Why Do We Read So Much in Sociology?

Applied sociology expands your ability to  evaluate, organise & present new information quickly.

Applied sociology expands your ability to
evaluate, organise & present new information quickly.

When I was still teaching sociology, I was often bemused when some students complained that they had too much reading to do ahead of class. We typically set two journal articles or book chapters as mandatory reading each week (and of course there were additional suggested texts). This level of reading will serve you well throughout your career.

In fact, your applied sociological work is likely to involve lots of reading and synthesis of different materials. Your output may not necessarily mean writing up this information. In all likelihood, you’ll have to provide verbal summaries and visual presentations of what you read. All that undergraduate reading will be invaluable to your career.

How Sociology Class Discussions Benefit Your Career

A sociology degree provides critical thinking & persuasive interpersonal communication skills.

A sociology degree provides critical thinking & persuasive interpersonal communication skills.

As a student, did you ever wonder why we do so much group work in sociology classes? This isn’t a superficial way to discuss readings – you’re learning valuable skills that will serve you well in an applied career.

What is clinical sociology?

Clinical sociology  delivers health intervention. This includes: rehabilitation;  counselling; mediation;  community services;  case management;  social policy research;  & public health campaigns.

Clinical sociology delivers health intervention.

Clinical sociology is an applied practice that focuses on health intervention, such as working with medical practitioners, community health services, social policy and public health campaigns.

In this post, we’ll take a look at a definition of clinical work, as well as two case studies. First, we’ll see how clinical sociology is used in health and policy work by Work Cover, Australia’s federal medical program for industrial claims and workers’ compensations. Second, we’ll look at a clinical sociologist who provides career coaching through physical therapy. Finally, there’s a discussion of how you might forge a clinical sociology career. 

Sociology Ethics in an Applied Workplace

Sociology EthicsI’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.

Applied Sociology Career in Health & Ageing: Dr Sue Malta

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…

Sociology for Social Activism

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.

Applied Sociology Career in Research & Evaluation

Wadsworth Do It Yourself GIFI recently interviewed Dr Yoland Wadsworth an applied sociologist from Melbourne, Australia. In the video below, Yoland talks about her 42 year career in Community Research & Evaluation.

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.

Art Therapy, Visual Sociology and Dementia Awareness

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.

Podcast: Doing Applied Work

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.


Sociology at Work Podcast Series Kicks Off

Graffiti QV by Zuleyka ZevallosBelow 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.

Building Sustainable Cities for the Future

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.

Projected population by region

UN WESS, 2013