What is Sociology?
Sociology is a social science, a discipline which takes societies and social institutions as the object of scientific inquiry and reasoning. The study of sociology provides a general understanding of the organization and functioning of societies, their major institutions, groups and values, and the interrelations of these with personality and culture. Sociologists are particularly concerned with social issues and social problems, and the sources of stress and change in contemporary and historical societies.
The Department of Sociology at Bryn Mawr College offers students particular opportunities to study societies of the Global North and South, the relation of individuals and groups to society and culture, and the contribution of sociological perspectives to formation of public opinion and debate. Courses in US society, immigration, race and ethnic relations, development, social stratification and inequality, gender, sociology of education, medical sociology and African American and Asian American communities provide critical perspectives from which to understand and analyze major social issues. Courses in the sociology of religion, economic sociology and the family focus on major social institutions. Other offerings in the department address the relation of individuals to their social milieu, such as those courses which examine deviance, the individual and social structure, the sociology of popular music and culture. Students are given the opportunity to study the great classical and contemporary social theorists and they learn how to do sociology using quantitative and qualitative methods.
What can you do with a degree in Sociology?
Sociology has relevance to every sphere of human social life. Undergraduate training in sociology provides an excellent background and preparation for a variety of careers. Examples of professions include: university professors, physicians in diverse specialties, journalists in electronic and print media, directors of local, national and international NGOs, business executives and entrepreneurs, financial analysts in investment firms and corporations, lawyers in public interest, corporate, and government organizations, social workers in clinical and case work practices, administrators in colleges and universities, school teachers in public and private institutions, psychotherapists, and psychiatrists - as well as several more exotic careers such as certified hypnotherapist and certified massage therapist.
We are the slaves of slaves. We are exploited more ruthlessly than men.
- Lucy Parsons
Painting by May Stevens
Look at me! Look at my arm! I have ploughed and planted. And ain't I a woman? I could work as much and eat as much as a man - when I could get it - and bear the lash as well - And ain't I a woman?
- Sojourner Truth
Painting by Audrey Flack
They take the paper and they read the headlines, So they've heard of unemployment and they've heard of breadlines, And they philanthropically cure them all By getting up a costume charity ball.
- Ogden Nash
Drawing by Seymour Chwast
We were nervous and we didn't know we could do it. Those machines had kept going as long as we could remember. When we finally pulled the switch and there was some quiet, I finally remembered something... That I could stop those machines, that I was better than those machines anytime.
- Sit-down striker
Akron, Ohio 1936
Painting by Sue Coe
Our lives shall not be sweated from birth until life closes, hearts starve as well as bodies; give us bread, but give us roses!
- James Oppenheim
Bread and Roses
Drawing by Jack Beal
The essence of trade unionism is social uplift. The labor movement traditionally has been the haven for the disposessed, the despised, the neglected, the downtrodden, the poor.
- A.Philip Randolph
Painting by Marchall Arisman
This is not the first time girls have been burned alive in this city. Every week I must learn of the untimely death of one of my sister workers. Every year thousands of us are maimed. The life of men and women is so cheap and poverty is so sacred!
- Rose Schneiderman
Drawing by Judy Chicago
You may call the workers' phrases vulgar and untrained, but to me their forms of speech are much more clear, more powerful with more courage and poetry than all your schools in which our leaders smile to see us learn empty grammar. A man's most basic character, most basic wants, hopes and needs come out of him in words that are poems and explosions.
- Woody Guthrie
Painting by Philip Hays
It is true, indeed, that they can execute the body, but they cannot execute the idea which is bound to live.
- Nicola Sacco
Painting by Milton Glaser
An injury to one is an injury to all.
- Knights of Labor Motto
Painting by Daniel Maffia