Breakups, with Ilana Gershon

Uncommon Sense

14-04-2023 • 47分

“Follow”? “Block”? “Accept”? Anthropologist Ilana Gershon joins us to reflect on breakups in both our intimate and working lives. She tells Alexis and Rosie how hearing her students’ surprising stories of using new media – supposedly a tool for connection – to end romantic entanglements led to her 2010 book “The Breakup 2.0”. She also shares insights from studying hiring in corporate America and describes how, in the febrile “new economy”, the very nature of networking and how we understand our careers have been transformed.

Ilana also celebrates Marilyn Strathern’s influential article “Cutting the Network” for challenging our assumptions about endless and easy connection. She responds to the work of sociologists Richard Sennett and Mark Granovetter, and highlights Teri Silvio’s theory of “animation” as a fruitful way of thinking about our online selves.

Plus: Rosie, Alexis and Ilana share their pop culture picks on this month’s theme, from the hit TV show “Severance” to the phenomenon of “shitposting” on Linkedin.

Guest: Ilana Gershon
Hosts: Rosie Hancock, Alexis Hieu Truong
Executive Producer: Alice Bloch
Sound Engineer: David Crackles
Music: Joe Gardner
Artwork: Erin Aniker

Find more about Uncommon Sense at The Sociological Review.

Episode Resources

Ilana, Rosie, Alexis and our producer Alice recommended

  • Dan Erickson’s TV series “Severance”
  • “shitposting” on Linkedin, as discussed by Bethan Kapur for VICE
  • The Quebec reality TV show “Occupation Double”
  • Halle Butler’s novel “The New Me”

From The Sociological Review

By Ilana Gershon

Further reading

  • “Puppets, Gods, and Brands: Theorizing the Age of Animation from Taiwan” – Teri Silvio
  • “Forms of Talk” – Erving Goffman
  • “The Corrosion of Character: The Personal Consequences of Work in the New Capitalism” – Richard Sennett
  • “The Digital Lives of Black Women in Britain” – Francesca Sobande
  • “The Strength of Weak Ties” – Mark S. Granovetter
  • “Cutting the Network” – Marilyn Strathern

And have a look at the basics of Actor–Network Theory.