Our most recent video discusses the careers panel that I sat on as part of the annual conference for The Australian Sociological Association (TASA). I focus on the panel discussion about how to translate theory into practice when you’re working outside academia. I also cover workplace ethics in the video, as well issues about managing professional identity outside of academia and the importance of networking. I was asked about how I manage my research consultancy business. I talk about how to market yourself and how to establish a professional reputation with prospective clients using social media.
Dr Sue Malta works as a Research Fellow and Project Manager for the National Ageing Research Institute (NARI) in Melbourne, Australia. This is a not-for-profit organisation that runs community development projects in health and ageing. Sue also works a researcher with the Royal Freemason’s Homes Victoria. In our latest Sociology at Work video, Sue discusses how she came to sociology as a “late life learner.”
As a third year undergraduate student in sociology, Sue completed an internship for local government focusing on ageing and social connecteness. This became the focus of her Honours research. Sue’s PhD was on the romantic and sexual lives of older adults. Sue discusses how she uses the theories and learning from her degree in her everyday work. She also gives advice to students who would like to find similar work on health and ageing research. She says: “I love my job… I’m passionate about what I do.” There’s more on Sue’s career further below.
Dr Dan Brook is a lecturer in sociology and politics at San Jose State University in the United States, and he is also involved with several social activism communities outside of his academic work. This includes support of social causes such as vegetarianism, anti-smoking awareness, global warming, the promotion of peace, and advocating for an increase in living wages. In this Sociology at Work Google+ Hangout I spoke with Dan about how he uses applied sociology in his social activism. We also discussed how students might get involved in similar activities as a way of practising sociology, and also as a way of thinking about their job options.
Dan argues that social activism is a good way to begin to practice sociology ahead of a professional career. He sees that community work teaches students how to network. This includes learning to work with different types of people – some of whom will agree with their ideas, others who will disagree. Social activism and volunteering also connects students to potential future co-workers and supervisors. Community work helps students interact with people using sociological ideas in an applied way.
At the heart of the various social justice issues that Dan works on, there is a common goal: “A better, fairer, kinder, more beautiful society.” He explains:
I believe not just in going for immediate and obtainable goals, but trying in a larger way to change our culture. I think that’s the special niche, perhaps, of sociologists. We realise how important culture is, and if we can make certain cultural changes – which are not easy, it takes a lot of people and it takes a lot of time – but when we make those cultural changes we find the social and political changes are much easier because we have a widespread support for it. It seems more natural then.
Read more about Dan’s career and his advice on social activism for sociology students below.
I recently interviewed Dr Yoland Wadsworth an applied sociologist from Melbourne, Australia. In the video below, Yoland talks about her 42 year career in Community Research & Evaluation.
Dr Yoland Wadsworth is one of Australia’s prominent applied sociologists. She has led a distinguished career, working on 3,500 community service and health projects both at the local and state levels.
In this video, Yoland discusses how her research has shaped children’s services, mental health delivery and helped the not-for-profit sector. Yoland also provides practical examples of how she has used sociological theories and methods as part of her everyday work.
Here’s a brief visual overview about how sociology is used beyond universities. Applied sociology is the use of sociological concepts and methods to answer specific client questions and to address community concerns. This video covers: what is sociology? What sorts of questions and problems can applied sociology address? What type of work do applied sociologists do?
Sociology At Work has published a new article that provides a definition of applied sociology and a concise history of this term. As well as describing some of the sociological practices that might be considered to be ‘applied’, the article also discusses the professional skills that sociology graduates might draw upon when thinking about their career pathways.
Applied sociology refers to professionals who use the principles of sociology outside a university setting. This article shows that the skills used by applied sociologists are especially advantageous for graduates looking to find meaningful work that can make a positive impact on society. The article also shows that applied sociology can benefit a multitude of industries, such as private businesses, government agencies and grassroots local community groups.