Plotting to avoid Vietnam, I went to U. Michigan where recent Berkeley graduate John Lofland convinced me to switch to Berkeley. I spent most of 1966-1968 on a spiritual/psychedelic journey, and was an indifferent student at best. After a year of world travel I returned briefly, but since I didn't 'love' America I left it. Four years in South America, farming, and abusing my body, propelled me to a missionary hospital where, rather than dying, I was reborn. So I returned to Berkeley in 1974 and finished up with a study of ways Americans adapted to life in Ecuador under the amazing guidance of Arlie Hochschild. Still skeptical of the value of intellectual pursuits, I worked in K-12 education for 12 years in California, Oregon and Peru.
Returning from Peru, I spent three years researching and writing several books on Christian missions. My sociology (of religion and knowledge) was beginning to pay off! Then a four year stint as an intercultural communication trainer (experiential sociology!) led me back to academia.
I have invented my own sociology, (major influences: Dooyeweerd, Goudswaard, Girard, Ritzer, Baudrillard, Lyotard, Derrida, Ellul, Taoism, and of course Goffman, Durkheim and Weber ; not to forget the Bible and Alcoholics Anonymous) written an intro textbook (none of my books are published), and labor at prying students away from the postmodern condition (nothing) so they can be useful to their fellow humans. They have been! It has been rewarding! I'll probably do this until I die.
Reading the other bios, I?m not that different. I teach with slides, music and video clips (documentaries, feature films, Simpsons) to avoid lectures. That way they pay attention. I never test; rather students have to perform 'experiments' using their sociological knowledge.
Being present at the birth of the culture war was the most profound way Berkeley affected me. The up-close observation of the quintessential Leftists has been invaluable for my teaching and writing. (I realize that their descendents deny that there is a culture war.)
The 'sociology' I have invented seems to click with my students, who come to Asbury College seeking a way to make the world a better place but, before they can become co-opted by conventional 'solutions' to human problems, form a new identity and commitment to being real and living real. But let me ask you, whom do you serve? Bob Dylan sang, 'you're gonna have to serve somebody.' And we all do.