I teach my classes in the building that houses the Department of Anthropology and Sociology at Western. Every day as I walk to class I pass by the deparmental office.
A couple of days ago, I noticed that one of the glass display cases outside the departmental office had a sign on top that read “Sociology is about equality.” Inside the glass case was a copy of the Declaration of Independence, along with other material, no doubt related to either Sociology or equality (I simply don’t remember at the moment).
Now correct me if I’m wrong, but I thought Sociology was about people and the groups they belong to. Sure, equality might be factored in as a characteristic of social groups (or lack thereof), but can you really say that “Sociology is about equality”?
It reminds me of when my Dad used to complain about the motto of the Strategic Air Command: “Peace is our Profession.” Dad would say,”Peace might well be their goal, but SAC’s profession is war.”
That’s the problem with these pithy sayings. In both cases (SAC and the sociologists), they’re trying to wrap up something more complex in four short words. In SAC’s case, I understand where they were coming from (as it happens, my first Air Force assignment was in a SAC unit).
In the case of our sociologists, I can only imagine. I suspect it’s related to desired dispositions of students. Given that equality can mean different things to different people (think Affirmative Action, for example), I’m not exactly encouraged