Welcome to the Inaugural Edition of Working Notes. By The Editors
Working Notes is the online journal for Sociology At Work. We provide a platform for applied sociologists to share their work experiences, with a view to expanding recognition of what sociologists can do and enhancing how the discipline of sociology promotes sociological practices. Here we provide a brief background about the editors and the papers in this first edition.
Accounting for Sociology in a World of Auditors. By Michael Hughes, UK
Michael is the Director of Studies and Knowledge for the Audit Commission, UK, reviewing reports on local government services. He tells us why we should ‘never underestimate the value of a sociology degree in providing a foundation of skills and concepts for understanding other disciplines and their models’.
Tony reflects on his career in civil service and his current role as a researcher for Early Years and Childcare with the Kent County Council in the UK. He talks about how he uses statistics and Geographical Information Systems (GIS) in his job.
An Organisational Perspective: Applying Sociology to the Health Sector. By Christine Walker, Melbourne, Australia
Christine answers some questions about her work as Chief Executive Officer for Chronic Illness Alliance in Melbourne, Australia, which connects not-for-profit groups with government and academics in order to advocate for better healthcare for people with chronic illnesses.
War and Peace in Educational Disadvantage. By Lea Campbell, Melbourne, Australia
Lea works as a researcher for a social welfare organisation in Australia. She seeks out to answer the question: ‘How do we bring students, parents, teachers and stakeholders together to have powerful and respectful conversations around the educational, social and emotional needs of students?’ Lea makes a case for constructive conflict in educational policies.
Strengthening Business Through Sociology: The Work of a Council Coordinator. By Lui Wing Shek Adrian, Hong Kong
Adrian works for a global membership organisation for the business community. He tells us how his general sociological skills help him to work with businesses in order to strengthen their services. Adrian shows that ‘Realising the promise of sociological imagination is a long and winding road.’
Consuming Sociology: Working for State Government. By Stephen Leyden, Melbourne, Australia
Stephen works as a Research Officer for Consumer Affairs Victoria in Australia, a government agency more accustomed to focusing on business and legal concerns rather than on sociological issues. Stephen says some of the rewards of job involve ‘adding to the organisation’s knowledge by demonstrating the social/historical factors that influence behaviour.’
Beyond Merciless Critique: Reflections on the Contribution of Sociology in the Social Policy Space. By Anthony Hogan, Canberra, Australia
Anthony is a Fellow with the National Centre for Epidemiology and Public Health at The Australian National University. His paper argues that sociology could make a stronger impact on social policy if it went beyond criticism and engaged with the imperfect aspects of decision making.
Advice for Students Who Want to Work as Social Activists: A View From a Trade Union. By Gary Pattison, UK
Gary provides advice for students interested in becoming trade union officials, including how he moved into his profession and how sociology helps him achieve better conditions for workers. Gary discusses the challenges of bringing sociology into his job, but he notes the benefits are, ‘That I get to use my professional salary to challenge the state and capitalism. Seriously.’
Annika is one of the convenors of the Sociologists Outside Academia Group, which is part of the British Sociological Association. She answers questions about the issues facing their members.
Becoming an Applied Sociologist: A Personal Journey From Student to Academic to Public Servant. By Dr Zuleyka Zevallos, Australia
Zuleyka has a position as Sociologist in the Australian Public Service. She provides a reflexive case study of her career. She argues that sociology students need better vocational training and career planning strategies.