Visualizing Sociology in Everyday Life

Eva G. Farris Reading Room, W. Frank Steely Library, Northern Kentucky University

Sept 20 - December 31, 2010

Featuring the photography of Chris Caldeira and Lisa Southwick with contributions from Prince Brown, Jr., Ray Elfers, Katie Englert, Missy Gish, Erin Hart, Norris Jones, CIV, USACE, SSGT Lanie McNeal, USAF, and Terra Schultz.

Sponsored by Joan Ferrante


Social class is a complex and elusive concept. Still we know that social class has a profound impact on the kinds of goods and services people can access, and by extension the kind of life they can live. While many factors determine social class, a person’s occupation and income play particularly important roles. Economic transformations such as outsourcing and automation can render specific kinds of labor useless or reduce their monetary value. The monetary value assigned to labor affects how long a person must work to access basic necessities and items of choice.

1. How do you determine a person’s social class?

Artist: Lisa Southwick
2. What is the impact of placing a dollar value on the labor of fast food workers relative to, say,
financial advisors?

Artist: Ashley Waldmann
3. What is the cost in labor of everyday items?

Artists: Lisa Southwick & Missy Gish
4. What happened to this neighborhood?

Artist: Chris Caldeira

On the surface, classifying people by racial category may seem like a meaningful way to divide a population. But is it a meaningful way to classify family members? Sociologists are interested in how a system of racial classification that divides biologically related people into distinct racial categories has come to be accepted as seemingly natural way to divide humanity.

5. “Are you the ‘real’ mother?”

Artist: Lisa Southwick
6. What do a paper bag and pencils have to do with race?

Artist: Lisa Southwick
7. What race are the children in these photos?

Artists: Lisa Southwick & SSGT Lanie McNeal, USAF (U.S. soldier)
8. What does it mean to classify family members as different races?

Artists: Ray Elfers & Missy Gish
9. Does the person who sits next to you in church look like you?

Artist: Lisa Southwick
10. What race comes to mind when you hear the word “American”?

Artist: Chris Caldeira

The bulk of our day-to-day living occurs in a physical place a “fish bowl” that includes our home, school, and workplace and the routes between. That place encompasses the store, the gym, the church, or other destinations that make up routine activities. Though we may be familiar with other areas of the world through media-driven images, the place in which we live is directly experienced. Many factors shape the character of a place including the country in which it is located and the technology available there. Place encompasses the largely predictable and taken-for-granted ways of doing things that profoundly shape perceptions of reality.

11. Is there something or someone that your community especially values?

Artist: Chris Caldeira
12. When you buy chicken, do you think about the fact that it was once living?

Artist: Chris Caldeira
13. Upon what mode of transportation do you depend?

Artists: Chris Caldeira & Lisa Southwick
14. What kinds of play did you engage in as a child?

Artists: Chris Caldeira & Lisa Southwick
15. How would loads like these be carried in the United States?

Artist: Chris Caldeira
16. What does food mean to you?

Artists: Chris Caldeira & Lisa Southwick
17. Do you ever interact with the people who collect your household trash?

Artists: Chris Caldeira & Lisa Southwick
18. When you travel to unfamiliar places, do you take what you see at face value?

Artist: Chris Caldeira

Many of us invest considerable time, money, and effort in distinguishing ourselves from the other sex. While most people assume that males are naturally masculine and females are naturally feminine, in fact gender is a socially created distinction. The behavioral and emotional traits that make a person appear masculine or feminine are learned.

There is no fixed line separating masculine from feminine traits, yet many of us act as if there are. Sociologists seek to uncover why some people embrace these socially created distinctions while others resist and even challenge them.

19. Do you see the boy dancer and the girl football player as courageous or deviant?

Artists: Anonymous NKU student & Erin Hart
20. As a parent, what efforts do you make to ensure that your child acts and appears in
gender-appropriate ways?

Artist: Lisa Southwick
21. How do you express deep feelings toward same-sex friends?

Artists: Katie Englert & Lisa Southwick
22. How do babies become masculine and feminine?

Artist: Terra Schultz
23. Do you associate strength with femininity?

Artists: Prince Brown, Jr. & Norris Jones, CIV, USACE
24. Should a seven-year old girl wear a swimming suit that covers her chest?

Artist: Lisa Southwick

Steely Library phone number:  859.572.5457