Preface and Editorial

  • Matt Badcock Leeds Beckett University


Sociology sets out to develop the sociological imagination of those who study it, allowing us to think critically and reflexively about the social world around us and make sense of the relationship between our personal experiences and wider society. This approach to interrogating the world is embodied in this collection of critical reflections written by students on the BA (Hons) Sociology degree here at Leeds Beckett University. The essays in this volume underline both the breadth of the subject and its power to shed light on the familiar and the taken for granted. They tackle a wide range of issues, including risk, surveillance, neoliberalism, the quantification of the self, the commodification of information, and consumption. The application of theory as an interrogative and explanatory tool in many of the chapters in this volume demonstrates the central role it plays Sociology.

This collection is a testament to both the students and staff of the Sociology degree. For the students, each of the reflections emphasises the knowledge and skills they have developed individually – in applying the tools of the social sciences to analyse and interpret current trends and developments and, just as importantly, communicating incisive, critical commentary; the end product is also a collective editorial effort. Each essay also underlines the strong commitment the course team have to developing students as active producers of knowledge and the support that they provide as part of this to enable them to develop their intellectual skills and abilities.

I hope that readers of these reflections enjoy the perspectives offered, and are themselves further challenged, encouraged or inspired to reflect on the contemporary social world.