Leicester sociologists commit to ‘live sociology’

Posted by vs156 at Jan 04, 2016 10:20 AM |
Sociology students at Leicester will walk the sociological field to enhance their learning and understanding of the subject.
Leicester sociologists commit to ‘live sociology’

Leicester sociology students on field trip

Prompted by the University’s initiatives around Pathways, Leicester sociologists have been reflecting on how students could acquire the academic skills of the discipline more effectively. As a result they have given a commitment to ‘live sociology’.

Live sociology means taking students out into the field to experience sociology and practice sociology for themselves.

Walking the field and field trips are not just the preserve of the geologist or geographer, but such excursions have a long heritage in academic sociology and in the development of ‘good’ sociological practice.

However, instead of using the town, city or locality as an 'empirical crucible' it has become easier to preach the content of books, texts and articles from the warmth and comfort of the lecture theatre or seminar room. Yet is this how we really want to train our future sociologists?

For a group of sociologists in the Department of Sociology at the University of Leicester the answer to this question is a resounding no.

They note that you would be hard pressed to find a better place than Leicester to learn first hand issues or ethnicity, migration, social class, community. There is no better city for sociologists to develop their craft, to venture out into the field to observe and record and observe again what they see around them.

Furthermore, as Leicester’s Department of Sociology was the third to be formed in the UK, our sociologists can draw on the department’s intellectual heritage as a focus for live sociology and walking the field.

The commitment to live sociology at Leicester means that students will walk the sociological field to extend and develop their knowledge of the subject.

Recently, MA students experienced walking the field during their studies of The Established and the Outsiders (1965) by Elias and Scotson, which is set in a Leicester suburb. One student reflected:

I am an MA student, last time we had a field trip for "Community", I really like that form of class. It is easier to understand what's the book said, and for me it's a vivid class. I not only studied concepts and theories, I also get a chance to touch the real British culture. Hope we have more opportunity to make that kind of trip for our study, that must be a good thing for us, especially for international students.
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