Why study Sociology?
If you want to study how the modern world came to be the way it is, what is happening and why, and what alternatives are possible, Sociology is for you.
The raw stuff of Sociology is human experience. Sociology is where human experience, both individual and public, singular and collective meet. These public and private stories make up the sociological imagination and this results in many different social realities.
We all exist within ever-changing social worlds, forces, groups, ideologies and institutions that make up what is called society.
Sociology is the study of these ever-changing social realities and the sociological imagination that gives rise to them. Sociology is where you research, argue and critique the social world in all its fullness.
Sociologists investigate the structure of societies, organisations and groups. Their subject matter ranges from the intimacy of the family, the criminal gang, activities at the rugby game and rock festival, through to divisions of ethnicity, gender and class. All of these and many more areas, including globalisation, postcolonialism, cities, technologies, environment, health and the social organisation of death, are included in the Sociology programme taught at UC.
News and Announcements
Sociology & Anthropology
24 February 2015
Congratulations to Kathy Harrington-Watt (Anthropology) who has had the following article published from her Masters Thesis:
- The Affective, Devotional and Therapeutic Agency of Everyday Photographs in a Gujarati Migrant Community, New Zealand
- Kathleen Harrington-Watt
Vol. 28, Iss. 2, 2015
16 February 2015
On January 8 Piers Locke gave a presentation at the weekly colloquium of the Rachel Carson Center, Munich, on the topic of “Humans, Elephants, and Interspecies Intimacy in Nepal”. He spoke about his apprenticeship as a mahout in the elephant stables of the Chitwan National Park, arguing for the need to think through the implications of human exceptionalism in the humanities, the need for more-than-human forms of ethnography, and the possibility of extending personhood to elephants in order to rethink human-elephant relations. Piers also chaired a graduate seminar in which students discussed his work further.
Dr Ruth McManus’s ground-breaking research into attitudes to funeral costs in New Zealand gained national media attention over the weekend with a live radio interview on Newstalk ZB, RadioLive, coverage by Maori TV and TV3 an article on p3 of the Press on Monday the 12th January. Also in the Dominion Post 13th January 2015.
Basic findings are that:
- The funeral grants available don’t cover the cost of the most basic funeral.
- The process of getting grants is overly complicated and adds to the stress of the bereaved.
- People have to ‘make do’ and that can involve going into debt formally (e.g. on the credit card) and or to family and friends.
- Those who go into funeral debt are not always those who are on the poverty line.
- Those who are on the poverty line more likely to do as much of the preparation work themselves / informally as they can. Funeral directors are willing to help customers achieve a good funeral without bursting the bank. Increase in DIY and no funerals for those reasons - even though they may not be how the bereaved want to send off their loved ones.
- On an annual basis, we estimated that approximately 2800 could feasibly experience financial hardship over the costs of a funeral in NZ. Though a small number relative to the overall population, it’s important to recognise that financial hardship is concentrated in vulnerable groups in NZ that include for instance the old, (especially elderly women), and those who are experiencing difficult life events such as illness. Government administrated (and means tested) funeral grants: WINZ, ACC. Informally: RSA, Lions Club and there are links to Veterans Affairs as there is a small grant for a memorial for veterans, which also sometimes covers repatriation of remains costs. Average cost of a basic funeral in 2008 was $6,500 – Funeral grant was $1,760.57. Average cost 2014/5, $7500 - maximum funeral grant is $1,998.57.
- While this research project finished a few years ago before the earthquakes, currently and in collaboration with CEISMIC, we have a summer studentship working on a project called Transitional Memorialisation comparing online memorials for Chch earthquake and Pike River Disaster.
Sports has inspired people after the earthquakes
27 January 2015 A University of Canterbury postgraduate student says sports inspired people in Christchurch after the earthquakes. (read article)
Greater understanding of women needed
16 January 2015 A University of Canterbury sociology graduate researcher has identified a need for a greater understanding of the ways unintended childlessness impacts on women's lives. (read article)