Political Science Personal Statement
I have begun my personal statement a number of times, wondering where to start, what to include and what themes will interest whomever reads this, yet one thing that constantly arises – is a genuine interest in culture and ideologies.
The distribution of power, be it due to gender, class, ethnicity or on a larger scale, as a tool utilised by those already in power, captivates me. This has been enhanced through my A-level Sociology syllabus – I found the unified need for power in men as a gender fascinating.
I have found that after learning about attitudes to and against the “crisis in masculinity”, I was able to apply my knowledge, whether towards the hegemonic male who achieves success in the eyes of mainstream society, or the young male seeking success in gang youth sub-cultures, these characters became easily recognisable in the street.
I have always excelled in English, mainly because I have been encouraged to read widely. It is this that led me to discover the play “The Royal Hunt of the Sun” whose portrayal of a power struggle between cultures provoked my attention.
Rather than the religion and supposedly superior civilised illustration of the West, it is the Westerners who are shown to be the “savages”, fighting for greed and stolen goods; their values subordinate to the supposedly uncivilised Incas.
The play brings up themes of cultural norms and values, along with social structure and behavioural traits; making it something I have come to value. This idea of the West as excessive consumers, a point repeatedly preached by postmodernists, was presented in James’ “Affluenza”.
While he presented good examples of our needless consumption, I found this to be an unfortunate piece of pop-psychology. There are clearly strong links between the social sciences, in this case psychology and sociology, but concluding that we should seek some form of “inner beauty” in place of consumption, belittled the subject matter.
I attended an exhibition on the same topic, and was captivated by a collection of photography. In twenty still shots, the same man is photographed with the same mundane facial expression; the only thing that differs slightly is his clothes. His mindset and the evident display of the emptiness of our consumption stirred a genuine curiosity in me.
I was fascinated when Shami Charabarti gave a talk at my school; I now follow her campaigns and comments, especially her segments in the Guardian. It was stirring to hear of her work for Liberty and also of the likely campaign over the scrapping of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, should the Conservatives take power after the next general election.
I began singing choral music from a young age. This went from something seemingly obligatory to something I have developed a true love for. When I moved secondary school, it was singing that allowed me to acclimatise to my new environment.
Through the school I began singing jazz as a member of this school’s choir, later taking on solos which increased my confidence. I also put together arrangements for smaller-group performances, such as working on the vocal harmonies of a medley with three other girls.
The social sciences appeal to me because they are at the forefront of our everyday lives; they dictate, explain and influence our actions. I find the subject inspiring and resolve to get the most out of the experience.