All posts filed under: SocioGram

Non-movements and social change

Asef Bayat’s (2010) concept of social non-movement refers to those practices that individuals do to survive forms of marginalization. These are acts of resistance that are often not deliberate, and are not done as part of organized groups. Bayat fleshes out this term further through the notion of “quiet encroachment of the ordinary,” in which ordinary people conduct a sustained and prolonged appropriation of city spaces simply by doing what they do to survive. In establishing informal settlements on land they do not own, for instance, individuals who otherwise cannot afford land in the city are now able to live and work in it.  Taking Bayat’s notion a step further, the middle classes also engage in social non-movements in sharing real news on injustices online, donating to organized movements, or supporting small businesses that were set up to cope with pandemic losses. In these pandemic times, students who resist formal schooling – which some see to be an unfair practice especially if they are required to have gadgets, pay full tuition fees, and use their …

SocioGram: What’s in a selfie?

It’s not hard to find people taking selfies on the streets. Each day, one million selfies are taken on earth (Gram 2015) and more than 200 million photos have been posted on Instagram with the hashtag, #selfie. Apparently, we live in the era of the selfie. But why do people take selfies? The reason is not as simple as having an abundance of narcissists in front of mirrors, but is rather related to the performance of social acts. People take selfies, not to save them in private camera rolls, but to share them on social networks such as Instagram. Taking selfies thus refers, not to an individual act, but to a social act (Cole 2014). In his concept of the “looking-glass self,” Charles Horton Cooley stated that we see ourselves based on how we think others perceive us. The more “likes” a selfie receives, the more confidence the selfie-taker gains and the more he or she feels popular. As such, it is possible for a person to spend a long time taking, retaking, and editing …

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Have a cup of Christmas

The protest that ensued from such a plain design tells us of the determination of some groups to impose their beliefs and interpretations on others and the stubbornness in thinking that one way of life holds true over other ways of life. While the Starbucks cup non-issue might appear trivial amidst the troubles of the world, we can see it as an invitation to reflect on the reasons for why we celebrate, or think we should celebrate, certain events.

“Yummy Teh!” and Everyday Realities

According to Sapir and Whorf, language is the lens by which we see the world. Language is enriched as we define and redefine everyday realities, and new articulations, through an agreement on the meanings of letter combinations, emerge. Over the years, what is oral – words we would hear only in informal conversations among certain social groups – start to seep into mainstream culture and even become part of the lexicon. And as shown in the picture, this has also allowed us to perceive everyday realities in more colorful ways.