Friday, March 27, 2009

The Problem with Southern Culture

No other region of the United States is as stigmatized as the South. Southerners are frequently viewed as nonintellectual, backwards, and lazy. We are all familiar with the image of house furniture on the porch (the front porch that is), rednecks drinking Bud Light and chewing tobacco at NASCAR races, and of course, the famous southern drawl. While many of these sectionalist stereotypes are sophomoric at best given that every region has its share of shameful images, it is true that the South trails much of the country in health indicators, the arts, and most notably, progress-oriented policy. In this essay I intend to explain how southern culture serves as a barrier to regional growth and development.

Culture not geography defines the south. Although areas like northern Virginia, Maryland, and south Florida are geographically southern, its citizens are not considered purveyors of southern culture. Using this logic, if states like Mississippi or Arkansas revolutionized their cultural practices would they still be considered members of the South? Similarly, would Alabama still be part of the South if its citizens elected Artur Davis (A pro-Obama African American running for governor), eliminated the public display of rebel flags, and ousted its antebellum senators?

The answer to these questions is yes, but only in terms of geography. This is true because implicit in our current concept of the South is a culture that is unwelcoming to progress-oriented change which ultimately works in the favor of its power elite, the Bourbon conservatives. Any change in the balance of culture threatens their power. Thus the South is the South because of its culture which has historically worked to maintain an exclusive social hierarchy that denigrates those who, because of their racial or political identity, exist outside the cultural box.

Preserving the Order

We are all familiar with the story. Before the Civil War, southern Democrats - prodded by southern planters - voted to leave the United States to preserve the cultural and economic institution of slavery. After losing the war, the South was forced to experiment with social and cultural pluralism. During this period of Reconstruction, freed slaves received voting rights and African American officials were elected to several prominent posts. During this time the South made attempts at modernization and industrialization. However, this type of progress did not fare well with the Bourbon conservatives who saw an opportunity to regain power after the election of 1876 between Rutherford B. Hayes who represented northern interests and Samuel Tilden who represented southern interests.

No clear winner emerged after the votes were counted. As a result, a deal was struck between Hayes and Tilden. Hayes would become president only if he agreed to end Reconstruction. Hayes assented and soon afterwards, federal troops were removed meaning that the North no longer had any real method of enforcing its plan for Reconstruction. The Bourbon conservatives quickly seized the moment by rewriting state constitutions in a manner that disenfranchised African Americans, passing stiff segregation laws, and strengthening clandestine terrorist groups that enforced the old ways. As a result, educational, economic, and political opportunities for marginalized groups began to evaporate in the heat of the South’s cultural hegemony. Under such circumstances, those existing outside of the box began searching elsewhere for equality, justice, expression, and prosperity.

The Critical Mass

Accordingly, in 1916 African Americans started leaving the rural South en masse to pursue opportunities not afforded to them in their current locations. This social phenomenon known as the Great Migration occurred in two phases: The first Great Migration which lasted from 1916-1930 and the second Great Migration from 1940-1970. The 1.5 and 5 million respective migrants included many talented and ambitious individuals who would go on to profoundly influence society and culture.

While the South focused on maintaining its social order the rest of the country was growing from the cultural contributions of the Harlem Renaissance. While the South was busy applying poll taxes to African American citizens, Nobel recipient Ralph Bunch was promoting diplomacy in the Middle East. While the southern socioeconomic order was actively suppressing African American males to low-paying menial tasks; Syracuse University, UCLA, and the University of Southern California were busy recruiting Jim Brown, Jackie Robinson, and Charles White.

Though the migratory destinations of African Americans were far from utopian, it is evident that many found success that otherwise would have been absent. The years between 1916 and 1930 saw significant increases in the number of African American school teachers and business owners. This era also saw a dramatic rise in the African American literacy rate from 39% to 85%.[1]

Back in the South, during the late 1960’s as Democrats became increasingly liberal over the question of segregation, clever Republicans implemented the infamous “Southern Strategy” which hypothesized that segregationist Democrats would leave the party because it was fast becoming the political choice of African Americans. African Americans naturally gravitated toward the Democrats demonstrating their respect for the progressive policies of Kennedy and Johnson and as planned, segregationists started leaving the party in great numbers. This Southern Strategy proved politically successful and propelled the likes of Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, George Bush I, and George Bush II to the presidency. Indeed, the Southern Strategy represented a new way to preserve the old way.

