"Since all human behavior is social, the subject matter of sociology ranges from the intimate family to the hostile mob; from organized crime to religious traditions; from the divisions of race, gender and social class, to the shared beliefs of a common culture."
(American Sociological Association, 2009, p.5)
Sociology's award winning teachers and researchers lead in the study of population dynamics and social inequality with a focus on such areas as: aging and the life course; health and health inequality; inequality, power, and social regulation; social demography and migration; work, occupations and professions.
We offer an array of undergraduate modules in Sociology, Health and Aging, and Criminology, as well as a robust graduate program in a diverse array of sociological fields that cross the discipline. Our department provides approximately 100 courses exploring many different areas of social life.
Consider our five main areas of concentration for study:
- Aging and the Life Course
The life course perspective provides a framework for understanding processes of inequality and change both within individuals and across various levels of society. Faculty working in this area study aging over the life course as a social process with attention to the intersections of individual lives, social structures, and social change. Faculty research includes examinations of family ties and aging; work, family and policy; trajectories of socioeconomic status and health from early life through old age; and the extended process of identity formation across the life course.
- Health and Health Inequality
Faculty working in this area use sociological approaches to understand health as a manifestation of broader structures of social inequality. Research includes examinations of cumulative advantage processes as mechanisms of health inequality, social mobility and trajectories of health, inequality in health behaviours and well-being, health professions, work and health, intimate partner violence, and Aboriginal well-being.
- Inequality, Power, and Social Regulation
Faculty members in this area explore social inequality along multiple dimensions including class, race, ethnicity and immigration status, sexuality, and gender. They also examine the ways in which social institutions, social processes and social practices (included those related to crime, policing and surveillance) are infused with, and shaped by power. Examples of research in this area include studies of citizenship and identity, education and social inequality, the relationship between economic inequality and political attitudes in cross-national perspective, policing and terrorism studies, and income inequality and crime across nations.
- Social Demography and Migration
This area encompasses faculty with research expertise in various aspects of population dynamics, including family demography, population health, and patterns of crime and violence. One area of particular strength lies in the study of migration, with faculty research in areas such as international migration, policy, and the economic and social integration of children of immigrants.
- Work, Occupations, and Professions
Faculty in this area study inequality in work arrangements within the context of the changing nature of work and the economy. Areas of study include professional work in Canada and the process of professionalization and regulation, gender and work, the interplay between structural factors and individual agency in school-work transitions, job-stress, disability accommodation and precarious employment arrangements, retirement and occupational pensions, and work and aging.
These areas reflect the emphasis of research amongst our faculty as well as areas of concentration for students undertaking graduate studies in Sociology at Western.
Within these broader fields, we have subsidiary areas of strength, based on the research interests of groups of faculty:
- Sociological Theory
- Quantitative Methods
- Qualitative Methods
- Collective Behaviour, Social Movements and Communication
- Deviance, Criminology
- Family and Gender
- Social Psychology
- Work and Occupations