What is Sociology?

Have you ever talked about "role models" or "self-fulfilling prophecies?" Have you ever said to someone "it's not what you know, it's who you know?" Have you ever talked about "glass ceilings?" If you've used any of these ideas, you've used sociology. These are all concepts that originated in empirical sociological research and have since seeped into popular consciousness.

Sociology is one of the great fields of inquiry of the modern era. The idea of social relations or social forces, the idea that much of life is causally shaped by specific relations among large groups of people, belongs alongside the theory of gravity, evolution, the unconscious, and other seminal ideas that have transformed human life and consciousness in the last few centuries.

The Sociology Department of UVM carries on this field of inquiry. Keeping up a tradition that
goes back to the nineteenth century at UVM, UVM's Sociology faculty apply the sociological lens to everything from social class to sexuality, from crime to the mass media, from aging to leisure. We teach students how to think sociologically and to apply that thought to real-world situations. If you are actively concerned about the world you live in and want to do something constructive and useful in it, sociology provides our best means for understanding how social life works.