With the exception of Martin Luther King Jr. and other civil rights activists, the South has historically lacked critical agents of change - individuals who possess the skill, knowledge, and desire to challenge the social order. While I respect the accomplishments and economic wisdom of Booker T. Washington, he was not an agent of change, but a casualty of the status quo. Other southerners who had the potential to be change agents such as Ida B. Wells were forced to leave the South under threat of violence.

Thus the critical mass of African Americans needed to challenge the Bourbon conservatives continuously slipped away to the North and West. Those left did not have the numerical or ideological support to engender major changes. As a result, the good ole’ boy politicians and business leaders in power today are no different than those who maintained power during the antebellum and the Jim Crow eras. With regard to states rights, industry, and economic pluralism there is no significant ideological or cultural difference between Richard Shelby (R AL) and Saxby Chambliss (R GA) of today and William Yancey and John C. Calhoun of the antebellum period.

That’s Just the Way it is…

The southern power structure remains in tact because there is no challenge or resistance to the Bourbon conservatives. While the South still has the highest proportion of African American residents with roughly 37% living in the nine-state region (45% if including Texas),[2] a critical mass of middle class, politically active African Americans live in other areas. Consequently, the region has no African Americans senators or governors and it currently has only 12 African Americans in the House of Representatives.[3] Furthermore, of the nine states in the region, six have Republican governors.[4] Likewise, over half of its representatives in the House are Republican, as well as 13 of its18 senators.

Although a significant number of rural African American migrants moved to southern cities such as Birmingham, Atlanta, and Memphis; these urban areas exist as mere islands of liberal policy and practice surrounded by a sea of cultural single-mindedness. President Obama won most major cities in the South, but lost in every southern state except Florida and North Carolina, which incidentally, are almost not Southern. As the good ole’ boys remain in power, they will continue to mandate limits on progress; it is in their best interest to do so. Consequently, the South should not prepare for any benefits associated with positive change. Indeed the living is easy…and cotton is high on the minds of the Bourbon conservatives.

[1] See
[2] American Community Survey Three Year Estimates. 2005-2007 (2007). United States Bureau of the Census: Washington, DC
[3] See and
[4] The nine state region includes North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, Tennessee, and Florida (I count Florida, at least until the capital is moved from Tallahassee in the southern sympathizing panhandle to the more cosmopolitan city of Orlando).


  1. No one can deny that what you have written is true. How can we move past the stagnant southern political atmosphere when there is such staunch opposition to progressive policies coupled with the disinterested masses who are demoralized and to an extent complacent with this way-of-life?


  2. Are you a northern carpertbagger?

  3. Proposals and not derogatory name-calling will move us closer to a solution. Everything else is simply a distraction from our common goal.

    To Anonymous: I have called both "down South" and "up North" my home, although I claim the South when asked.

    Am I wrong about the "disinterested", "demoralized", and "complacent" southern masses?


  4. What the heck is a carpetbagger?

  5. Southerners support collegiate sports although they have not even finished elementary school. They would spend $100 to tailgate at a school that no one in thier family would be caught dead attending. How backwards is that???? (BTW I live in the South).

  6. Dr. Hannon.. i couldnt agree with u more there is a LARGE stereotype when it comes to southerners. but i feel like it wont just go away over night either. sure if we change our elected officials and refrain from certain social taboos SOME peoples views would change but that stereotype will be there for generations. it would be there for years. thats just the way people were socialized.

    Shakirra Jones

  7. Ranisha Reese saidApril 2, 2009 at 7:27 PM

    Well, with the word "change " in mind i do believe that it is soon to come, but living in the south it want be easy. Because we have already been stereotyped and we are scared that something might happen along the way. As you stated in this report President Obama lost in every southern state except two. So knowing that some people are looking for a better tomorrow should give southern people some form of hope because we now know that we can essentially do it. When it comes to change people have to put away their past and work together for the future. I do believe that it is only a matter of time. Until then it is what it is.

  8. Jamal Brown

    African Americans in the South are Continuously Suppressed to this Day.

