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Sociology: I Can’t Quit You

May 3, 2013

1-minute read

True confession time, people.

I commit sociology.

And not just as a one-off.

You might say—all right, I will say it—that I’m a repeat offender. In fact, I’m practically addicted. Scarcely a minute can go by without my synapses looking for their next fix.

That might not be a politically correct admission. After all, this is tough-on-crime Canada, where such wanton disregard for Father-Knows-Best-ology and doing the "right" thing (and not in that perilously-close-to-committing-sociology Spike Lee kind of way) seems almost, well, unpatriotic.

I have to admit that, recently, I tried to cut back for health reasons. I was concerned that my frequent indulgences were resulting in elevated levels of anxiety and an uncontrollable, (even pathological?) urge to flip though the latest report from the Parliamentary Budget Office—for fun, and some basic background information.

I know, right? Subversive.

So I figured some radical (whoops, sorry!)—immediate intervention might be required to take me from critically aware (boo!)…to certifiably, awesomely acquiescent (boo-ya!).

I PVR’d Don Cherry’s biopic Keep Your Head Up, Kid.

I made Canadian Weather my homepage.

I practiced saying “gosh, you’ll have to ask my husband” and “your father’s right, kids.”

But then while taking out the recycling the other evening I inadvertently read a newspaper headline and, wouldn’t you know it, I fell off the wagon. Just like that.

Turns out, I’m one of those people—maybe you are, too—who just can’t kick the habit.

It might have something to do with the “Question Authority” sticker that for years adorned the fridge in my childhood home (although I’m not sure if I just retroactively accused my parents of a thoughtcrime). Or the simple fact that mom (a teacher) and dad (a lawyer) were both professionally and personally invested in myself and my siblings understanding why things happen. Not just that things happen.

You know. Sort of like checking the list of ingredients and perhaps the “best before” date rather than assuming just because something’s on the supermarket shelf it’s good for you. After all, asking a few pointed questions is a basic skill that we teach kids as part of Streetproofing 101. Cause if someone says they’re a friend of your parents it ain’t necessarily so.

In spite of rumours to the contrary, committing sociology is not just a casual pastime of select and pampered pseudo-intellectuals. Questioning, analyzing, contextualizing—these are all fundamental responsibilities of citizenship, residency, and participation in democratic society.

People who commit sociology serve to disrupt those in positions of power who insist that (the official version of) history is seamless, that independent thought is akin to insubordination, that resistance (or, you know, critique) is, if not futile, at the very least suspect.

Inconvenient? Most definitely. But you know--I’ll take an inconveniently informed, questioning electorate over a sociologically-averse, easily-satisfied one any day.

You might say it’s something I’m committed to.




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