How sociologists think

How sociologists think


Hi my name is Joan Ferrante and I’m a professor of sociology at Northern Kentucky University. This
presentation is about how knowledge is created in
sociology. In answering this question we consider five major paths that lead to knowledge creation and we will hear from five sociology
majors about how following each of these paths pushes them to create
sociological knowledge. Path 1: personal experiences drives the
kinds of knowledge a sociologist finds interesting as well
as the kinds of knowledge here she works to create I’m Tee Siddiqui. My research interests lie with race as a social construction. This interest has a direct link to my biography I was born in Pakistan and I moved to
the US when I was 8. At that time I remember my uncle telling me to check Asian for my race. So I considered myself Asian for seven years. Then after the 9/11 attacks people from
Pakistan were viewed as middle Eastern or Muslim. That change in how people saw me is what drives my interest in race. I’m Joe Keller sociology of knowledge: the social
construction of reality. is an area that I am most interested. One of my sociology professors put it this way I like peeping through keyholes to see what is hidden from view what goes on behind closed doors is
where the real insights can be found. I think my interest in this area comes from my work as a firefighter and as a paramedic. In these roles I got to
see behind closed doors of million-dollar homes and of homes we might call shacks. I learned for example that the wealthy abuse drugs just as
often as the poor. Hi. I’m Laura Veety. I’m very interested in gender topics, like the double standard applied to men and women and how men and women are portrayed in
the media. I think my interest in these topics can be traced to
my high school years when I was involved in theatre gymnastics and cheerleading in theater I saw how women and men are
typecasted based on physical appearance in gymnastics, I observed how females were considered inferior athletes relative to men as a cheerleader, I experienced the many stereotypes people held about the kind of of woman I was Hi. I’m Mark. I’m going to present for Cameron Day who couldn’t be here during taping. I’m interested in the criminology part of sociology I can trace my interest back to middle school and high school when I watched news on TV featuring those who committed murders and other crimes I remember those around me saying they
could see no possible explanation for such acts. Even at that young age, I believed that there had to be some explanation and sociology has helped me to
understand the bigger picture My name is Chryssy Payne, and I have always been interested in class, poverty and privilege. I can remember my
father who worked as a city planner and was always trying to find ways to
attract businesses to the city to create opportunities for residents he also worked to make housing
affordable and when I was about 10 years old I remember him showing me dilapidated
houses that he was rehabbing for the working
poor. Path two: Sociologists create knowledge by applying the ideas of those considered giants in the discipline In Sociology, those giants are Karl Marx Emile Durkheim, and Max Weber. Emile Durkheim is known for his writings on the ties that bind people to each other and society when I was an intern in the HR
department at Kroger I worked as a recruiter my job involves reviewing resumes and
also interviewing applicants Durkheim helped me to see resumes as a brief history of social ties applicants had formed with schools, past employers, organizations and references. those applicants with the strongest and
most meaningful ties had a clear advantage over those with weak ties. Marx’s idea that capitalism is both a creative and destructive force helps me to think about those who lose
jobs, say when a new technology comes onto the scene to replace an old one Marx’s ideas inspire me to ask questions
like what happens to the millions of cashiers
who are replaced by new technologies that now allow shoppers to check out and
back their purchases? Max Weber is known for his writing on social action and what motivates people to act. Webers ideas encourage me to think about prisoners are motivated two quick examples: some inmates see prison as a way of life and as almost inevitable. Their father, grandfather, siblings and cousins spent time in
prison so they just assume they will too other prisoners, like undocumented workers, see time in prison as just part of the cycle that involves
working, being deported returning to the US to work again. Path 3 sociologists ask key questions to guide them in the creation of knowledge some key questions relate to: intended and unintended consequences who benefits and who loses from the way society is organized? and the meanings people assign to behaviors and objects my favorite research questions have to
do with meanings we assign I think about how people rarely question
the meanings they hold about something as an example most people think of president Obama as our country’s first black president even though he is of African and European ancestries I’m interested in how we decided to
dismiss President Obama’s European ancestry. When I do research on some topic, I like to think about intended and
unintended consequences just like a drug has an intended purpose
but also unintended side effects so does just about everything in society
