Role of Sociologists to Solve Social Problems
- What is the sociologist’s proper role?
- Is it simply to watch human behavior with the calm, objective fascination of an ecologist counting lemmings as they dive into the ea?
- Should the sociologist, on the other hand, hurry into social action?
- Should a sociology professor encourage students to develop a detached understanding of social phenomena or urge them to man the social change barricades?
- What is the sociologist’s legitimate duty in a changing society?
1. The Sociologist in the Role of a Research Scientist
Sociologists, like all scientists, are concerned with both the acquisition and application of knowledge. They contribute to these responsibilities in a variety of ways.
Conducting Scientific Research:
- The sociologist’s primary role as a scientist is to uncover and organize knowledge about social life.
- A handful of full-time research sociologists work for universities, government agencies, foundations, or corporations, and many sociologists combine teaching and research.
- Many university sociologists conduct “sponsored” research, with government agencies, foundations, or corporations funding all or part of their salary and research expenses funded for through research funds from government agencies, foundations, or companies
- These funds are given to sociologists who submit an accepted proposal for study on a certain issue. Because little study can be undertaken without research funds, funding bodies wield significant power over the direction of sociological research.
Correcting Popular Disinformation:
- Another responsibility of the sociologist as a scientist is to clean away the intellectual garbage of misinformation and superstition that clogs so much of our social thought.
- Sociologists have helped to disprove a lot of myths regarding genetics, race, class, gender differences, deviance, and practically every other facet of behavior.
- Because of sociological findings, we rarely hear an educated person argue that the white race is innately superior, that women are intellectually inferior to men, that behavior traits are inherited, or that rural people are less “immoral” than urban people – ideas that nearly every educated person accepted a half century ago.
- Sociologists may be fulfilling their most essential duty by assisting in the replacement of superstition and disinformation with true understanding about human behavior.
Generating Sociological Forecasts:
- Although sociologists’ track record in making social predictions is not particularly spectacular, someone must make social predictions.
- Every policy decision is founded on specific assumptions about the society’s current and future status.
- A senator who argues, “We need more severe punishments to discourage drug pushing,” predicts that harsher penalties will genuinely reduce the narcotics trade without causing even more issues.
- Another legislator who says “Legalize marijuana” makes a number of forecasts regarding the repercussions of doing so. As a result, every policy prescription entails a set of assumptions and projections.
2. The Sociologist as Policy Advisor
- Sociological forecasting can also assist in estimating the likely outcomes of a social policy.
- Every social policy choice is based on a forecast. A policy (for example, government grants for Head Start) is implemented in the belief that it will have the desired effect (e.g. narrow he educational gap between poorer and more prosperous children).
- Policies have frequently failed because they were based on faulty assumptions and projections.
- Sociologists can assist in predicting the impacts of a policy and so contribute to the design of policies that meet the intended goals. For example, how does dropping out of high school affect a young person’s future earnings?
3. Sociologists as a role of Technician
- Some sociologists work on community action projects, advising on public relations, employee relations, morale issues, or “inter-group relations” within organizations, and working on a variety of human relations issues.
- These sociologists frequently specialize in social psychology, industrial sociology, urban or rural sociology, or complex organization sociology.
- The term clinical sociologist has recently developed to denote the sociologist’s job as a technician. To some extent, this is a new label for something that sociologists have been doing for a long time, but it also contains a significant extension of sociologists’ efforts to be useful in society.
- In such roles, the sociologist acts as an applied scientist. He or she has been tasked with applying scientific knowledge to the pursuit of certain ideals, such as a cohesive and efficient workforce, an appealing public image of the sector, or a successful community action programme.
- This job presents ethical concerns.