What is Sociology?
Sociology is the study of the development, structure, and functions of human society. Sociologists investigate the causes of human behaviour including values, relationships, beliefs, and organisations, and how people interact within these contexts. At Worcester, our students explore what shapes people’s lives, see the everyday world in new ways, question familiar social arrangements, and challenge taken-for-granted assumptions. Moreover, our students examine historical and contemporary sociological research, and even the foundational origins of Sociology itself, identifying new, innovative, and original lines of enquiry.
Sociology emphasises intersectionality (the idea that social categorisations such as race, class, and gender are interconnected and overlap), recognising that there are different standpoints and that identity is fluid, and therefore any individual's experiences may not fit the dominant or orthodox view of what everyday life is like. We consider how people are constrained by social structures, inequalities, and powerful discourses. We look for signs of social change and responses to social challenges, asking the question: do individuals have ‘agency’ (the capacity to choose freely or act independently) and can they make a difference?
An important part of studying Sociology is the chance to conduct original research of your own. Our final year students each produce a dissertation in response to a research question of their own design. They gain skills in critically analysing varied sources of data, evaluating existing scholarly research and sociological theories, as well as with managing an independent project of their own.
In the last two years, our students, supported by the Sociology course team, have examined the following social, cultural and political crises, developing cutting-edge original research, challenging orthodoxies, and identifying pathbreaking research perspectives including on the following:
- Androgenous fashion/consumerism
- Consumerism and “green” gifting practices
- Failing schools and the impact on “Black”-Caribbean pupils
- Gendered ideologies in fairy tale and Disney genres
- Impact of Covid-19 on “Black”-Caribbean communities
- Impact of social media on university students’ self-esteem and confidence
- Media “moral panics” and the construction of “female” offenders
- Misconceptions of homelessness
- Parental engagement and its impact on educational attainment
- Racism in sport
- Racist media representations of “terrorism”
- Representations of “women” in fantasy genres
- Representations of Black Lives Matter and statue removal in tabloid media
- Social and ethical implications of AI voice assistants
- “Symbolic interactionism,” trauma, and identity
- The Disney princess genre and the construction of “beauty”
- “White” saviourism in aid campaigns
Doing your own research and identifying new areas of sociological enquiry is exciting and rewarding. Discovering what affects individuals’ behaviour can allow you to see what changes might be implemented to improve the lives of others. Sociology can impact the world around you and our course team will give you plenty of help as you learn to become an independent researcher and develop your potential.
If you have any questions about our Sociology course or if you would like to discuss your own research interests, and how we might support them, we want to hear from you. So, please do get in touch with Luke Devine, the Course Leader for Sociology (firstname.lastname@example.org), or Jenny Lewin-Jones, the Admissions Tutor (email@example.com), if you are thinking about applying.
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