The Sociological Hitch
Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
American Culture Studies/Sociology
The Sociological Hitch focuses on my experiences in and related to higher education. I examine other major social institutions, such as work, law enforcement, and family. My major objective in the study is to offer a socially poignant testimony through the utilization of the auto-ethnographic method. The work of the classical Sociologist C. Wright Mills inspires the undertaking, namely Mills's notion of the Sociological Imagination. Feminist theory, and its experiential epistemology, in conjunction with New Left ideas about power, influences the scope of the study. Beyond the use of Mills, feminism, and Leftist social thought, I utilize auto-ethnographic materials and essays pertaining to auto-ethnography as a distinct methodology. The major method I employ is auto-ethnography, which involves the disclosure of personal experiences in the aforementioned institutions with a focus on higher education. Self-disclosure of direct experience, coupled with extended narration and reflection achieve a detailed account of a specific subjectivity. Through my subjectivity emerges an intrinsic social critique. In addition to the major method of auto-ethnography, The Sociological Hitch likewise employs open-ended interviews with thirteen interviewees. Through these interviews, I explore and investigate experiences interviewees had with social institutions, namely the aforementioned higher education, work, law enforcement, and family. The interviews reinforce my subjectivity and provide context for the social milieu under consideration. Analysis of the interviews in light of the auto-ethnography generate the findings that: 1) Biography confirms socio-structural reality, 2) Police, family, school, and work reproduce Society, and 3) Social problems translate into material problems. The major underlying conclusion The Sociological Hitch resonates the work of C. Wright Mills by declaring that assumed personal problems ought to prompt consequential social action.
Pfahlert, Jeanine, "The Sociological Hitch" (2006). American Culture Studies Ph.D. Dissertations. 71.