    I consider the states of the south, those that held a vast majority of slaves and were battle grounds during the civil rights movement. African Americans or the south are much different than those of more highly educated African Americans of the north. The southerns feel a more emotional relationship towards their ancestors because of how they are socialized from birth about their adversaries in southern whites. They are born in a box of sort, for mental protection and probable growth away from the acknowledgement that whites have a complex system and way of life built for them and them only. It is seen as a way to suppress the african american community as a whole, and as an attemp to take away the economic freedoms and rights that were given to them. Strating with education on to the career field and housing, they have built a somewhat stangnaunt growth system for the African American people of the south.

  9. Dr. Hannon

    I thoroughly enjoyed your essay. I must say that I have considered the factors you listed above. I was born and raised in Alabama, but I have been privilege to experience other regions. I noticed a sharp contrast culturally. Not only did I notice a difference, but I am reminded of that difference everyday considering I attend Tuskegee University (a regionally diverse campus).

    I would like to applaud you on your first assessment of history that clearly defines the preservation of race/cultural superioeirty. I was enlightened with the historical facts, and find it comical that these type of negotiations are withheld from our history books (considering it ended the Reconstruction Period).

    The Southern Strategy should be a political science or sociology course in itself. I've always wondered how the interests of these groups developed into the extremes seen today.

    My only criticism would be in the hopeless way you ended your essay. I think that the cities you mention are islands in Southern society, however, more cities of this nature are on the rise in the south such as Charlotte, NC or Raleigh, VA. A

    All in all, excellent composition!

    Shana Hardy

  10. Sika Shiel TTH Intro to Sociology 4:00-5:30

    In reading this Essay not only can I agree with just about everytthing that is written but I'm also enlightened. I am not from the south so many of the things you speak of I was ignorant to untill I visited the south and came to visit. some of the sterotypes of the south that i had was that people were stuck in the slavery mentality, which many are but majority are intelligent and articulate. I guess it is true that the Bourban conservatives ( the good 'ole boys) seem to keep the southern states in check by only allowing non african americans to hold high political state postions.

    I dont understand how can the non Bourbans conservatives of the south can not stir up change and change the status quo. its been the same chain of power since before slavery was introduced to the south. The good 'ole boys control the southern states and will not allow it to change.
    Some of the greatest minds come from non Bourban conservatives yet it is not shown, the greatest civilizations of the world came from the rich continant of Africa when they came up with ways to perserve bodies through mummification, building outstanding mounuments that still stand today, and most of all they taught other countries :ie greece, spain, and moste of the european countries languages and ways to write their alphabets.
    I hope that someday African Americans of the southern regions will not the sterotypes proceed them.

  11. -Foremost I thoroughly enjoyed the topic, it expresses true issues and I personally think that you can never solve a problem if you don’t know where it started.

    I was born in Tallahassee, Florida, moved to Irmo, South Carolina, and I moved to Alabama when I turned 10. I am an obvious native to the South and have witnessed change and I am familiar with the discussion of your essay. Your first paragraph is so true. I went to a predominately white school when we moved to Alabama. Big trucks with confederate flags painted on the windows or on the truck. I would go to school and at the top of the flag pole was the American Flag, the Alabama State Flag, and then (until it was recently removed) the confederate flag. I never fully understood what racism was until I moved to Alabama. Prejudice and racism, shamefully is what makes up the South! And the thing that irks me the most is that the reason we cannot change is because some are stuck living in the past and looking at each race with a stereo type.
    At football games you would see old men dressed up in there confederate hats. The stadium was predominately segregated…. Can you believe it not only were we segregated by choice we were raised to be that way. Every African American in my high school were either my cousins or we grew up together on East Tallassee “Wall Street” or “The Black Community”. The town was segregated. There was Tallassee and East Tallassee both separated by a bridge. But it goes deeper than just black people its Tallassee being the rich side of town and East Tallassee being the poorest.
    This is not only a discussion, but an agreement to your essay. I gave few examples of the problems with our culture, from my own personal experience. 100 years of wars and movements and after all the work and blood that was given we are still living in a modern day war between black and white, rich whites verses poor whites, and blacks verses blacks. And even now we have immigrants who are now in the mix. The Southern Culture is in trouble but how can you solve a problem when the problem is not aware of its own in depth situation

    -Patience Smith
    Sociology 11-12

  12. Very insightful information! Lonnie, I do believe that the south is going to change (within the next 10 years).The change will take place over a gradual period of time. The south has the ability to make progress and shed some of its “Bubba Gump” image. For this to happen it is going to be up to a new generation of southerners. They must be mindful of the past and bold enough not to follow the status quo. The old conservatives and token black leaders that are in place must be removed from the seats of power.

