Welcome to Sociology
Welcome to the journey we are about to take together guided by the sociological imagination.
Sociology does not describe the way things in society SHOULD be.
Sociology tries to describe the way things are in society and to explain why.
These are important questions.
How do we describe the way things are? Sociology provides a variety of methods to measure or describe with precision patterns of human behavior. You will learn four different approaches for conducting sociological inquiry, each appropriate for exploring a different kind of question.
When our methods of systematic observation identify a pattern of regularity in human behavior, sociology provides a framework for building theory to explain what we have found. Often we will use three different ways to explain the same events. Wow, think about it! You are going to learn three entirely different ways to account for patterns that we find in human behavior.
If we are looking at promotion patterns in the work place or child rearing practices or racism or divorce or academic cheating or who gets speeding tickets and who doesn’t, you will have three analytical perspectives to account for the behavior you observe. Is one right or more right than the others? Yes, chances are one paradigm will look more like what really goes on in the world to you than the others. The next person is likely to find that a different perspective seems more valid to her. By learning and using all three, you will gain insight into the different ways that the people in a diverse society understand the world.
The skills you learn here will help you do a better job in your career. The analytical tools you learn here will broaden your understanding of issues at work, at home and in your community. And, the work we are going to do together might be fun.
I am always here to help throughout the term. If material we are working on is confusing or disturbing or really exciting, never hesitate to come to my office to talk about what is on your mind.
I look forward to working with you.