted to the practical amelioration of social problems and that has its heritage in the early American sociology of relief and reform is now emerging. Service sociology is a socially responsible and mission-oriented soci¬ology of action and alleviation. Motivated by care and compassion, service sociology is concerned with helping people meet their pressing social needs. The sociology of service believes that the personal needs of one individual are not so different from the collective needs of others in similar life circumstances. This belief is why service sociology treats individuals as people in community with each other. The main goal of service sociology is to help people by meeting their essential needs and concerns through service. The various types of service activities for helping others is vast and they include: community counseling, coaching, mentoring, tutoring, conflict resolution, community gardening, friendly visiting, community cleanup, block activities, giving circles, crime prevention, community organizing, advocacy, voter registration, participatory action research, service learning, and mediation. And you can probably think of other similar service activities.

    Indeed, the time is now ripe for service sociology and for student involvement in it. Consider that in the past few years there has been a renewed public interest in volunteering and social service—a so-called “compassion boom”—particularly among the Millennial generation. Today, over one-quarter of all Americans take part in some form of community service with over 64 million volunteers serving. In 2011 these volunteers dedicated nearly 8 billion hours to volunteer service, and the economic value of this service was $171 billion. And across the country, millions of volunteers are involved in a range of critical areas, including tutoring and teaching; participating in fund-raising activities or selling items to raise money for an organization; collect¬ing, preparing, distributing, or serving food; and contributing general labor or providing transportation. What is more, no less than 26% of college students volunteered in 2010, and over 3 million of them dedicated over 300 million hours of service to communities across the country, primarily in activities involving youth mentoring, fundraising, and teaching and tutoring.

    In addition to community service, many citizens across the country are engaged civically. Indeed, between 2008 and 2010, 8.4 % of American adults worked with neighbors to fix a community problem; 49.6 % donated money, assets, or property with a combined value of more than $25 to charitable or reli¬gious organizations; and in 2010, 41.8 % of residents voted in the 2010 national election.

    In recent years we have also seen the emergence of several high-profile national service initiatives, such as President Obama’s United We Serve campaign, the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act, the annual Martin Luther King Jr. National Day of Service, and the 9/11 National Day of Service and Remembrance. This service work is being done by many ordinary people who are picking up the slack for a city, a state, a nation unwilling or unable to attend to many critical matters that directly affect thousands, even millions, of people. We have now entered an era in this country characterized by a culture of service—involving various forms of civic engagement, community service, and volunteerism—that allows people, as citizens, to work together to ease or mitigate the predicaments and uncertainties created by poverty, hunger, racism, sexism, epidemics, calamities, and so on. It is precisely in this current culture of service, with its numerous pressing needs and concerns, that we can consider the emergence of a sociology of social problems based on service.

    The motto of the International Sociology Honor Society, Alpha Kappa Delta, is “to investigate humanity for the purpose of service.” See http://www.alphakappadelta.org/Home.php

    To learn more about service sociology you can read the following sources:
    Treviño, A. Javier. 2011.“Teaching and Learning Service Sociology.” Teaching/Learning Matters [News¬letter for the American Sociological Association’s Section on Teaching and Learning in Sociology] 40(1):4–6.
    Treviño, A. Javier. 2012. “The Challenge of Service Sociology.” Social Problems 59(1):2–20.
    Treviño, A. Javier. 2013. “On the Facilitating Actions of Service Sociology.” Journal of Applied Social Science 7(1):95–109.
    Treviño, A. Javier, and Karen M. McCormack. 2014. Service Sociology and Academic Engagement in Social Problems. Farnham, UK: Ashgate Publishing.

  • The Passion of Mission Hill

    “Mission Hill and the Miracle of Boston” recorded the impact of desegregation and urban renewal. Professor Grady’s 1978 controversial documentary was recently featured at the MIT Urban Planning Film Series.

    Mission Hill and the Miracle of Boston was featured at the MIT Urban Planning Film Series on November 14, 2014. John Grady led a discussion after the film.

