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Sociology Research

 

Social Theory provides essential tools to reflect on societal developments, especially on contemporary trends. Social and political transformations over the past decade have been dramatic, even by historical standards: take, for instance, the financial crisis of 2008 and the subsequent austerity regime in several countries; the refugee crisis in the Middle East, Africa and Europe; the electoral success of anti-globalisation and anti-immigrant parties in the UK, Continental Europe and the US; or the sudden fragility of liberal democracy and cosmopolitan values in the era of social media; the rise of new technologies such as IVF and the Internet. Each of those examples represents a massive shift – one that forces us to reconsider some of our presuppositions. We need innovative sociological concepts to make sense of these changes, and Cambridge Sociology is at the forefront of providing this.

Sociology at Cambridge has long been known for its innovative work on social theory. The department has a unique blend of social theory and research into political developments, enabling us to develop innovative conceptual frameworks. We explain, for instance, how new forms of nationalism and populism seem to emerge in Europe; why fertility in Europe is falling; the causes of health inequalities; or how revolutions have come about in the Middle East. Sociology at Cambridge also combines theory with expertise in media and culture. We study, for instance, how the nature of public engagement by intellectuals has shifted historically; how new technologies can be used by to make governments more accountable; or how the publishing industry has changed dramatically in the digital age.

Here are some of the questions we address:

  • Historically, how have key political events changed how intellectuals think?
  • What is beauty? And how political is it?
  • What are the political economies of healthcare?
  • How are ideas about parenthood changing??
  • How can new technologies be used to bring about human rights?
  • How has the meaning of addiction changed over time?

 

Image: 'Night Lights,' by Matthew Gilbert [CC BY NC-ND 2.0]