  13. Dr.Hannon; how will we measure change in the south? Will it be measured by electing a person of color to a statewide office in Alabama, Texas, or other southern states? States that clearly did not want to see President Obama elected… Perhaps we will see an Asian, Hispanic, or African American head football coach at Auburn or the University of Alabama? Change can and will come in many forms. Will it come when there are just as many whites as blacks at HBCU's? When churches in rural Cullman, Alabama are no longer segregated, will we consider that change? I think that when poor whites in the south realize that they have the same problems as blacks we will have made great strides. When blacks no longer blame the white man for there personal setbacks we will be moving forward. To truly move forward a few must no longer think for the masses (no matter what the color); they must become educated and learn to think for themselves.

  14. The South will never be as fast moving as the north or as flashy. It will never catch up to the standards that society has created for the north. The people that control the south and keep it in the position it's in are the same ones that would rather live in the north. They don't want to live in the same area with African Americans or see them prosper. Why? We all live in the same country and legally have the same rights but why can't the entire country be on the same economic level? People boast about the "southern hospitality" and how welcoming it is in the south but still enslave the people who offer the hospitality.

  15. Dr Hannon,
    At the beginning of the essay I agree to the fullest on how Southerners move from the South to go recieve opportunities that other regions of the country had, but I believe if more Southerners gave the region a chance the South would have just as much opportunities as other regions. Everything has a sterotype but its up to the person or in this case a state to live up to those sterotypes.On the other hand, in today's world, people from the north tend to move down south for economical reasons and more job opportunities.also i belive that the south will keep its culture, because of the people that have not migrated to the north will keep the southern tradition and pass it on for the years to come.

  16. You are so right. I must SERIOUSLY admit that the south is still a little backwards. We are always the last to receive things, such as technology because some southern people are stuck in their ways. But some on the stereotypes are ridiculous. Alabama people do not married inside their family. (Wouldn't that be considered incest?) We don't all live in double wides. (I live in a house.) We don't wear cut up overalls, straw hats, and stay barefoot. Ain't Finna, and other words are just words that we grew up on. We can talk correctly. Besides that there is till segregation in Alabama. In Selma, most African Americans in the city limits go to Selma High School. (Except the white kids who stay at the children’s home two blocks down. They act "BLACK", as some people say. The white kids that had "money" went to Morgan and Meadowview Christian (and if a black person were to try to enter these institutes, a cross will probably be burned in front of their house. One of the Christian schools' mascots is the rebels and they are free to rock their confederate flags. They are also waved during the battle of Selma.) If they white kids didn't have much money, they went to CCA or Dallas County High School. Outside the city limit, they went to Keith or Southside (GHETTO). It is amazing how the south is still set in the slavery days, but slowly but surely, it will change. I believe it will.
    Some thin that really bothered me at the beginning of school was how the people form up north and the west side of the U.S. were so negative about ALABAMA. They saw one part of Alabama (Tuskegee) and ran with it. There are nice parts of Alabama, and just because we don't have a Starbucks, Hollister and an American Eagle, some people wanted to trip. One thing that SOME of us do have is southern hospitality and tradition. Some of my new friends that accepted us "Southern folk" are some of the nicest people.

  17. Southern Hospitality: Dallas PD
    Delete Post Manage Blog Is America Really Changing?

    This incident listed below has outraged me... Please Read

    Unedited Dallas police dashboard camera video shows traffic stop of NFL player Ryan Moats
    The nearly 17-minute video shows the entire incident involving Houston Texans running back Ryan Moats and Dallas police officer Robert Powell. Moats was rushing his wife and two of her family members to a hospital, where his mother-in-law lay dying. She died while Moats and his wife's grandfather waited outside the hospital for the officer to issue a ticket. Edited video (1:54) | Story

    March 26th, 2009
    Please cut and paste the link and watch!

