Saturday, May 2, 2015

Research Blog #6

This is the cover of Caitlin Flanagan's The Dark Power of Fraternities. This visual represents fraternity life as a party. You have two people that we can assume are fraternity brothers celebrating something unknown to us. Yet we can see that they are clearly intoxicated from their facial expressions and their red solo cups. This picture is meant to depict fraternity members as crazy and irresponsible, which is the general consensus of this generation. I feel this picture can resonate with paper and whomever reads it.

Research Blog #9

Argument and Counter-Argument

Argument: Fraternities have been persecuted in the recent media for acts of alcohol-related incidents, sexual assault, and racism/discrimination. They received similar negative attention in the 60's and 80's for being too institutionally aligned with universities and too uptight/stuffy. These fundamentally opposite representations of fraternities are both negatively perceived by their respective mainstream cultures. The grand culture changes that occurred within Gen X, labelled fraternities as counter-culture, and perpetuated that stigma through the popular movie Animal House. In order to survive, fraternities adopted this misrepresentation, and became popular as a result. Fraternities are now again counter-culture, except in the opposite way-they party too much. Seeing as how fraternities have the ability to adapt and change, there should be ways to manage risk and ultimately ween them off of the "party pathway".

Counter-Argument: Fraternities are dangerous places that promote binge drinking, sexual assault and discrimination. On paper they make sizable donations to charities, perform generous amounts of volunteer hours and prepare their members for the workforce through leadership development and alumni network. Yet this falls into the mentality of "work hard, play harder". The positive contributions they make to society don't outweigh the negatives they do they frequently do. Alcohol-related deaths, hazing, and race discrimination shouldn't be permissible by any means. The Greek System should be done away with entirely in order to keep our students safe.

Research Blog #10

Abstract: This paper serves to explore the changes that occurred in fraternity life using a socio-cultural lens. We start by examining the founding of fraternities and the reasons behind their creation in the first place. By understanding the original culture that surrounded fraternities during their initial founding, we can better gauge the changes that led fraternities to today's representation. Furthermore Professor Castellano's research on generational cohorts allows us to deepen our knowledge of the fluctuating societal landscape, and the cultural differences of values and norms between them. As fraternities have retained their culture, independent of mainstream society for over 100 years, we can approach their profound changes through Social Darwinism. Animal House's misrepresentation of fraternities was so popular with the mainstream culture, that it usurped the original culture that fraternities were founded upon and maintained up until that point. Decades later, these "party fraternities" are not as popular (as depicted in the recent movie Neighbors), and we see a significant public push back. This is mainly due to a cultural shift in the generational values and norms that don't make "booze, sex and drugs" a priority as they once were. As Gen X was different from Baby Boomers, Millenials are that much different form Gen X. Today, a system of checks and balances are in place to reinstate some order into fraternities, including complete shut downs of local chapter. Fraternities as a whole shouldn't be abolished altogether, considering such measures are being taken.


Ackerman, Robert. "The Survival of Greek Life: Concerns and Solutions." NASPA
Journal 28 (1990): 78-81. Print.

Castellano, William G. Practices for Engaging the 21st Century Workforce: Challenges of Talent Management in a Changing Workplace. N.p.: n.p., n.d. Print.

Carter, Colleen. "The Efficacy of the Social Norms Approach to Substance Abuse
Prevention Applied to Fraternity Men." Journal of American College Health 49.2
(2002). Print.

Flanagan, Caitlin. "The Dark Power of Fraternities." The Atlantic. Atlantic Media Company, 19 Feb. 2014. Web. 01 May 2015.

Gray, Eliza. "Fraternity Row." Time 184.23 (2014): 42-45. Academic Search Premier.

GarcĂ­a, Justin D., PhD. "Greek Life." Salem Press Encyclopedia (2013): Research
Starters. Web. 1 May 2015.

Hinton, David B. "Celluloid Ivy: Higher Education in Movies 1960-1990. David B. Hinton:." Web. 02 May 2015.

Holmer, Eric. "From Animal House to the White House." Greek Intervarsity. 1 Jan. 2012. Web. <www.>.

Josh, VerStandig. "Greek Life Not ‘Animal House’." The Breeze. 1 Jan. 2011. Web.

Kretchmar, Jennifer. "Social Darwinism." Research Starters Sociology (Online Edition) (2009): Research Starters. Web. 1 May 2015.

Long Weaver, Sandra. "Policing The Greeks." Chronicle Of Higher Education (2015):
46-48. Academic Search Premier. Web. 1 May 2015.

McWilliams, Wilson C. The Idea of Fraternity in America. Berkeley: U of California,
1973. Print.

"Is It Really Like “Animal House”? What to Do When Your Kid Joins the Greek Life."
Campus Talk Blog. 1 Jan. 2015. Web. <>.

The Myths. Web

McGregor, Michael. "The Way of Frat." Radix. 1 Jan. 2015. Web. <>.

