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Sociology has long served as a foundation for informed social analysis, critique, and social policy development. Critical Sociology refers to the most innovative and dynamic aspects of the contemporary discipline and the term has been embraced in Canada, the United States, and Britain to refer to sociological work that is particularly intent on studying emergent social problems and the possibilities for progressive social change. The MA in Critical Sociology distinguishes itself from more traditional general MA programs by focussing on critical perspectives in sociological analysis. In particular, this approach in Sociology attends to the dramatic evidence of global and local conflict, inequality, and challenge that characterize much of the modern era.
The purpose of our program is to inform MA students of the latest developments in these intellectual discourses and to prepare them to advance theoretical analyses, methodological approaches, social research projects, and social policy initiatives. Drawing on existing strengths in the department, the emphasis in courses and faculty supervised graduate research will be on theory, methods, and empirical research that prioritize challenges to oppression, disenfranchisement, and social inequalities in social arrangements. This approach encompasses a variety of critical sociological frameworks including, for example, feminist trajectories in sociological thought, Marxist political economy, political ecology, critical race theory, post-colonial theory, post-structuralist and queer paradigms, critical criminology, animal rights work, environmentalism, and critiques of and alternatives to current economic arrangements. While students will be introduced to the classical and foundational texts in Critical Sociology, they will be encouraged to explore cutting edge theories, methodologies and empirical research. They will also examine a diverse range of sociological methodologies, in particular ethnographic research, interview and survey-based research methods, critical discourse analysis, and feminist methodologies. This theoretical and methodological foundation, coupled with exposure to diverse empirical concerns, will prepare students to develop sophisticated and rigorous approaches to critical sociological research and analysis.