Sociology As A Sociologist

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I am a sociologist. When I tell people this, I usually get a strange look. “A what?” people will say. “Is that like a psychologist?” others will ask. These are good questions. You do not meet that many sociologists because most of us work at universities where we teach sociology classes. And some people can go to college, leave with a degree, and never take a sociology class. Here is my attempt to explain what a sociologist is, what we do, and how sociology is involved with Voices into Action.

A sociologist is a person who studies society. What is society? It is you, me, our families, neighbors, schools, workplaces, government, hospitals, the military, the media, and almost any other type of group you can think of. Basically a society is all
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None of us lives on an island alone. Instead, who we become, what we do, and how we raise our children is influenced by the people who raised us, the schools and churches we attended, the neighbors we grew up with, and the society we live in (growing up in the United States, for example, is very different than growing up in China). We are individuals to be sure. Every day each person gets up, gets dressed, and makes a bunch of decisions about eating, work, family life, etc. But how do we know what to do? How do we learn what foods we should eat for breakfast? How do we know what jobs are good (like a nurse), and what jobs are bad (like a bank robber)? In other words, most of what we do and know comes from what other people have taught …show more content…
We ask participants what they and their kids eat, where they shop for food, and what they think about health. As sociologists we want to understand how the individual actions mothers take (like feeding kids and buying food), and what they think (like how they know when someone is healthy or unhealthy), are connected to other things. Take shopping for food, for example.

This is what mothers tell us: before they buy food they will think about what her kids like and do not like to eat. They will think about the amount of money they have (maybe they have only has $20 until payday). They may also think about how many family members will stop by for dinner that week, and about the electricity bill that is overdue. They will think about what foods are healthy for their children, but they may also want to buy their kids sweet treats to show them they love them.

So while individual mothers buy food, they only buy food after they have taken all of these things into account. Individual decisions are affected by many different factors beyond the individual. Understanding what mothers buy becomes more complicated when we think about what they ate growing up, food advertisements, and the fact that what we cook says something about who we are as women and/or mothers (I know because I am

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