Soc22n: The Roots of Social Movements (3)

Overall, Soc22 was interesting at times, but fairly basic.  It went over the sociological study of social movements – basically, reaffirming intuition about social movements and using a lot of jargon to do so – and applied that to different social movements. 

I came to the realization that undergraduate majors are divided in a very problematic way.  On the hard sciences side, there is both theory/research and practice.  You can go into math and learn about different algorithms or prove theorems, or you can go into computer science and create something using those algorithms.  You can go into chemistry and research the properties of different elements and compounds, or you can go into chemical engineering and make medicine out of those chemicals. 

Getting an undergraduate degree in the social sciences, though, there is only the research track.  There is very little applied social sciences.  That is, you can research social movements, politics, or the media, but there is no major for the applied side of those skills.  To get training in advocacy, social movement organizing, social entrepreneurship, education, journalism, or other ways of applying the skills in the social sciences to help people, you have to go outside of undergraduate study.  Like law school, business school, education school, volunteering, tutoring, or otherwise gaining experience with little previous training in the applied social science.

Maybe this means that, rather than trying to be a double major in computer science and a social science, I’ll just major in computer science and take classes from the law, business, and education schools.  Or I could try out the history major.

The final was a 12 page paper about the social movement of my choice.  I wrote about the Open Source Software / Open Culture movement (see Larry Lessig’s book “Remix Culture” if you’re interested in learning more about it).  I ended up with an A-.  Given that I had a moderate fever when writing my final.  More on that later.

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Experience Date: 
Saturday, June 20, 2009