The Department of Sociology and Industrial Sociology aspires to excellence in teaching and social research and the fostering of a critical engagement with society. The Department is committed to the provision of programmes which are at the cutting edge of social theory, research and policy formulation. It strives to combine high standards with the popular relevance of our courses and welcomes the diverse backgrounds of our students. The Department is committed to the personal and academic development of all staff members and aims to ensure that its demographic profile is representative of South African society. We further encourage and support all efforts to communicate the findings of our academic activities. The Department endeavours to provide students with a broad array of analytical and research skills in order to afford them competence across a range of occupations.
In accordance with the mission statement, the following constitute key areas of focus for the department:
Different types of sociology
Sociologists may specialise in urban cultures, youths, different neighbourhoods, old age, rock music, Rastas, and so on.
Others are interested in industrial issues such as labour relations, personnel, trade unions, management strategies, public relations. In fact, anything to do with the workplace.
Still others may specialise in rural sociology, the position of women in society, the environment, development, the family, the state, deviance, inequality, class, revolution, conflict management,race relations - as long as it involves social interaction of some sort.
Careers for sociologists
At Rhodes University students do a core year of general sociology and then specialise at second year, choosing either sociology or industrial sociology.
SOCIOLOGY, which specialises in social theory, method, social research, and selected topics of general sociological interest (women, family, state, religion, rural issues, etc.) provides the graduate with a wide choice of careers. Any job that requires an understanding of people and social behaviour will be on interest. Public relations, journalism, social work, community development, personnel, law, management, social research, politics, education, advertising, market research, social and economic development, the diplomatic corps, health policy, housing, recreation, public administration, are but a few examples.
INDUSTRIAL SOCIOLOGY, which specialises in issues pertaining to the workplace (industrial relations, management strategies, trade unions, industrial research, etc.) prepares the student for a career in industry. A wide variety of jobs are possible, including management related ones (personnel, labour relations, public negotiations, coordination). Another area that is becoming increasingly popular with industrial sociology graduates is industrial conflict mediation and consultancy.
It is worth noting that many large corporations and multinationals favour social science graduates for management training, as they are regarded as having the appropriate characteristics for a leadership role: flexibility, an in-depth understanding of human behaviour, and the ability to innovate.