What is sociology?
Sociology is commonly understood as the study of societies, the institutions it creates, social groups, human relationships, social inequalities and social change. As such, sociology covers a broad range of topics from the micro world of family, to the macro structures like capitalism and patriarchy. Sociology investigates both what we commonly considered ‘social problems’ like crime to what we consider positive and of value in our society, like solidarity.
But sociology is much more.
By calling sociology ‘a means of self-defense’, Pierre Bourdieu, one of the most influential thinker in the history of sociology, refers to the power of sociology to help us explain the challenges and opportunities that shape our lives in light of larger social forces. Think about the 2008 global financial crisis which caused many people to lose their jobs. Someone who might not think sociologically might blame himself/herself, instead of understanding this event in relation to larger forces.
Now, this was a simple and most obvious example. Yet, what it shows is the power of sociology of helping us all to make sense of our lives. In other words, it helps us link our individual biographies with the larger social and historical forces. This is precisely what Charles Wright Mills called “sociological imagination” in 1959.
The task is to link individual biographies with larger social and historical forces and the public questions that are raised in their social, economic and political organizationLes Back, 2008. The Art of Listening
Making Sociological Scholarship Accessible
Precisely because sociology is a means of self-defense, I decided to start this blog. While sociology is often confined to the realm of academia and education, it should not be so. This blog becomes a means to share what I have been learning in the past year in the hope it might be useful to others.
Perhaps the difference between a professor and a bus driver is that the professor can say stupid things with complete authority while the bus driver is not authorized to make brilliant insightsLes Back, 2008. The Art of Listening
The underpinning assumption of this blog is that everyone is and can be a everyday sociologist.