Why is sociology look down upon? Watch

EffieFlowers
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I don't study the subject, I have no desire to study it at degree level, but I don't really understand why it isn't respected?

It seems quite interesting, learning about the causes/ explanations of social demographics, class systems, religion, education and just society in general. Surely all of those are interesting fields? And have a fair bit of application to the real world?

Why is it that it is less respected than geography for example?

Obviously it's not as hard as the solid sciences (so all you 'science is amazing, art is pointless' type people relax) but there are pleanty of respected degrees out there which don't involve physics/ maths/ bio and chemistry.
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EffieFlowers
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I love how I completely screwed up the title. *looked down upon*
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EffieFlowers
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(Original post by TobeTheHero)
possibly because of its notoriety of being a soft subject...
That is just rephrasing my own question.
I obviously know it is considered a soft subject, why else would it be looked down upon...
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7589200
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People look down on things because of their own insecurities or because they're having a laugh.
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the bear
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Maybe because people associate it with social workers
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Dirac Delta Function
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I'll tell you which subjects get looked down upon as soft, and simultaneously give you the explanation why: It's the "anyone can have an opinion" phenomenon. Some subjects, like sociology, it's both easier to have an opinion, and harder to falsify it than in other subjects, like maths. I don't think that necessarily says much about the relative merits on the subjects, just why they are viewed the way they are.

After all, if (I think) I can talk sociology with a sociology undergrad (or grad) without having studied it or "it's just common sense", how could the degree be anything other than easy?
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TobeTheHero
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(Original post by EffieFlowers)
That is just rephrasing my own question.
I obviously know it is considered a soft subject, why else would it be looked down upon...
maybe because it is a fairly new field of study compared to physics, chemistry etc...
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aeterno
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It's simply a case of people not having a clue what it's about and making absurdly flippant comments. It, as a subject, encompasses a lot of different disciplines and I personally wouldn't regard it as a complete doss. I feel it's something I could study without problem but that has more to do with the fact that I'm studying Politics and I'm aware of the occasional overlap in content.
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alexsasg
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At GCSE level (and I suppose AS, but I'm less inclined to say this) it's definitely not on the same level as say, chemistry. But at university level, it's as challenging a course as any to study. The subject itself is not pointless - exams at GCSE level and the such make it seem so. It's obviously not a "doss subject" as if it were, it wouldn't be offered by universities such as the LSE and Cambridge (PhD course + part of their PPS undergrad course). I would also agree with the comments regarding it being a relatively "new" discipline in comparison to others which are more well-established.

In case you hadn't guessed already, I'm applying to do sociology at university.
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iammichealjackson
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I think its because people who do it at A Level (and then at degree) TEND to be the sort of people who couldn't cope with harder subjects so they try something new. Its been shown that people who do less traditional A Levels usually have lower GCSEs, which might support this.

I'm doing a sociology paper at university. I find it really interesting, and its just as hard (if not harder) than the biology paper im doing. It isn't a "doss" subject at uni, although its limited in what you can directly do with a degree in it!


(Original post by alexsasg)
At GCSE level (and I suppose AS, but I'm less inclined to say this) it's definitely not on the same level as say, chemistry. But at university level, it's as challenging a course as any to study. The subject itself is not pointless - exams at GCSE level and the such make it seem so. It's obviously not a "doss subject" as if it were, it wouldn't be offered by universities such as the LSE and Cambridge (PhD course + part of their PPS undergrad course). I would also agree with the comments regarding it being a relatively "new" discipline in comparison to others which are more well-established.


In case you hadn't guessed already, I'm applying to do sociology at university.
the total number of people who study sociology undergraduate at oxbridge is like 130 max.

This is compared to biology or chemisty where there would be over 1000 people studying it.

It just refllects our need for sociologists and the number of good applicants.
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bishbash72
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(Original post by EffieFlowers)
I don't study the subject, I have no desire to study it at degree level, but I don't really understand why it isn't respected?

It seems quite interesting, learning about the causes/ explanations of social demographics, class systems, religion, education and just society in general. Surely all of those are interesting fields? And have a fair bit of application to the real world?

Why is it that it is less respected than geography for example?

Obviously it's not as hard as the solid sciences (so all you 'science is amazing, art is pointless' type people relax) but there are pleanty of respected degrees out there which don't involve physics/ maths/ bio and chemistry.
Several reasons.

Firstly it relies more on what's fashionable academically than what's empirical. This is a problem with all the social sciences, but sociology is particularly vulnerable to it, since it came about in the 1960s.

Secondly, since it's a 'new' subject, it lacks the academic standards that you get with old subjects like history. To illustrate, at my university all social science courses require at least AAB. Sociology requires BBB. It's just not as difficult as politics, economics etc. It could be, but because universities allow lower standards for it, the average intelligence of people studying is that much lower.
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Dr A
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(Original post by EffieFlowers)
I don't study the subject, I have no desire to study it at degree level, but I don't really understand why it isn't respected?