    View of Mission Hill from Brigham Circle to the Mission Church

    View of Mission Hill from Brigham Circle to the Mission Church

    Here is how it was introduced by Karilyn Crockett, Martin Luther King Post-doctoral fellow at MIT:
    For anyone who likes Boston or who definitely does not, this film is for you. Boston's recent mayoral election offers a new opportunity to examine some of the city's most enduring problems related to race, place and the postwar economic development of its neighborhoods and downtown. Esteemed documentary filmmakers, Richard Broadman and John Grady conceived "Mission Hill and the Miracle of Boston" (1978) as both snapshot and critique of big business-driven urban renewal. But don't worry this 60-min film is not pumped up policy drivel. First person accounts of residents coupled with raw newsreel reveal the physical and psychological impacts of rapid urban change from the frontline. View this fascinating document of Boston's recent past and learn the backstory of many of the political, economic and racial tensions that continue to inform the city's construction agenda today. It includes in depth consideration of racially segregated public housing developments in the Mission Hill/Heath Street neighborhood as well as the downtown creation of Faneuil Hall/Quincy Market as contested tourist destination, and offers a compelling look at multiple approaches to 20th century U.S. city building.

  • 650_Maya-Ennis_0335-e1370890107252-122x122 Traveling scholars

    Maya Ennis ’14 wins Gilman award to study in Egypt.

  • Figure 1 Still from Camp Gyno ad on YouTube Why We Should Take Advertisements Seriously

    John Grady

    Advertisements are important social and cultural documents. A representative sample often reflects a society’s concerns and values as accurately as well-executed surveys. But how is this possible?

    By John Grady

    Advertisements are important social and cultural documents. A representative sample often reflects a society’s concerns and values as accurately as well-executed surveys do. But how is this possible? How could images designed by people who don’t know, or haven't talked to, us -- and who are completely self-interested to boot – possibly reflect our innermost thoughts and feelings? Figuring out how exercises in persuasion by self-interested advertisers somehow manage to create reliable indicators of public sentiment has puzzled social scientists for a long time. Fortunately, it looks like the new social media may provide a key to solving that puzzle.

    Here’s how the advertising process works. Advertisers hire talented people to promote their products in attractive and engaging ways. After a long design and testing period, they launch their appeals at targeted populations (called demographics) through selected media: print, billboards, television and increasingly, the Internet. At this point, advertisements are pumped through the media into the massive torrent of communications that characterize everyday life.

    It’s not easy to get people’s attention. Advertisers compete not only with other advertisers but also the zillion other communiqués that people receive in a single day. These include pop songs, newspapers, television programming, and the innumerable conversations we have with family, friends, acquaintances and all those others whose paths we cross.

    Over the last century advertisers have been busily devising ways to cajole consumers into not turning off their messages (both literally and figuratively). Today the industry focuses increasingly on producing story telling gems that engage the audience with wit, humor and pathos. In short, a form of public entertainment – art, if you will -- has replaced the hard sales pitch.

    The goal of an advertising campaign, therefore, is to convince consumers to view the commercial as an answer to their inchoate preoccupations: will I -- and mine -- be better off, happier, healthier, more attractive, more popular, more enlightened, with this product or service than without it. Usually, however, the best that an advertiser can hope for is to have an audience enjoy the people and events portrayed in the advertisement and pray that this positive feeling will somehow attach itself to the product being hawked. If advertisement's do engage people’s attention in this fashion then this would exlain why it would be possible for researchers to view advertisements as reliable indicators of what concerns and preoccupies a population. But do we have any evidence that the public is actually engaged by these offerings?

    Figure 1 Still from Camp Gyno ad on YouTube

    Figure 1 Still from Camp Gyno ad on YouTube

    Camp Gyno is a commercial for Helloflo, a service that delivers a kit of tampons, pads and candies to young girls who have reached menarche. CNN’s Kelly Wallace describes the ad:

    “In it, a tween is the first girl to get her period at camp, what she calls her ‘red badge of courage', and proudly sets out to teach her pals about this milestone. ‘For these campers, I was their Joan of Arc,’ she says. ‘It's like I'm Joan, and their vag is the arc.’

    "Did she just say 'vag' in an ad?”

    In the space of a minute and a half our young protagonist rises from the lower ranks of the camp pecking order to the heights of power as the “Camp Gyno” -- channeling the persona of a Marine Corps drill instructor in her quest -- only to fall from grace as packages of Helloflo mysteriously arrive on campers’ cabin doorsteps.

    The high point of the ad is a scene (figure 1) where our heroine demonstrates menstruation to two astonished camp mates using a Dora the Explorer doll and a squeeze bottle of ketchup.

