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Delhi University Professor Explains The Advantages Of Studying Sociology

Sociology is not a profession one follows; it is an approach to being in the world; a way of life for those who experience reality sociologically

Pouriangthanliu Pongringmei | News18 Specials

Updated:June 27, 2018, 11:58 AM IST
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Delhi University Professor Explains The Advantages Of Studying Sociology
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When I began studying Sociology a few years back, relatives, friends and neighbours asked me, ‘Why did I choose Sociology? What do you do with Sociology?’ Essentially, they were asking me what kind of jobs I will get with a Sociology degree, or how will I make use of my sociological knowledge to make a living?

Another set of questions my teachers asked me was what will I do with the sociological understanding I acquire? How do I make use of the knowledge acquired and make it a part of my everyday existence?

Sociology is not a profession one follows; it is an approach to being in the world; a way of life for those who experience reality sociologically – how do I see things, interpret and make sense of social phenomena and social problems. What are my reactions and interactions with sociological perspective to these social phenomena?

Doing Sociology for me is understanding issue at its basic level. Understanding issues be it the political, economic or social, becoming aware and being able to identify and describe something. It allows one to go beyond understanding, but also to reflect and analyse. For example, how do I make connections with my life and the issues in question? Does this impact me directly or indirectly? Other fundamental point in doing sociology is the ability to embark oneself to go beyond the simple understanding of issue – common sense, but trying to gain an understanding by employing sociological ideas, theories and concepts. Doing sociology helps in making one dig deeper and helps to see things from multiple angles, settings and actors. This enables us to take meaningful action both at the individual as well as the societal level. At the individual level, one doing sociology can help change perspectives, attitude, educate and enhance further. It also empowers one to participate, or take an action in social campaign meaningfully.

Doing Sociology is a tool that allows me to engage with the world.

Most undergraduate courses do not necessarily provide a clear-cut vocational path. For instance, not all biology or psychology majors end up going to medical schools or becoming psychologist. Some people might go on a different career path only to discover later that they don’t really like the work it involves; so they accordingly change careers.

Many bloggers and career counsellors do offer guidance about what professions sociology majors can do. If one is to take a survey of jobs held by sociology graduates, we would find them as teachers, lawyers, or managers and in the social services, public relations, sales, and even advertising, or law school, etc.

However, a Sociology graduate can always use their expertise to be successful in different career paths. As a job seeker, the most important things to remember are: What are my strengths/ assets?; and How do I market my skill?

Each type of job requires different skill and experiences. Therefore, one needs to navigate the required skills.

As a sociology graduate and seeking for job, one can always use your field experiences. For instance, the courses on research methods allow us to conduct our own project. In that process, we acquire certain skill – conducting interviews, surveys, or learning how to build a rapport with others. These skills may be used to your advantage. Potential employers may like to know if you can create a work plan and follow it through systematically. Likewise, so is the ability to analyse information and interpret information.

Familiarity and awareness of diverse issues and sensitivity to many forms of diversity such as social stratification, gender, economy, polity, race, ethnicity, immigration, or migration are also important when applying for any kind of jobs in the social services and human resources sector.

What is important for a job seeker is to impart to the potential employer what special skills a sociology graduate can bring to their work and your experience will make you an outstanding employee.

(Pouriangthanliu Pongringmei teaches Sociology at JDMC, DU)

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