whether it be the intended or unintended consequences of building a new stadium or taking
college courses online I just know there are always intended
and unintended consequences when i do research I think about who
benefits and who loses from the way things are done it might be something as dramatic as who
benefits and who loses from the changing climate or something not so dramatic like you
benefits or loses when your bank introduces a new fee to your checking or
savings account Path 4: Every discipline has a motto that drives the kind of knowledge it creates. For sociology, that motto is “things are not what they
seem” to put it another way, when sociologists create knowledge they look beyond popular understandings
and interpretations. sociology’s motto that ‘things are not what they seem’ pushes us to really get to know the
people we study since I’m interested in issues of poverty and social class I did an internship at a food pantry
that serves people who can’t afford food and hygiene products from this experience I learned that
poverty is not what it seems things are not what they seem with
regard to america’s insistence that everyone is equal and that it values
diversity if you just look around with their eyes
really wide open you will see that this is not the case things are not what they seem applies to
our prison population on the surface it seems like our prisons
are simply for people who did bad things but if you stop and think about it
prisons are full of people who got caught and didn’t have the money to avoid going
to prison there far more secret deviants walking around outside of our prisons then there are people in our prisons. Path 5 the compelling issues of the day shape the kind of knowledge sociology creates sociology survives as a discipline because it’s perspectives and theories
help us to make sense of the big issues issues so big that we have to confront
them I took sociology of aging class, where we focused on the aging of the world’s population and how family and work and healthcare systems are being affected the course opened my eyes to the ways
countries and communities and families are adapting to the aging of the
population just the other day I heard that China’s
considering a law that requires children to visit their aged parents. The compelling issues of the day for me relate to all the data being
collected about us every email every purchase every
movement in a store is recorded for potential review my training in sociology has given me the skills to not only analyze this data but also
to think about the intended and unintended consequences of collecting
data on our every move I think addiction to prescription pain
medication and heroin may be one of the most compelling issues
of our day. Sociology offers a toolkit of concepts and
theories for thinking about who benefits from addiction and it whose expense. If you think about it, choosing a major, minor or concentration is really a decision about how you want to view the world. You will spend a large portion of your college career
mastering the language and theories of your chosen discipline the perspective you acquire as a student of sociology can give you an advantage in the job market how does acquiring a sociological
perspective enhance career goals? Im a business analyst with US bank, my job
involves working with IT to develop software applications my company pays for college classes that
relate to my job sociology’s emphasis on diversity helps me in my job, because I have to work with people from so many different
backgrounds the software testers are from India, the IT coders are from Mexico. I have to imagine the needs of people
who are going to use the software we create like bank tellers and customers
of all backgrounds I would like to work in the area of juvenile probation or child protective services whatever the career I know I will be
guided by the motto things are not what they seem. following
that model will prevent me from making snap judgments about someone’s situation. Currently I have an internship
with Kroger my sociological training has helped me
with a number of projects for example right now I’m doing some
data analysis on job safety and workplace quality. Things I’ve learned in my theory and research methods classes have been very helpful my sociological training has been very important to me in getting my job, and also doing my job. I work for Kroger in the career training program for corporate brands in my job I have access to a lot of data
so much data that I could become overwhelmed but my sociology classes taught me how
to focus to ask the right questions and to guide
my analysis and presentation of results. I plan to be a police officer and I see a tremendous benefit to major in Sociology. I see sociology as my toolkit for making sense of the
criminal justice system I see sociology as society’s detective
helping me look at the bigger picture other career aspirations of sociology
majors include Sean Parker’s aspiration to become a
Division one college soccer coach Kenny carpenter aspirations to become a home health care
advocate and consultant Devin cowards aspiration (realized) to become a resident director at Loyola University Chicago, and Mayra Guzman’s aspiration to work in a government, corporate or not-for-profit
office that serve populations with disctinct needs, such as Latino’s, women or veterans.

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