    Kelly Wallace continues:

    "I wasn't setting out with this incredible feminist agenda," said Naama Bloom, the creator of the ad and founder of a company called HelloFlo, which offers women a subscription service for monthly supplies of tampons and pads, and period starter kits for young girls.

    "I just wanted to talk the way women talked and the way I talk and the way I am teaching my daughter to talk," said the mom of two."

    In a personal communication, Blook reported to me that her start-up couldn’t afford an ad campaign on television. Instead, she gambled that on YouTube she could connect with other women – moms and tweens -- about their concerns. And, boy, did she! The commercial went viral and within a week it had more than five million hits and is still climbing.

    Even more interesting than the ad itself -- and the wide media coverage it has received -- has been the response on the web. The “likes” outnumber the “dislikes” by 8 to 1. Camp Gyno has also become fodder for discussion on women’s blogs, mini-documentary treatments and other forums on YouTube and the like. The overwhelming majority of discussants approves of the frank talk about a subject that is often discussed publicly – and invariably advertised – only in euphemisms. Nevertheless, a number of women question whether it is doing girls a disservice by romanticizing having your period and if the product itself -- the Helloflo service -- is all that useful.

    Figure 2 Still from Luv breastfeeding ad

    Figure 2 Still from Luv breastfeeding ad

     

    Luv’s, which makes diapers and baby wipes, has produced at least four commercials over the last year or so in its FIRST KID… SECOND KID campaign. These are gently amusing television spots that compare the comfortable competence of an experienced mom to her earlier, more anxious, self. Most of them have received around a hundred thousand hits. But only the breastfeeding ad went truly viral (figure 2).

    Two million hits, and a “like” to “dislike” ratio of 20 to 1, this ad has nevertheless triggered off a debate about breastfeeding that is far more contentious than Camp Gyno’s treatment of menstruation. Should women breastfeed in public or only in private? Is it a natural or disgusting act? Those who comment – and there are a great many -- manage to be offended – or offended at someone else’s being offended -- by questions like these.

    For sociologists these comments on the web confirm an impression that we’ve had for some time but didn’t have the data to prove. Advertising’s power is due not so much to what it might be shoveling into each of our brains but more to its ability to spark group awareness and interaction through countless, and until now most often anonymous, conversations. Today, the emergence of the new social media enables us to trace how advertisements actually enter into public discourse.

    Advertisements are not only designed to promote commodities but also constitute moral fables that model what kinds of people we should become and how we should treat each other. Even when these fictions are ironic, advertisers invariably construct an imaginary social order that they hope we will respond to favorably. Because the world is always changing and because advertisers need to make their messages especially noticeable, they often deliberately transgress established moral boundaries by imagining how social mores and cultural styles might be altered in sometimes-unconventional ways. If the content and style of their advertisements stray too far from deeply held beliefs and norms, the public – or at least some very vocal elements in it – will be outraged. Conversely, if advertisers dramatize what many have been feeling for some time but have neither had the imagination or courage to articulate, then the public will respond favorably, and attitudes may change surprisingly quickly.

    The HelloFlo and Luv’s advertisements address issues about the female body and its functions that have either been taboo in polite society, or treated euphemistically. What the advertisements are saying is that a society that has a hard time accepting frank depictions and conversations about breastfeeding and menstruation is one that demeans the full range of women’s experience (After all, hasn’t each of our lives been announced by a missed period!). Bringing the discussion of these aspects of female biology into the open, therefore, may not only change how women are seen in contemporary society, but also how comfortable women may become in experiencing their bodies. Such a change would build, of course, on the long struggle for women’s rights that has been fought with increasing success over the last half century.

    Increased frankness in advertising’s treatment of women’s concerns and in dramatizing the actual ways that women talk and the ways that some are teaching their daughters to talk are, therefore, markers of social change, and in time more conventional depictions will come to be seen as priggish, silly or worse as these mid-twentieth century ads about  feminine hygiene (figures 3 and 4) strike us today.

     

    Figure 3. Lysol advertisement (c. 1940) for feminine hygiene

    Figure 3. Lysol advertisement (c. 1940) for feminine hygiene

     

    Figure 4. Advertisement for unspecified feminine hygiene product.

    Figure 4. Advertisement for unspecified feminine hygiene product.

