What is #SociologyMatters?
#SociologyMatters is a project that I am working on in collaboration with other Sociologists to promote the idea that sociology is more relevant in contemporary society than ever before. It is an ambitious attempt to attract contributors for across the world of sociology, from students to teachers, academics and authors to promote how vital sociology is as an academic discipline in understanding the chaos of contemporary society.
In recent years, society has become far more polarised. In the UK people are divided based upon being Brexiteers or Remoaners. Gammons or Snowflakes, Coleen or Rebekah. In comparison, sociology offers a critical analysis of the reasons why people make the decisions they do. Whether they are influenced by external institutions, such as the media or the education system, or whether their decisions are impacted by their social class, their gender, their ethnicity, their sexuality, their faith or their age. Are people influenced by what society teaches them or is society being influenced by the voices of those that shout loudest? Certainly, in my lifetime, the study of society has never been as important in helping people to understand, particularly in an era of misinformation. Sociology is a dialogue, as opposed to yelling a point of view louder and louder until people give in.
In February of this year, representatives of the British Sociological Society met with A level teachers to discuss the importance of A level Sociology. The meeting highlighted several areas that I hope this project will address. Namely that the sociology curriculum was seen as dated and that the identity of A level Sociology Teachers was weak, despite having good practice. It is my intention that this project be presented to the BSA and my goal is for the #SociologyMatters to be given a week-long promotion in the run-up to the BSA conference for A level Teachers on 19th November.
For details of the BSA meeting click here
Who is #SociologyMatters for?
The content of #sociologymatters is aimed at those that want to understand some of the burning issues in contemporary society:
Climate Change, Media representations of Brexit, Rising knife and gang crime, International relations, Rising usage of food banks, In work poverty in Western Society, Growth of Zero Hours contracts and the Gig Economy, Religious phobias (Islamaphobia and Anti-semitism), the polarisation of political ideologies, the language of the media and politicians, the impacts of feminism and alt-right criticisms and many other areas that contributors wish to discuss.
While some of these issues are present in A level and GCSE Sociology, #SociologyMatters looks at issues beyond the specifications, stretching existing students of sociology at GCSE and A level to engage with contemporary materials. #SociologyMatters is not about achieving a grade in an exam, it is about understanding society.
What it is not is a polemic account. The purpose of sociology is to present empathetic viewpoints of why things happen. While it is inevitable that some contributors will wish to put forward their subjective opinion, it is in the ethos of this initiative that there is balance. It is important therefore that #sociologymatters tries to remain as objective as possible. The main purpose behind this initiative is to get people thinking critically and that means addressing differing viewpoints on issues.
Who can get involved in #SociologyMatters?
Anybody with a passion for sociology. Students, teachers, academics, authors. Of course, work submitted is subject to approval if being published on the site. Ultimately I will be responsible for the content being published so material that could be potentially offensive, libellous or promoting extreme views will be rejected.
How can I get involved in #SociologyMatters?
The project is open to anybody interested in the field of sociology. Students, teachers, academics, authors. Sociology is an inclusive field and I hope to gain contributors from many different fields and offering many different interests and expertise. All contributions (subject to approval) will be published on the new sociology-matters.org website, whether through directly submitting to myself or by linking into the website through WordPress accounts, links to own websites or Twitter/Instagram using the #SociologyMatters.
What is #SociologyMatters looking for?
#SociologyMatters should be as diverse as its contributors. Within the sociology community there are a range of practitioners that produce excellent material and #SociologyMatters should be a celebration of that diversity. Contributions can take the form of blogs, articles, videos, podcasts, interviews, posters, graphics, even poems and prose. Due to publishing space, there are a few criteria:
Blogs, Articles, Essays, Prose and other written works no longer than 1000 words
Videos and Podcasts and other audio or visual media 10 -15 mins in length.
Also, remember that the target audience #SociologyMatters will be young people aged from 13 -18 or those that have little sociological knowledge, so please keep these as accessible as possible. The content is up to you, but the theme of looking at 21st Century society should be evident. No essays of Mods and Rockers, but applying Cohen’s ideas to Knife Crime is okay!
Okay…I’m in. What next?
If you are interested in taking part in the project you can complete the contact form below with the contemporary issue you are interested in contributing to:
Alternatively, you can contact me directly through Twitter @thesociologyguy, Instagram: thesociologyguy, or via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The website sociology-matters.org is currently under construction and will hopefully be launched by mid-October. While there is no deadline for contributions, I hope to have content to promote from a range of contributors for the launch of the website.