Ever heard the expression “the only two things that are inevitable are death and taxes?”
Well, I’ll do you one better. I say that one of the most relatable human experiences is that we…live in a society. I know, ground-breaking, revolutionary, and shocking. Although, not if you’ve taken a sociology class.
It is important for me to make it clear that I am not suggesting the discipline of sociology is perfect, or without fault. Nor that I have all the answers. If you were to think that, you would have missed my point. I am merely suggesting that the way we organize as human beings in any given culture, in any part of the world, is inredibly important to understand.
To be an active member of society you must understand how power functions and who decides to whom that power is given. This can look different. However, in basic principle, these are sociological concepts, most crucially rooted in the understanding of power and privilege.
The truest thing I could say is that who we are as people is shaped and influenced by all moments that lead to the present. What I mean is that our behaviour as humans is dictated by our relationships…dare I say it…within a society.
I wonder what would happen if everyone took a sociology class…big question!
In doing so, you begin the conversation with the question of identity. Why do I do the things I do? Where do I see meaning in those actions? Then, you take up the question of relationships in your community. Why do certain groups have access to resources? How is this fair? In doing so, you begin the conversation in the “social world” regarding your place in larger systems. Why do people with certain identity factors have overrepresented rates of incarceration? How is the system designed to reproduce this?
Finally, I believe that in an ideal world, a sociology class would embrace non-graded forms of assessment, collaborative group projects and engagement with the local community. Not really a traditional class. You don’t need a traditional academic experience to engage with the discipline of sociology!