  18. Change is coming. We just have to be ready to embrace it.

  19. Gerriod Sharp

    I must say that i fully agree with you Dr.Hannon. Me personally believe that we(southerns) embodies this essay. Eventhough we now accept the fact that change is going to come, we as southern might look at the change as a removal of our old society that we have built. This change is now being taken place here in all over the south. Seeing that there are more black in office now,espically in my hometown MONTGOMERY, AL. This is where The Civil Rights movement took place at for the most part. There is alot of history in the south,eventhough we will go through the changes that is yet to come, we as southerners should not forget about our history but should add on to that history.

    And yet i still agree with you Dr. Hannon that we havent had a leader to step out on the edge to take the leader role to bring change in the south but this change is coming.As we do it in the south we take it easy and slow, but the change is coming slowly. But living in an agricultry based region we can only wait for the technology and industrial change again. This was a good essay but looking back at the essay mad me realize how us SOUTHERN are really sterotype.

  20. Blacks in that time had to work their way up in the ways society measures them. From being poor and had to do what ever the white man says is wrong. Slavery was the key and main stepping stool of struggle to the right of agreement: In the civil rights days these points and aggressions was decided in solid for a chance. From the change of the US Constution to the NACCP, blacks was making a positive change in society. It was no longer ascribed but achieved, from stigma to prestige symbols. Agents of socialization was in process between the whites and the blacks, separating there cultures to changing their attitudes, values, and behaviors. The blacks had a chance and a movement was displayed of the act. The progress of change has great times behind it through out histroy.

    From chateau dion mercier

  21. Rasean Stoney

    Dr. Hannon

    I was born in queens, New york and Raised in Brooklyn, New york. Being from up north and not experiencing all these hardship people had faced makes me upset. But i strongly feel that older generations does not want change in their lives. Most of them are so used to having what they have, they do not want to let new things change their old ones.

    I feel in order to really overcome stereotypes; we as African American people people just need to find ways to make each other great. It is not about the white man or who we want to blame. it's us believing in ourselves and believing in achieve goals we set forth. slavery was one of the main reason why we were down. For the most part it is gone for now. for society we need to start new things and progress as people and move forward. culture plays a big part of it, but different cultures can work together to achieve the same common goal. The main things is change will come, it just takes time.

  22. Martha Ann Jones...

    This essay leaves asking one question: who's to blame?

    Are we as African-American to blame or is it the good ole boys fault? The heart of the matter is the matter of the heart. I believe it takes an individualistic mannerism to help the southern culture. Before a culture social issue can be addressed and/or corrected each individual MUST analyze, examine, and evaluate themselves. It is impossible to tell another individual the truth if you are lying to yourself.

  23. It is a shame to say that in the twenty first century that not so much the South itself, but the people have not changed. Despite all that has happened to black people while in the South, it has made a huge contribution, in an indirect way, in the amount of famous black people that has shape this country into what it is today. Although being raised in the South, it is a disappointment and a blessing it has taught me about the mindset of people differs from one white person to the next and to not let some “backwards, hillbilly” stop me from my dreams and goals. Even though most people would probably much rather live in the North or West, you can learn a lot of history and explore some of the most beautiful places that the South has preserved.

    -Chelsea Barnes-Walker (Soci 240-04)

  24. It is quite upsetting that we do not have strong figure to shape the African American society like in the past. We do not have a Martin Luther King Jr. or an Ida B. Wells. I believe that we are stuck in a category that has potential to escape; however, we do not have the driving force to go forth. We make up a very small percentage in the legal system and the political system. When reading about the “Southern Strategy” it make it clearer how conservatives want to keep us ignorant to what is going on. This reminds me of the Willie Lynch Letters. They [conservatives] take the information from us and we do not search for them. We are left at the bottom with people that do not have our interest at heart to rule us. Things started to look up for us when President Obama was elected. The rates of the minority and younger aged voters rocketed. Even though we took part in this history, how much longer would it take for African Americans to really gain their total freedom and be equal? It’s going to be a slow process.
    ....................E.S. Austin................

  25. Clarence JeffersonApril 15, 2009 at 10:17 AM

    I can definitely see were you are coming from in this one Dr. Hannon. the stereotypes that afflict us are not only talked about and wrote about. there are many shows and commercials on TV that depict southerners in a negative light, both blacks and whites.

    I was watching a tv shows that describes southern North America as the place were " the black folks are lazy and the white folks are just as lazy and are mad at the blacks for being lazy" that could not be any further from the truth.

