Why study Sociology?
If you believe that Sociology has meaning, relevance and applicability beyond the University, you are already one step ahead in developing your sociological imagination. This term was coined by the American sociologist, C Wright Mills, who wanted us to see how our “private troubles” related to “public issues”.
For instance, instead of blaming people for their circumstances, with our sociological imagination we can begin to see how political arrangements, economic forces and the broader social order operate to create a world in which some people have the opportunities to advance, while others do not.
While the experience of being poor, unemployed or discriminated against is felt very deeply at the personal level, our sociological imagination encourages us to understand how the thoughts, feelings and actions of the individual relate to broader structural and historical realities.
In the words of Mills, “The sociological imagination enables us to grasp history and biography and the relations between the two within society. That is its task and its promise. To recognize this task and this promise is the mark of the classic social analyst.” (Mills, 1959, p12)
By igniting your sociological imagination, you will begin to understand how personal choice is shaped by social context.
What will I study?
Are you interested in people and social relationships? Do you find habits, mannerisms and everyday life interesting? If so, Sociology is for you.
Sociology is useful for anyone working with people, particularly in groups or organisational settings. Sociological research and analysis can make an important contribution to the development of sound social policies that address inequality and promote social justice.
In addition, the study of Sociology will help you to acquire diverse skills that can be applied in a range of settings. These include the ability to:
- Ask insightful questions about power, human behaviour and social processes.
- Deepen our understanding of social issues using a variety of research methods.
- Critically analyse information.
- Develop your own theories about the social world.
- Propose alternatives that promote social justice.
Sociology graduates work in a variety of fields such as local and national politics, government departments, non-profit organisations, trade unions, social services, public health, journalism, social policy development, advertising and marketing, human resources and academia.