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Sociology: Types of Sociologists
The American Sociological Association (ASA) provides a useful summary of the different types of sociologists. Each of the types listed below is considered a sub-field within the larger field of sociology. Though the faculty at the of knows a good deal about many different sub-disciplines, we specialize in urban sociology (Dr. Duff), sex, gender, and social psychology (Dr. Monto), and criminology (Dr. McRee).
The ASA explains as follows:
Sociological Specialties: Many Paths to Understanding Society
Sociologists develop their interests in different ways. They pursue diverse specialty subjects within the field as a whole. Thus, sociologists may specialize in families, adolescence, or children; the urban community; education; health and medicine; aging and the life course; work and occupations; the environment, science, and technology; economics, social inequality, and social class; race relations, ethnicity, and minorities; sex and gender; sports; culture and the arts; politics, the military, peace, and war; crime, delinquency, law, and justice; social change and social movements; and any other area of human organization. College and university courses reflect these interests, as well as research methods and theory building. Some of the most fascinating subjects explored by sociologists include:
- Sex and gender: Do men and women have different hiring, employment, and promotion experiences? This would be a research question for a sociologist specializing in how sex and gender affect the workplace.
- Medical sociology: How is AIDS transmitted (and thus prevented) in different subgroups of the population? How has public opinion about AIDS shifted? These are the concerns of medical sociologists.
- Organizations and occupations: Which management styles increase productivity and worker satisfaction would engage the attention of an organizational sociologist.
- Racial and ethnic minorities: Do minority children get "tracked" within the public schools? Do minority parents get "cooled out" from participating in and knowing about the informal power structure within schools? Someone specializing in minority relations would explore these questions.
- Family: Are children of divorced parents more likely to divorce, or to reject marriage themselves? What factors predict whether abused children would fare better in foster care or reunited with their birth family? These would be possible subjects for a family sociologist. Any social phenomenon can be examined through the lens of different sociological standpoints. Indeed, a hallmark of sociological analysis is that it utilizes a variety of interconnected perspectives. Most sociological research and theory seeks to explain prevailing social behavior patterns and how they change over time.
ASA Sections: An for Involvement and Networking
ASA has 39 Sections, or special interest groups, within the Association, formed of people who share a common interest in a particular area of sociology.
These sections are: Aging and the Life Course; Alcohol, Drugs, and Tobacco; Animals and Society; Asia and Asian America; Children and Youth; Collective Behavior and Social Movements; Communication and Information Technologies; Community and Urban Sociology; Comparative and Historical Sociology; Crime, Law, and Deviance; Culture; Economic Sociology; Education; Emotions; Environment and Technology; Ethnomethodology and Conversational Analysis; Family; History of Sociology; International Migration; Labor and Labor Movements; Latino/a Sociology; Law; Marxist Sociology; Mathematical Sociology; Medical Sociology; Mental Health; Methodology; Organizations, Occupations, and Work; Peace, War, and Social Conflict; Political Economy of the World-System; Political Sociology; Population; Race, Gender, and Class; Racial and Ethnic Minorities; Rationality and Society; Religion; Science, Knowledge, and Technology; Sex and Gender; Sexualities; Social Psychology; Sociological Practice; Teaching and Learning; Theory
The above information is excerpted from the American Sociological Association, retrieved August 2006 from the ASA website.
Monument photographed during field research in Thailand, courtesy of Prof. Duff