Why is Sociology Important?

In our last post, As a Sociologist – I can make more of a difference by… we talked about our attendance at the American Sociological Association and European Sociological Association conferences over the Summer. As well as 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 one of the topics we were really keen to find out delegates’ thoughts on was Why Sociology is important.

The feedback we received around this question gave us a really clear sense of how sociologists view themselves and the world. We should also point out here that the ASA was taking place in the wake of the Charlottesville protests in the USA, and Donald Trump’s subsequent comments around them. The first theme of the comments was about understanding how sociology helps us to see individuals, society and the world, here is a flavour of those:

Sociology is important because….

“we can’t understand society without it”; “helps unravel the mysteries of our lives”; “opens eyes ears and minds”; “helps us understand what is invisible”; and “gives us a lens to see/ understand the world”.

There was then a set of comments to build on these skills in a very practical way:

“because it helps us understand and, therefore, improve society”; “it is permanent rebellion against authoritative truths”; “it will empower our students with the tools to fight white supremacy”; and “because it can change the world”.

Next steps

You might be interested in this video which gives a flavour of the Sounding Board comments around this theme. Using the #emeraldsoundingboard on Twitter will also give you a flavour of what delegates were saying to us, or follow our Twitter account @Emeraldsoc. Like everyone at the conferences, and involved in the field, we also feel the need to celebrate and shout about the importance of Sociology, and this is something we will come on to in our final post from these events.

Look out for our final blog post from these conferences, “Celebrating Sociology”.

Kathy Atkinson, Author Engagement Manager

Philippa Grand, Editorial Director, Social Sciences

September 2017