  26. I agree that the stereotypes of both the North and the South are wrong and most untrue but I think it gives people a comfort because people around the world generally place a label on any group of people, places or things unknown to them. The south has dealt with the silent controlling that will continue to hold us back and that makes in twice as bad for blacks in the south. Although there are many things I’m not proud about the south, I call this place my home and would not change it for nothing because there are positives to southern culture even if they are few. I hope we can one day escape this ignorant way of thinking but I don’t believe it will come anytime soon.

    Samone Stevenson Socio T/TH 4-5:30

  27. I believe that the south is going to undergoe major changes in the years to come. Some people have reasons to sterotype the south because of some of its history. That does not mean that the sterotypes apply for every single person that stays in the south. There are also sterotypes that the southerners have about the north. Some are true, some are not. In all cases that does not mean, the sterotypes does not speak for every person who stays in that particular region. Most areas and most people of the country are not very different. You can tell that they are from a different culture or region, but they are minor distinctions. But, people have the choice to maintain their cultural distinctions and that is a part of who that individual is

  28. I think that you are absolutely right about the fact that culture, not geography defines the south. I have lived in Alabama all of my life, and I have heard every stereotype that one can throw out. Honestly, alot of them are true simply because we are so far back in time. The south is not as developed as other regions of the United States, and it shows in the way that alot of southerners carry themselves. Recently, a documentary was filmed in Mississippi showing how behind the times they really are. Many of the black children are not in school because they are taking care of the family while their parents struggle to make only a few dollars an hour. Many people think that way of living is over, but clearly the south has a long way to go.

    ~*Kristara Lewis*~

  29. Jessica Morrissette

    Dr. Hannon

    This report was an eye opener, that to this day African Americans are still going through what the rurall African Americans back then had to go through. When it comes to the SOuth progress and change are two words that just aren't heard or comprehended. The south was too stuck in their own way of life and i feel that they where threatened by the black people. Our people are constantly stereotyped but for what? Is it just the fact that we look different, does it make us inferior ? No it doesn't. ALthough as a people we have been stereoptyped and meant to feel less than we really are we have risen up and gone on to do great things and become great leaders. The south's time will come, i feel that you can't stop progress you may slow it down, but over the years all the south has done is given the African Americans more drive to do better and push forward no matter what.

  30. I agree with you 100% when you speak of the southern sterotypes. When an individual says he or she is from the south you would automatically think of rednecks. I believe that these setreotypes are sometimes the communities fault. For some reason when leaving in south everything is still based on the past. When watching shows people always seem to make the south seem so negative.

    reneshia hunt

  31. Dr. Hannon,

    I agree with you, i think that they are not only the fault of the stern-minded elders but I think that the stereotypes we face can be attributed just as much to us because we embrace them and dwell within them. Southerners are known for haveing a certain swagg about themselves and many take pride in that. There is much controversy within the regions in regards to their perspective stereotypes.
    I had a friend who was arrested for fitting a suspect description in GA. The description was a black male, between 15 and 19 yrs old, wearing a white t-shirt, height 5'9" to 6'2", with dreaded hair. this was complete bull and everyone who lives in the south knows it because that basically descirbes half of the males in the south. These stereotypes aren't going anywhere if we dont make a unanimous effort to act against them.

    ~Walter Corn, III~

  32. Laura Dewberry.. REPOST OF COMMENT


    I was born in Detroit, Michigan. Coming from the north the southern culture was a complete shock. The discriptions you stated are exactly what my vision of the south was. Very southern, country, rednecks, home furniture on the outside porch, billy bob music, etc. Now a student at Tuskegee University, the automatically installed stereotypes of the south have proved me wrong. Although the south has a normal cuture of souhern drawl and hospitalitty, the negative expectations of the south are now non existant. So, to concour with your essay i fully agree 100% with your concepts. It is not completely the peoples fault, it is the entire communities fault. The practices of society are the practices of the people themselves. The people of the southern communittty keep up with the stereotyoes of the south. To further supoport my argument through example, just because I an African American Female does not mean I have to follow the stereotype,get pregnant at age 18 and become a young mother, instead i can recieve a post secondary education and become an example of a NON stereotype.Yourself and the community controls the sterotype.

    Laura Dewberry, Sociology