Our most recent video discusses the careers panel that I sat on as part of the annual conference for The Australian Sociological Association (TASA). I focus on the panel discussion about how to translate theory into practice when you’re working…
I’m currently editing our latest video for Sociology At Work. I’ll be discussing some of the key questions that emerged from The Australian Sociological Association (TASA) Postgraduate Workshop. I was invited to speak on a careers panel along with three other applied researchers. Students asked about issues like translating theory into practice, professional identity, and marketing a research business. I’ll speak to these issues in the video and I’ll add a few extras through our social media. This post relates to one of the students’ questions, which was about how to manage ethics when working outside academia.
Dr Sue Malta works as a Research Fellow and Project Manager for the National Ageing Research Institute (NARI) in Melbourne, Australia. This is a not-for-profit organisation that runs community development projects in health and ageing. Sue also works a researcher…
Dr Dan Brook is a lecturer in sociology and politics at San Jose State University in the United States, and he is also involved with several social activism communities outside of his academic work. This includes support of social causes such as vegetarianism, anti-smoking awareness, global warming, the promotion of peace, and advocating for an increase in living wages. In this Sociology at Work Google+ Hangout I spoke with Dan about how he uses applied sociology in his social activism. We also discussed how students might get involved in similar activities as a way of practising sociology, and also as a way of thinking about their job options.
Dan argues that social activism is a good way to begin to practice sociology ahead of a professional career. He sees that community work teaches students how to network. This includes learning to work with different types of people – some of whom will agree with their ideas, others who will disagree. Social activism and volunteering also connects students to potential future co-workers and supervisors. Community work helps students interact with people using sociological ideas in an applied way.
At the heart of the various social justice issues that Dan works on, there is a common goal: “A better, fairer, kinder, more beautiful society.” He explains:
I believe not just in going for immediate and obtainable goals, but trying in a larger way to change our culture. I think that’s the special niche, perhaps, of sociologists. We realise how important culture is, and if we can make certain cultural changes – which are not easy, it takes a lot of people and it takes a lot of time – but when we make those cultural changes we find the social and political changes are much easier because we have a widespread support for it. It seems more natural then.
Read more about Dan’s career and his advice on social activism for sociology students below.
Dr Yoland Wadsworth is one of Australia’s prominent applied sociologists. She has led a distinguished career, working on 3,500 community service and health projects both at the local and state levels.
In this video, Yoland discusses how her research has shaped children’s services, mental health delivery and helped the not-for-profit sector. Yoland also provides practical examples of how she has used sociological theories and methods as part of her everyday work.
As part of Dementia Awareness week in Australia, the photography of sociologist Professor Cathy Greenblat (seen below) will continue to travel around Australia. Today’s post gives some background on dementia research. I give an overview of the sociological contributions to art therapy. I pay special focus to art community programs that are being used to treat dementia. I discuss Greenblat’s work as a form of applied sociology and as an example of how visual sociology can be used to reach new audiences outside academia.
Below is the latest podcast for Sociology at Work. It provides a broad overview of the work that applied sociologists do outside academia. Applied sociologists have two broad ways in which they apply sociology in their work. First, through our methods, which can be applied to social policy work, economic models and community evaluations. Second, through our specialist knowledge of particular social groups or social problems. This includes crime, disaster planning and more.
Applied sociologists face some hurdles in their work because not many people understand our methods and theories. Working together with academics would help us transcend these issues. For maximum impact sociology courses should integrate applied knowledge and experience into the way in which we teach sociology in the classroom.
Below is the first Sociology at Work podcast. It kicks off with a background about why Sociology at Work was formed, the types of professional concerns we address, and what you can expect from our podcast series.
While our website will continue to provide written articles and blog posts aimed at sociology graduates and professionals, the new podcast series will focus more specifically on the workplace issues that applied sociology practitioners face. This includes managing our professional identities, addressing our employers’ and colleagues’ misplaced notions about what sociology is about, maintaining our connection to our academic peers, ethics, doing research in high pressure environments, negotiating contracts, and so on.
As we often work in isolation or away from other sociologists, applied professionals may not have the space to talk about the challenges we navigate at different points in our careers. I hope that by addressing some of these issues and by sharing my experiences we might start a conversation about the reality of doing sociology outside universities, and how our discipline might better support our professional development.
My aim for the podcast series is to support our colleagues and to work together to make the most of the opportunities and hurdles that strengthen our sociological practice.
Please feel free to share your experiences in the comments!
Stream Sociology at Work directly from our SoundCloud.
In just a few hours, the UN is hosting an online panel to discuss its recent report, World Economic and Social Survey 2013: Sustainable Development Challenges. The panel will discuss issues arising from its research on building sustainable cities, food security and energy transformation. Below I provide an overview of the major findings and some sociological resources that speak to the theme of green planning.
On the 18th of July, the world will celebrate Nelson Mandela Day. Mandela has been hospitalised for over two weeks. The BBC reports today that the human rights leader and Former President of South Africa is in a stable but…
Your classic sociology quote for the week, colleagues: “Clearly, society has a tremendous stake in insisting on a woman’s natural fitness for the career of mother: the alternatives are all too expensive.” – Ann Oakley, 1974. Woman’s Work: The Housewife, Past…
I have previously discussed the four questions facing applied sociologists. These questions refer to how we utilise sociological theories, methods and principles in our work, and the challenges and opportunities we encounter practising sociology outside academia. In brief, these questions are: Sociology for…