Dr. Robert Pettit

The First Wisdom of sociology is this: things are not what they seem.

Peter Berger

industrialization and urbanization.  That is all ye know, and all ye need to know.

Sociology

Sociology, and the future of Diversity and Inclusion

Previous generations of D&I doers have been battling rapidly changing laws and policies in order to stay on top of affirmative action mandates.  There is an upcoming change in the guiding philosophies of D&I efforts.  Institutions are taking the next step beyond fair representation, and truly utilizing the differences in experiences and perspectives of their employees, otherwise known as intersectionality, to overcome institutional challenges.

Intersectionality refers to the multiple statuses and social categories that a given person belongs to collectively, in other words, all the pieces that make up the whole. It brings with it an increased understanding that each person's story is unique; For instance, no two people experience their race, gender, family, social class, religion, sexual orientation, and the multitude of other statuses in the exact same way. Intersectionality helps the future of D&I by accounting for diversity of experiences and invisible diversities.

Sociology is a major contributor to the new philosophy.  Not only does sociology provide the theories that build intersectional research, it also teaches three main competencies at its core:

  • ​Research.  Sociology teaches good research practices.  D&I requires constant research in order to stay up-to-date on the constantly changing diverse world.  Not only is research an important tool for understanding new needs in the field, but it is also a powerful tool in assessing current programs and initiatives to see what is working and what needs improved.
  • Advocacy.  Sociology teaches compassion and understanding of diversity through theories like symbolic interaction, which understands meaning, values, and beliefs as attributes to unique cultures.  Being an advocate of a diverse world is a part of a sociologist's mission.
  • Education.  Sociology teaches andragogy.  In order for a sociologist to convey the importance of diversity and inclusion to others, sociologists must be able to teach efficiently and effectively through programming, trainings, and in the classroom.