sociology personal statement
The study of sociology enables us to comprehend the complex nature of how individuals are constructed through multiple identities and thus, we must consider how interlocking systems of oppression emerge across space. As discussed by Crenshaw intersectionality is a lens that considers how the intricate interaction between gender, race and class can work to oppress certain individuals
The Black Lives Matter movement which has been at the forefront of the global media, has compelled people to acknowledge the huge disparities that exist within societies. This social movement prompted me to explore outside of my studies how the historical black and white binary paradigm of race has created a hierarchical society which sustains social privilege for some, whilst continuing to marginalise others. As a result, I read an article 'Centre for Labour and Social'. This led me to develop my understanding of how race intersects with the formation of social class, as race often acts as a form of embodied capital that reduces the value of cultural capital.
In contemporary society, a Western cultural lens founded on historical colonial notions of race, is often used to provide an overly simplistic interpretation of various global cultures as demonstrated by the perceived gender inequality of Muslim women. This western narrative sparked the decision of the French government to ban Islamic full-face coverings in 2011, ignoring the fact that for some Muslim women this is their religious duty. Whilst the French government may have thought that the ban of Islamic veils would free 'oppressed' Muslim women from the strict regulations of Islam, the reality is that the hegemonic Western ideology has ironically denied the agency of these women. This led me to reflect that gender is not a mutually exclusive identity, instead we should acknowledge the different experiences between women of races, cultures and classes.
Our society is constantly evolving and adapting, as demonstrated by the emergence of the Covid-19 pandemic; it is not only a global medical emergency but also a social and political crisis which has disproportionally affected the most vulnerable in society and has exacerbated existing socio-economic inequalities. According to findings from the OECD, 'immigrants face a number of particular vulnerabilities in the current labour market situation' as they tend to be overrepresented among employees with temporary contracts and thus, not protected under the Job Retention Scheme. Similarly, social distancing measures have led to an increase in the dependence on technology and a fundamental shift in how we work, shop and socialise, ultimately nurturing the growth of digital poverty.
My chosen subjects of Geography and Drama have enabled me to develop a holistic understanding of society from various perspectives. Geography has given me an urge to explore societies in more depth to discover how influential factors such as geographical location and culture can influence a decision that heavily impacts society. My case study on de-industrialisation in Detroit, which dismantled the car industry was the catalyst for a devastating economic downturn, sparking a huge rise in unemployment, crime and substance abuse which led to widening social inequality. Drama has allowed me to develop a deeper empathy for individuals and society - in order to be a good actor, you first need to be a good sociologist.
In sociology, we must employ an intersectional lens to decolonise Western narratives and celebrate diversity, regardless of their race, gender or class. As Sommers stated 'intersectionality posits that racism, sexism and classism are interconnected, overlapping and mutually reinforcing. Together they form a matrix of oppression'.
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