The Value of the Profession of Sociology

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Dr. Nicole Oehmen
Director and Assistant Professor of Sociology
School of Arts and Sciences

I was reminded, after re-reading it in the text I assigned to my Law and Society class last session (Invitation to Law and Society: An Introduction to Real Law by Kitty Calavita) and after falling into the Dan River on a kayaking trip with my family this weekend (only a little scary and mostly good fun!) of a sociologically relevant river allegory. To paraphrase: a person is fishing in the river and sees someone in distress in the water nearby. They help the drowning person, only to see another, another, and then yet another struggling to keep their head above water. The fisher keeps pulling  people out of the water one by one, until finally heading upstream to discover that more drowning could be prevented if only they removed the culprits tossing folks downstream!

Sociological inquiry requires the ability to look beyond individual cases in order to find the structural root of any social issue. And–metaphor aside– we find that social issues are usually complex and multifactorial. Sociologists use systematic analysis of observable or quantifiable factors to develop theory and draw conclusions about social processes, understand the mechanisms that produce social facts we observe, and identify relationships between variables. 

Sociology majors at CU learn how to recognize and find reliable information about the social world, use their sociological imaginations to ask testable questions, interrogate the social forces behind things we often take for granted, and use different research methods to systematically answer questions they have. New to the Fall 2021 curriculum, CU sociology majors will also be able to add a concentration in one of three areas–user experience, criminology, or social work! Finally, all sociology majors take a capstone course to prepare them for their chosen path after graduation and have the opportunity to earn credit for applying what they learn in class to their own relevant experiences.

To learn more about the sociology major at CU, come visit with me over zoom on May 26, June 23, or June 28 any time between 4pm and 5pm!: 

And stay safe–in and out of moving water–this summer!

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