A couple semesters back, I took a course called ‘Introduction to Sociology’. I have a management background, and it was the first time I was going to study something of this liking. Honestly, I didn’t think much about it and had absolutely no expectations from the course. And that’s exactly how I approached it from the first day.
This little blog post isn’t about why sociology is good for you, why everyone should study it or even how you’ll benefit from it. Neither do I have answers to those questions, nor do I have any intentions of seeking them. This post is simply about my experiences and outcomes from the process of studying the subject. Naturally, the experiences are personal. As a result, some of these lessons (actually most) are not entirely related to Sociology. Yet they were an outcome of the process, hence they’re here.
One of the biggest reasons why this course turned out to be such a good experience, and not ‘just another course’, was because of the professor. The way she engaged students, took the discussions to another level, drew parallels and most importantly pushed for uncomfortable topics, made all the difference. It’ll be an understatement to say things wouldn’t have been same with another professor.
So, here are the lessons.
1. Understanding and unpacking ‘vibe’
In daily conversations and references, we use the word vibe. We even use it interchangeably with the word feeling. I find myself using it a lot and listening to other people around me do the same. In most conversations, placing an experience or situation under a certain ‘vibe’ is self-explanatory. We get the reference. But one of the first things I learned in the course was to question that ‘vibe’. Why is it there? If I’m drawing parallels, then what are the similarities? Why that vibe and not some other vibe. And most importantly, what really is that vibe? The context under which this little thought experiment was taught was as if we were not going deep enough in our understanding and not doing justice with the narrative.
2. Not realizing something doesn’t mean it’s not present
The context of this lesson was primarily injustice. How much we can be a party to it without realizing. And moreover, without having the intentions of doing so. Yet this absence of evil in our intentions can be as bad as having it. So, realization is the key. Another implication will be having a greater responsibility than we realise. This simple concept extends to other parts of our experiences and situations too.
3. Class dynamics
This was one of the most intriguing concepts I came across during this course. And it still continues intriguing me. What was really interesting was how this dynamic is simple on the outside, but so complex in reality. How it was the sum of so many factors. Then the different shape it takes in different cultures.
I choose to call myself lucky to have been able to experience this. And even luckier to have it at this point of time, not any later. While it may seem either an exaggeration or something insignificant, it is not. I walk away from this course with, most importantly, a new dimension in my perspective. A new dimension for looking at societal constructs, norms, situations and more with a better understanding and deeper insight. Somethings still difficult to put in mere words.