My Conviction In The Need To Study Sociology

Though there are many possible definitions for what exactly sociology is, upon consideration of literature such as ‘The Sociological Imagination’ by C. Wright Mills, and ‘The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life’ by Erving Goffman – I have come to realize that sociology is more than simply just ‘the study of the development, structure, and functioning of human society’, but rather, sociology is integral as an academic discipline if we are to hope for the enacting of change within ourselves and society. For example, issues such as the rise in plastic surgery procedures, when the sociological imagination is applied, move from the realm of simply being the product of the vanity of an individual, to perhaps being a subconscious result of the constant reinforcement of specific physical aesthetics in society, as equating to desirability. If approached from Goffman’s dramaturgical model, passivity lessens, and one may say the rise is simply part of an active construction; the process of impression management to present ourselves to others as desirable. It is in this way that I find sociology to be of profound importance, as when viewing social trends or patterns in a one-dimensional way – we risk missing out on a myriad of plausible truths that must first be understood in order to create positive social change.

I feel the various subjects I studied at a-level have equipped me with transferable skills that will aid me in the study of Sociology at degree level. For example, in Religious Studies we specifically looked at how an absence of religious pluralism can have devastating consequences for social groups such as the rohingya Muslims in Myanmar who are currently victims of ethnic cleansing. In English Literature, I constructed my coursework around issues of colonialism and imperialism as presented in the novel ‘Property’, from my analysis I came to the realization that the physical, financial and emotional oppression of groups such as black people in wider society, was often mirrored in literature. The lack of literature produced by black people themselves relaying their experiences, only reinforced the dominant ideology held by white people within that time – simply, that black people where inherently ‘other’ and devoid of the need of a voice and expression through literature. Through various volunteering that I have undertaken, I have attempted to actively contribute to positive social change; I have volunteered with local charities such as The Forget Me Not Children’s Hospice as a community fundraiser, and HOOT, a creative mental health charity as a steward for various showcases. From my voluntary experiences, not only did I gain the ability to work within a team of individuals from a diverse range of backgrounds (as I hope to do over the duration of this course), but more importantly, I witnessed first-hand the financial struggles of charities who don’t receive adequate government funding despite helping the marginalized groups that social policy has seemingly neglected.

After seeing the struggles of charitable organizations and working with vulnerable members of society, my conviction in the need to study sociology was only cemented. I now hope to become the director of my own charity that tackles mental health and material deprivation simultaneously whilst providing academic support in order to allow working-class children from ethnic minority backgrounds, the best possible chance of success, whether this be through university, apprenticeships or entrepreneurial ventures. I am incredibly confident that through the studying of sociology I will come to gain a deeper understanding of topics such as social policy, culture and social inequality to name a few, all of which will better equip me to make the positive changes that I wholeheartedly hope to be possible.

03 December 2019
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