Social Responsibility

Student bloggers on global social challenges

Mon, 26 Jun 2017 13:09:00 BST

First year social science students have been engaging in public debate on some of the big challenges facing the world today.

In our new sociology course, Global Social Challenges, students examine social scientific perspectives on issues such as inequality, climate change, migration, radicalisation and corporate power.

The course is informed by the idea of 'public sociology', which Michael Burawoy has presented as one of the major tasks of the discipline: translating the knowledge generated by our research into forms that are more accessible and relevant for a wider public audience. In this approach students are often treated as one of our 'publics', but in this course Kevin Gillan, Senior Lecturer in Sociology, wanted to see what would happen if he stopped treating his students as audience and instead as active 'public sociologists'.

Students rose to the challenge to write in an accessible and engaging style, that neither hid their passions behind technical language nor lost sight of the need for considered reflection and evidence. The resulting written work demonstrated students' genuine and urgent interests in developing detailed understanding of the conditions of the world around them.

Among other issues, students deconstructed the ‘migrant crisis’, examined climate change, and scrutinised narratives of ‘radicalization’. Selecting the best student work, we ended up with a collection of 70 blog posts from nearly 60 authors on seven grand social challenges. All students we published should be congratulated, and especially the prize winners Lucy Alty, Amber Jasmine Quraishi and Bethan Pollington.

You can read the blogs on the Social Challenges blog site.

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