     

    Themes in advertising often anticipate emerging shifts in public opinion, which may not yet have been articulated publicly nor noticed by commentators. Can advertising influence the direction of that change? Certainly! But only when large groups of people actively choose to incorporate advertisers' appeals into the ways they make sense of their own lives and relationships. The evidence from YouTube is that this is an extremely dynamic process. Stay tuned!

  • Professor Kersti Yillo, Gabriella Torres A Global First at Wheaton

    The silence surrounding sexual violence in marriage was broken when scholars gathered at Wheaton

    The Sociology and Anthropology Departments recently sponsored an international, interdisciplinary conference on “Global Perspectives on Sexual Violence in Marriage.” Despite the growing international attention to various forms of violence against women, the issue of marital rape has been ignored by scholars, policy makers and practitioners. The silence surrounding sexual violence in marriage was broken when fourteen scholars from around the world gathered at Wheaton this May. The Wheaton Workshop, supported by a grant from the Wenner-Gren Foundation, was the first ever to focus on marital rape as a global problem, a startling fact given the social suffering it causes.

    Professor of Sociology Kersti Yllo and Associate Professor of Anthropology Gabriela Torres were the organizers of the intensive workshop. Their goal was to bring together anthropologists, sociologists, legal scholars and public health and human rights proponents to develop an approach to this very intimate form of violence that is understood very differently in different cultural contexts. Even the very definition of marital rape is highly contested. Marital rape is legal in much of the world and was criminalized in the US and UK only in the last decades of the twentieth century, even as it is significantly implicated in the global HIV/AIDS pandemic.

    The three days of discussion were intense but productive as scholars from different disciplinary backgrounds put forth their views. Sociologists, who work primarily within their own societies, don’t hesitate to label this form of violence a “social problem”, whereas anthropologists take a more cultural relativist approach and cautioned against facile applications of Western theoretical explanations. We debated conceptions of the self, body, gender, consent, and intimacy in the context of rapid global changes in the very nature of marriage. Human Rights and Public Health programs that seek to redress women’s suffering were identified as necessary but also suspect in the extension of US/European conceptions of self, body and sexual autonomy. The role of states in supporting intimate partner sexual violence through judicial structures and social services was also an important focus.

    The Wheaton Workshop involved challenging conversations and productive collaborations. The Marital Rape Network , an ongoing scholarly collaboration and listserv, grew out of our meeting and we are already advancing new research on marital rape in several countries. We will be presenting at scholarly conferences as well as collaborating on a book entitled Global Perspectives on Marital Rape. One of the reasons that the conference was so positive and productive was that Wheaton provided a beautiful and relaxing context for our work. The atmosphere, cookouts, lobster dinner, and music by Wheaton’s own Matthew Allen and Julie Searles set the stage for developing a shared commitment to addressing a significant global problem.

  • Tough Gun Legislation: It’s just a matter of time… but don’t hold your breath

    By John Grady and Karen McCormack.
    After the tragic shooting in Newtown, the issue of regulating gun ownership became a topic of hot debate across the country… at least for a while anyway.

    By John Grady and Karen McCormack

    After the tragic shooting in Newtown last December that killed twenty children, regulating gun ownership became a topic of hot debate across the country… at least for a while anyway. At the time many commentators predicted that the interests of the gun lobby would prevail over the best efforts of reformers and they appear to have been correct. But a look at trends in gun ownership – and people’s attitudes about guns -- reveals that Americans’ investment in gun ownership is steadily declining. What seems likely, therefore, is that we should expect Congress to consider – and pass -- more encompassing and effective gun regulation within the next several years.

    The General Social Survey (GSS) reports that gun ownership in the US has dropped steadily since the early 1970s, from more than a half (54%) of all households to a little over a third (36%) in 2012. This decline in gun ownership over time covers the entire spectrum of the population (whether by sex, race, income, or region).

    Moreover, today’s youngest generation owns fewer guns than their elders. Whereas 46% of Baby-Boomers lived in a home with guns when they were 18-29, and 35% of Gen-Xers did, under a quarter (23%) of Millennials – including today’s college students -- do. In fact, the group with the highest rate of gun ownership (54%) over the course of their lives is the Silent Generation, whose youngest members are already in their early seventies. With each passing year, therefore, a slowly growing proportion of Silents is being replaced by Millennials who have little interest in gun ownership. In addition, anywhere from three quarters to four out of five Americans (75-80%) have consistently told the GSS that they favor requiring gun permits and background checks for gun purchases.