It seems quite interesting, learning about the causes/ explanations of social demographics, class systems, religion, education and just society in general. Surely all of those are interesting fields? And have a fair bit of application to the real world?

Why is it that it is less respected than geography for example?

Obviously it's not as hard as the solid sciences (so all you 'science is amazing, art is pointless' type people relax) but there are pleanty of respected degrees out there which don't involve physics/ maths/ bio and chemistry.
It's interesting but easy and not really valued by employers.
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honestly
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(Original post by EffieFlowers)
I don't study the subject, I have no desire to study it at degree level, but I don't really understand why it isn't respected?

It seems quite interesting, learning about the causes/ explanations of social demographics, class systems, religion, education and just society in general. Surely all of those are interesting fields? And have a fair bit of application to the real world?

Why is it that it is less respected than geography for example?

Obviously it's not as hard as the solid sciences (so all you 'science is amazing, art is pointless' type people relax) but there are pleanty of respected degrees out there which don't involve physics/ maths/ bio and chemistry.
I think (dont shoot me down but its true) it depends which university awards the degree and many of the points covered are included in the most traditional subjects such as; Anthropology, History, Literature and Philosophy.....

and i remember writing an essay for someones A Level Sociology and i was sitting for my GCSE's, i wasnt studying the subject for GCSE. Yet it took me about 20 mons to grasp the theme of the essay and when the person handed it in, they where awarded and A grade for it, but then the teacher decided not to take submit it as it the person had not handed essays of a simillar quality.....

Personally i think it is a good subject, but i do think there is not enough of a challenge within the subject content...

In saying that its not as soft as many others, if for example you do Hist, Lit and Socio or Chem, Lit and Socio, then it doesnt seem that bad, but i would assume having an A* in the sociology would look good.



honestly :rolleyes: :o:o
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alexsasg
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(Original post by iammichealjackson)
I think its because people who do it at A Level (and then at degree) TEND to be the sort of people who couldn't cope with harder subjects so they try something new. Its been shown that people who do less traditional A Levels usually have lower GCSEs, which might support this.

I'm doing a sociology paper at university. I find it really interesting, and its just as hard (if not harder) than the biology paper im doing. It isn't a "doss" subject at uni, although its limited in what you can directly do with a degree in it!

the total number of people who study sociology undergraduate at oxbridge is like 130 max.

This is compared to biology or chemisty where there would be over 1000 people studying it.

It just refllects our need for sociologists and the number of good applicants.
I agree with you regarding the point about finding other subjects easier - I did better in biology at AS than in sociology, which goes to show that it isn't necessarily "easier" than more "traditional" courses.

Also, I couldn't help but notice that you're at Cambridge (My dream uni - applying to do PPS for 2012 entry!). What sort of sociology modules are available (or what are you doing your paper on? Is it something that you were able to pick out of several?) Thanks.
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ByronicHero
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Because people are stupid and would rather denigrate than investigate.
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iammichealjackson
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(Original post by alexsasg)
I agree with you regarding the point about finding other subjects easier - I did better in biology at AS than in sociology, which goes to show that it isn't necessarily "easier" than more "traditional" courses.

Also, I couldn't help but notice that you're at Cambridge (My dream uni - applying to do PPS for 2012 entry!). What sort of sociology modules are available (or what are you doing your paper on? Is it something that you were able to pick out of several?) Thanks.
Im a first year. And yeh, a smaller percentage of people get As/A*s in sociology/psychology than maths, which in a way corrects for it being suppossedly easier.

Im a first year. there is only 1 sociology paper in this year. you get taught everything but from what ive been told you only prepare a few topics in the exam, so in a way you do get to pick, yes. For sociology, psychology + sociology + politics + social anth/international relations is probably your best bet for the first year.
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Jabberwox
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Only by snobby people who think anything which isn't maths or science is a 'soft option'.
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Aramiss18
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(Original post by paddy__power)
Because people are stupid and would rather denigrate than investigate.
Perhaps it's because people- like me for example- have lived with someone who does sociology and observed first hand that their workload is very low.
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Aramiss18
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(Original post by Jabberwox)
Only by snobby people who think anything which isn't maths or science is a 'soft option'.
In terms of workload they are softer options and when was the last time an arts student had to get their head around wavefunctions? Far more work in a science degree and the content is more difficult to grasp. I don't know why people try and argue otherwise although I also I don't understand the snobbishness. If someone wants to study a degree like sociology then that's fine and I hope they benefit from and enjoy it but don't insult my intelligence and argue it's as difficult to get a 2.1 in than physics/chem/maths etc because it simply is not.
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Jabberwox
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(Original post by Aramiss18)
In terms of workload they are softer options and when was the last time an arts student had to get their head around wavefunctions? Far more work in a science degree and the content is more difficult to grasp. I don't know why people try and argue otherwise.
One of my friends is doing an art subject and his workload is very high. He never has any free time; most of it is dedicated to work, and he also gets very stressed out about deadlines.

Admittedly science and maths subject are more difficult but I still don't think it's fair that sociology is looked down on. All subjects are very valuable in their own way
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