If there’s one thing I hate it’s people telling me that my degree, which I currently spend most of my life dedicated to, isn’t worthwhile. The butt of hundreds of totally unfunny jokes, Sociology has suffered blows to its credibility from all directions – including, hurtfully and most recently, The Inbetweeners 2.
To combat this bombardment of unfounded hate, I’ve put together this guide of the five most common questions that the bigots and the bozos ask Sociology students about their degrees…
I’ve never heard of a famous sociologist
There are hundreds of high achievers who hold a Sociology degree. Sociology is the king of adaptability – if you’ve ever read a career booklet about Sociology you’ll know that you can use it to do pretty much anything. Famous actors, politicians, sports people, activists, journalists and many more legendary professionals hold Sociology degrees.
Some of the most notable people include Michelle Obama, Robin Williams, Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and Ronald Reagan, among plenty of other inspirational figures. So next time you hear of someone saying they they’ve never heard of a famous sociologist, you can list some of these among other famous degree-holders who actually carried on doing Sociology!
What does Sociology actually teach you?
Besides sitting around and complaining about how unfair the world is, it’s great for teaching its students to write in a clear and succinct way, as well as how to interpret data from all kinds of sources.
Sociology students need to get their heads around complex theoretical texts and apply them to everyday life which is far more involved than the common misconception that they ‘study common sense concepts and put them into long words’. Not at all.
Is Sociology even a science?
This is always a messy one, because any sociologist will know that there are plenty of problems with what many people consider science to be. The best response is to engage the asker in a debate, throw in some interesting studies and give them a taste of what the discipline actually involves!
Did you take Sociology because it’s easy?
This is the one sure way to frustrate a Sociology student. Just because Sociology might involve the study of ordinary things doesn’t make it easy! As Princeton University puts it, “Sociological genius occurs when the extraordinary emerges from the everyday, when generalities are drawn from the complexity of human interaction.”
Put that in your pipe and smoke it.
You can’t learn about society by sitting in a classroom. What can you learn that I can’t?
Of course, a lot of Sociology study does take place in a lecture theatre or independently. With so many studies and theories to read about, research has to start somewhere! But sociological research also takes place outside, in the real world, where research is done in all kinds of ways.
Sociologists are the nosiest people around. We’re always watching, but we’ll probably ask you to sign a form first so that our observations are ethically performed.
Sociological research is about finding new ways to look at everyday social life and is helping to combat inequality and injustice around the world simply by finding out and revealing facts.
Before this wonderful degree is resigned to the ranks of ‘Critical Thinking’ and ‘General Studies,’ people should do their research before sneering at it.
What do you think? Are Sociology students unfairly treated? Are you a student that often has to respond to similar questions about the value of your degree? Have your say in the comments section below.
Image: Mehran Heidarzadeh