Whipple, Edward. "Greek Letter Organizations: Communities of Learners?" New
Directions for Student Services. 81 (1998). Print.

Literature Blog #4

Citation: Flanagan, Caitlin. "The Dark Power of Fraternities." The Atlantic. Atlantic Media Company, 19 Feb. 2014. Web. 01 May 2015.
Summary: The Dark Power of Fraternities was The Atlantic's March cover story that exposed the murky legal status of fraternity happenings and their influence towards the American college experience.
Author: Caitlin Flanagan is a writer for the Atlantic that got her start in 2001 in the magazine writing business. She has established herself as a highly entertaining social critic
Key Terms: FIPG-Fraternal Information and Programming Group--> A risk management system created for fraternities that is regularly updated.
Quotes:“In this newly forming culture, the drugs and personal liberation of the ’60s would be paired with the self-serving materialism of the ’80s, all of which made partying for its own sake—and not as a philosophical adjunct to solving some complicated problem in Southeast Asia—a righteous activity for the pampered young collegian. Fraternity life was reborn with a vengeance.”
Value: This highlights on the dark side of fraternities since having deviated from traditional fraternity culture, and gives credibility to the bad happenings that occur at certain fraternities

Literature Review Blog #3

Citation: Castellano, William G. Practices for Engaging the 21st Century Workforce: Challenges of Talent Management in a Changing Workplace. Print.
Summary: The book provides information on how to proficiently manage others in today's age given the challenges of increased technology, diversity, and a multi-generational workforce.
Author: William G. Castellano retired from Wall Street after 20 years to start his new career as a professor at Rutgers University. From his experiences and doctorate research in the HR field, he has compiled his findings within this book.
Key Terms: "New Normal"-The unprecedented work demographic and style that we see today
"Cohort"-A term used to identify a generational population
Quotes: "This is a new era in which... a new generation of workers can change the direction and fortunes of the old economic order"
Value: Professor Castellano's research on the different cultures of multiple generations of Americans allows me to accurately understand the social climate of the era and use that as a control to compare the change in fraternities to.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Literature Blog Review #5

Citation: McWilliams, Wilson C. The Idea of Fraternity in America. Berkeley: U of California, 1973. Print.
Summary:  In this book, McWilliams argued that there was an "alternative tradition" to the dominant liberal tradition in America, which he variously traced through the thought of the Puritans, the Anti-federalists, and various major and minor literary figures such as Hawthorne, Melville, Twain and Ellison. He argued that this tradition drew philosophical inspiration from ancient Greek and Christian sources manifested in an emphasis upon community and fraternity, which was properly the means to achieving a form of civic liberty. He contrasted this tradition with the liberal tradition, which conversely held that individual liberty was thought to culminate in political fraternity (Wikipedia).
Author: Wilson C. McWilliams. Was a political scientist at Rutgers University
Key terms: "Liberation"--> The popular public yearning to express the individual. "Counter-culture"--> That which is in opposition to the dominant societal culture.
Quotes: All from 621 "But the yearning for liberation apart from it's obvious roots in liberal individualism, indicates that fraternity in counter culture is a bond of embattlement, of unity against oppression"
"Less hopeful, even, is the belief that the common lifestyle provides the basis for brotherhood"
"It is sad that men who feel a desperate need for communion have been so deeply effected by a society whose life and thought deny it, that they can conceive of community only as an image, an illusion no less ephemeral for being willed"
 Value: This is a politically scientific approach to fraternity as counter culture around the time of individualism and liberation. Shows how a sense of community was frowned upon and exactly when fraternities began to be viewed as counter culture.

Research Blog #9

Fraternities have been coming under fire as of late for various different reasons. Between the UVA scandal and the Oklahoma racist chants, fraternities are setting up camp in the newspapers. My argument says that Fraternities never had inherent problems with racism, sexual assault or binge drinking at all. That the party stereotype was placed upon them during the time period that Animal House was released in theaters and gained tremendous amounts of national presence and popularity. My argument more specifically is that fraternities have become scapegoats of counterculture, that they have been created from the need to break stuffy traditions but have been ostracized when they get too out of control.

A counter-argument to my position where fraternities are seen as counter-culture would be to believe that fraternities have always had always had these inherent problems that persisted throughout time since their founding. So an argument that someone could make is that Southern fraternities hold strong ties to racism. Specifically, certain actions of the Kappa Alpha Order of University of Alabama have recently been suspended. Unlike distasteful themed-parties that are usually isolated occurrences, Kappa Alpha Order's "Old South" parade of dressing up in Confederate attire have been an inherently racist and historically persisting tradition.

Both sides recognize that there are problems with fraternities. This counter-argument serves to show that fraternities have persisting issues such as racism within their culture, whereas my argument tries to show fraternities went through a change within the relatively recent past because of public pressure.