What's wrong with sociology? Its public image


In response to editor Stephen Cole's question—"What's wrong with sociology?"—the answer is nothing that cannot be overcome by clearer communications and better public relations. The problem is that the field is not held in high esteem by college administrators, legislators, and the public. Many see us as rebels of the 1960s, political liberals, and impractical thinkers with a penchant for jargon. Even our research is derided by some as a waste of money. The solution consists of strategies for overcoming our poor public image. Seven strategies for doing so are discussed: (1) Write clearly. (2) Write for a mass audience. (3) Seek board positions. (4) Strengthen our identity. (5) Teach sociology in high school. (6) Develop academic partnerships. (7) Emphasize outcomes: increase in tolerance and research skills.

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  1. Cole, Stephen 1994 “A Note from the Editor.” Sociological Forum 9:321–323.

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Seperson, S.B. What's wrong with sociology? Its public image. Sociol Forum 10, 309–312 (1995). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02095963

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Key words

  • communications
  • image
  • public relations
  • strategies