    Chart showing percent of US population owning guns, hunting with guns, both, or neither. Also showing percent owning handguns. Data from 1977

    Figure 1: Proportions of the Total Population (Entire Chart) Consisting of Gun Owners (Beige), by Hunting (Cross-Hatching) and Hand gun Ownership (HG’s), 1977. Source: General Social Survey

    One way of imagining the proportion of the total population that is invested in the gun culture is displayed in figure 1. Everything within the perimeter of the largest square represents the total population. Those who participate in the gun culture are to be found represented in Beige (Gun Owners), cross-hatching (hunters), and cells marked HG stand for those gun owners who own handguns. The blank space represents households that neither hunt nor own guns (42%). Numbers like these suggest that it is only a matter of time before the gun lobby will have lost the popular support they rely on to block strong gun legislation.

    But if opposition to rational gun legislation’s days are numbered, the GSS also reports that the commitment of those who do own guns may be hardening even as their overall numbers shrink. Handgun ownership, for example, is increasingly concentrated among those who hunt. Even though households who hunt have declined from 32% in 1977 to 20% today, they are far more likely than non-hunting households to possess handguns, which, of course, are not needed for hunting. In fact, in 1977 hunters were only twice as likely as non-hunters to have a pistol or revolver in their house. Today, almost half the hunting population possesses a handgun; four times the rate of the population that doesn’t hunt.

    Chart showing percent of US population owning guns, hunting with guns, both, or neither. Also showing percent owning handguns. Data from 2012

    Figure 2: Proportion of the Total Population (Entire Chart) Consisting of Gun Owners (Beige) by Hunting (Cross-Hatching) and Hand Gun Ownership (HG’s), 2012. Source: General Social Survey

    Comparing figures 1 and 2 clearly shows this process. Note that the blank space has grown to three out of five households (60%) but also how prevalent handgun ownership has become within the gun culture.

    These changes suggest that those who do own guns are increasingly conflating recreational and economic pursuits with more gut level concerns about self-defense. It should be noted that if possessing handguns is correlated with concern about personal safety then this is a puzzling trend as the last two decades have witnessed a dramatic long-term decline in both crime and personal violence in America.

    In the long run increased gun regulations appear to be inevitable. Unfortunately, the debate that pits gun rights against government regulation should become even more rancorous as the gun lobby’s base shrinks and its power wanes. So we should expect a great deal more bitterness before the issue is finally resolved. (Remember the ferocious resistance to the Civil Rights movement!) But, as always, we should not mistake the volume of dissent for the opinion of the majority.

     

     

  • Photo of G. Brujó Gonzalo Brujó, '97

    Gonzalo Brujó ’97 is the Chairman for Latin America and Iberia of Interbrand, the world’s leading brand consultancy. “My studies in Wheaton have also secured me a challenging, yet interesting job which I look forward to and enjoy every single day.”

    Gonzalo Brujó is the Chairman for Latin America and Iberia of Interbrand, the world’s leading brand consultancy. Ever since he joined Interbrand he has held different managerial positions. His role involves working daily in the business growth, identifying new business and marketing opportunities and supporting and overseeing consulting projects. He is also a renowned speaker at conferences, a columnist, a consultant in major firms, a writer of various best sellers and a lecturer at several business schools. Prior to joining Interbrand, he worked in Green Team Advertising in New York and in Future Brand in New York and Mexico for several years.

    “Ever since I left Wheaton I pursued a career in marketing, advertising and branding which was at the time my main area of interest and is still my passion today. After holding different roles in various companies and regions (Latam, USA, Spain), I have come to realize how important my Sociology background has become. In Interbrand we believe brands have the power to change the world and most importantly that the best brands are sensitive to human needs and desires. In today’s changing world we need to fully understand the evolution and changes in consumers and trends and that is where I always like to think of my Sociology studies, as understanding today’s social movements is crucial for brands and businesses to succeed.

    "Education is no doubt the beginning of every successful career. My BA in Communication, Politics and Sociology in Wheaton has given me the tools and the analytical and critical thinking needed in today’s increasingly competitive world. My studies in Wheaton have also secured me a challenging, yet interesting job which I look forward to and enjoy every single day”.

