As a Sociologist - I can make more of a difference by...

We recently attended two of our key conferences in the Social Sciences. The American Sociological Association conference – which took place in Montreal in the middle of August, and the European Sociological Association event which took place at the end of that month, in Athens. We have a fledgling books programme in Sociology, but big plans to grow our list. As well as our flagship SocietyNow series, which explores the defining issues of 21st Century society, our newest signings include monograph series on Brexit, gender and popular culture, death studies, critical mixed race studies, alternativity and marginalization, metal music studies, and digital culture.

In addition to talking to prospective authors about new book projects we also really wanted to celebrate the discipline of Sociology at these events, and to find out from you what your current thinking is around some of the key issues in the field. We took our Emerald Sounding Board (#Emeraldsoundingboard) along to each event and the first topic for input was “As a sociologist, I make more of a difference by…”

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The feedback we received fell into 3 clear areas:

Gaining wider impact for research – there were a cluster of comments around this area, for instance: “making my research broadly available to the wider public”; “speaking to the public and professional audiences about what matters”; “taking my research public”.

Practical uses of a sociology degree – at ASA, in particular, there were a lot of teachers; and a clear selection of comments emerged around widening education and the practical and vocational  applications of sociology – for instance,  “education – not just in the classroom, but in the community”; “teaching future generations of (health) professionals to think critically and sociologically about their work”.

Sociology effecting greater societal change – this emerged strongly as a theme at both conferences, with comments such as: “helping people understand the bigger picture”; “using my research to inform my activism”; “real world research into disparities, and then translation into policy”.

Our next steps are to look at how we can respond to your comments, for instance – how we can help support our author and editor community in taking their research public? We already have some resources on our books author hub, this guide to using Social Media effectively for instance, but will be looking to develop further materials. Or, in terms of the education comments,  we want to make sure exam copies of relevant publications, for instance You’re Hired, get into teachers’ hands – showing how students the many practical applications of their sociology degree.

You might be interested in this video which gives a taste of the ASA and the Sounding Board comments. Using the #emeraldsoundingboard on Twitter will also give you a flavour of what delegates were saying to us, or follow our Twitter account @Emeraldsoc .

Look out for our next blog post from these conferences, “Why Sociology is important”.

Kathy Atkinson, Author Engagement Manager

Philippa Grand, Editorial Director, Social Sciences