History of the Programme
Sociology has been taught at Canterbury since 1958. A full range of courses are taught at all levels (Levels 1 through Honours) and the programme has a large complement of thesis students.
Distinctive Nature of Sociology Programme
Among the things that serve to bring a distinctiveness to the Canterbury Sociology programme are the following:
- a strong commitment to theoretically informed empirical research; engagement with public policy
- a concern to blend research and teaching by incorporating aspects of sociological research into teaching and also by encouraging research-based assignment work by students;
- a strong commitment to the integration of theoretical analysis and investigative work at all levels of the teaching programme;
- a significant commitment to courses that provide sociological analysis of current and historical policy debates;
- high levels of team teaching at first year and honours; a diversity in teaching styles, assessment profiles and learning experiences; an innovative and engaging Level One programme;
- a broad range of courses at the Level Two and Level Three levels; and the quality of supervision provided at graduate level.
Topic areas covered at Canterbury include the areas of:
- Cities and Urban Life
- Health, Environment and Sustainable Development
- Gender and Embodiment
- Work and Technologies
- Gender and International Relations
- Collective Behaviour
- Popular Music Cultures
- Social Policy
In addition the Sociology programme has developed specialist expertise in the areas of media and new technologies. This has included the development of new courses on popular music and attention to media analysis in courses on the sociology of sport and leisure practices as well as a range of post-graduate research projects in this field.
Sociology has strong teaching links with Anthropology, and the interdisciplinary programmes of Gender and Cultural Studies. Staff also teach into American Studies, Antarctic Studies, Health Sciences, Engineering, Geography and Forestry.
Staff have research links with the School of Biological Sciences, Computer Science, HIT Lab, History, Forestry, Political Science and Communication
Staff have research / writing / examining links with Lincoln, CPIT, Otago, Victoria, Auckland and Massey Universities
Staff have research / writing / examining links with Bristol, Oxford, Kent, Aberdeen, Brighton, Lancaster, York, Hull, Toronto, Hong Kong, Columbia (NY), University of Alabama, New Mexico State University, the University of Nebraska, Eastern Kentucky University, Wesleyan University, Melbourne and the Queensland University of Technology.
Social Science Research Centre
The School hosts an interdisciplinary Social Science Research Centre (website). Its mission statement reads as follows: “To pursue theoretically grounded, empirical social science research which engages policy and public debate.”
Sociology currently offers methods courses in the undergraduate programme in life stories and survey methods. Research methods papers are also offered at graduate level.
These courses attend to the theorising underlying the adoption of different techniques of social research as well as extend students’ experience in conducting small scale forms of investigation and analysis. There is a strong focus on research ethics and the politics of knowledge and on developing students’ capacities to look critically at their own and others’ knowledge claims.
Development in this area fits with increasing interest in applied research in sociology and is consistent with existing links between academic staff and research units in central and local government as well as private social research companies. These linkages have been enhanced in the last few years with the development of the Social Science Research Centre, the summer studentship Programme and the Building Research Capacity in the Social Sciences (BRCSS) initiative.
Academic staff members have well developed professional links with colleagues in New Zealand and Overseas. This allows them to monitor developments in other universities and within the two disciplines.
Academic staff are members of both local and international professional societies and they regularly attend and present papers at International Conferences. This also allows them monitor new developments in their disciplines.