  • Radio Documentary

    Michael Beneduce On Thursday April 18th, my visual sociology class gave a warm welcome to Rob Rosenthal, one of the world’s most renowned radio documenters and directors. Rob performed about an hour-long presentation, which covered different aspects and the importance of radio documentary and what it has to offer our understanding of humanity and the […]

    Michael Beneduce

    On Thursday April 18th, my visual sociology class gave a warm welcome to Rob Rosenthal, one of the world’s most renowned radio documenters and directors. Rob performed about an hour-long presentation, which covered different aspects and the importance of radio documentary and what it has to offer our understanding of humanity and the way we live our lives. Rob truly believes that if he is doing his job correctly and using active tape, he can help to create a picture without using visuals. He suggests that there is something very unique about the human voice and that it is much more content rich than any other mediums. Something that Rob felt very important in the radio industry was the ‘power of the voice’ within story telling. When people tell stories, they are usually able to grasp full attention by the listener, out of hope for an ultimate purpose or conclusion. Rob had several examples of the power of the voice and sounds, and was able to demonstrate them by using recordings.

    Rob believes that story telling and sound is embedded within us. He demonstrated the power of the human voice by showing us several recordings, the first of which was of a young boy who was forced to kill rabbits in order to feed his family. However, it wasn’t until the end of the recording that we found out what the actual purpose for the killing was, which mentally kept me, as a listener, engaged in the story. In another example, our class learned of a murder case that took place in Texas in the early 2000s. The recording is simply of the voices of both sets of parents of the children who were involved in the murder (the victim and suspected murderer). Although there was no background music or sounds, the power of the words and voices of the sets of parents was more powerful and significant than any picture can depict. Rob also displayed another recording about a photographer who went out at night and photographed people from outside their homes –“She Sees Your Every Move”. In this example, there was a strong use of eerie music that helped me to truly feel as if I were there with the lady, taking pictures at night. Rob stated that if he is doing his job correctly, the listener should feel as if he/she is a co-author of the story. Given these examples, I truly felt as though I was apart of the experience.

  • Importance of Radio

    Janine Kopeski Rob Rosenthal, an accomplished radio producer and teacher, came in my Visual Sociology class to discuss the importance of radio. What makes radio shows different than most media broadcast is that the audience can only hear the show, they cannot actually see anything except in their imagination. Therefore, the radio producers must make […]

    Janine Kopeski

    Rob Rosenthal, an accomplished radio producer and teacher, came in my Visual Sociology class to discuss the importance of radio. What makes radio shows different than most media broadcast is that the audience can only hear the show, they cannot actually see anything except in their imagination. Therefore, the radio producers must make sure to blend sounds that are important to the story because the sound is what gives a radio show its edge. The interviewers for a radio show must record all the sounds organically meaning that the sounds must come from the people that they are interviewing in a natural setting. For example, one of the radio interviews that Professor Rosenthal had us listen to was of a man who would spend his days recording everything that he does on his typewriter, “Robert Shields, World’s Longest Diary”. The radio interviewer integrated the sound of the man’s typewriter and classical music (because that is what the man would listen to when he wrote on his typewriter). In order for the radio interviewer to get those sounds he had to record them from the typewriting man doing it himself. He couldn’t ask the man just to type on the typewriter but had to record the man when he was doing it himself. The same goes for the recording of the classical music; the interviewer recorded it when the typewriting man was playing his music on his own.

    Radio is important because it gives the listeners a chance to hear the truth about people’s lives through recorded interviews. It also allows people to really listen to others stories and not to become distracted by what people look like. For instance, the audio clip called “Leaving a Mark” is an interview given by Emily Hsiao and she interviewed a freed prisoner who has a swastika tattoo. It turns out that the prisoner had no reason for getting the swastika tattoo aside from the fact that he thought it looked cool when he was younger. He actually now wants to get the tattoo removed. We can only hear the conversation between Emily and the prisoner but I felt that I could really just sit and listen to what the prisoner had to say without being distracted by what he looked like. The prisoner told Emily what he really felt about the tattoo and I was able to listen to the story without judging the prisoner because all I could hear was the recording of the interview. Radio shows allow an audience to listen to the people and the world around them. Listening is something that sometimes gets taken for guaranteed, but radio shows are a way to remind us why it is important to listen to what people have to say without judgment.