This is what I tell my students: step outside of your tiny little world. Step inside of the tiny little world of somebody else. And then do it again and do it again and do it again. And suddenly, all these tiny little worlds, they come together in this complex web. And they build a big, complex world.
There are a lot of countries, oil-producing countries, that aren’t very democratic, but supported by the United States. That’s odd.
Back when Saddam Hussein was in power, the Americans didn’t care about his crimes. When he was gassing the Kurds and gassing Iran, they didn’t care about it. When oil was at stake, somehow, suddenly, things mattered.
My students often ask me, ‘What is sociology?’ And I tell them, ‘It’s the study of the way in which human beings are shaped by things that they don’t see.’