Social Design, Social Practice & Social Change: Re-Visioning Applied Sociology

By Francis Adu-Febiri and Jacqueline M. Quinless.

Published by The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Organizational Studies

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published Online: May 23, 2016 $US5.00

The promise of sociology lies in the very notion of the “sociological imagination” envisioning that the discipline can effect social change on micro and macro levels of society for a greater good. Indeed, the evidence of such changes occurring at these levels is clear when considering the establishment of applied sociology in the areas of social work, criminology, social psychology, and development studies, all of which have positively impacted the lives of many people at the micro level. These dimensions of applied sociology have done good things for some individuals but we question the extent to which any difference is made in the quality of life for the majority and for the ecosystems to which we inhabit. Unlike the original orientation of applied sociology these dimensions morph into clinical sociology and tend to separate from academic sociology become reactive prescriptions to social problems at the interface of science, technology, political economy, and culture. It is our position in this paper that applied sociology should transform social interaction and relationships at the interface in order to create macro social change. Our thinking is that applied sociology within a social design context is structurally transformative. It is transformative because it places an emphasis on the actor’s role and responsibility in society, and provides insight into the use of the design process to harness social interaction/relationships, subsequently enhancing our common human and ecosystems.. This orientation of social design gives it the capacity to sustain the sociological imagination and make a sustainable difference in the environment, governance, business, finance and banking, communication, communities, education, city/town planning, anti-terrorism strategies, criminal justice practices, violence management/prevention, poverty alleviation, infrastructural development, employment, globalization, etc. From this perspective, creating social design processes and programs as an expression of the sociological imagination are of important value and support to applied sociology and have far reaching implications for all areas of society and ecosystems.

Keywords: Applied Sociology, Clinical Sociology, Social Design, Social Change, Sociological Imagination, Transformation

The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Organizational Studies, Volume 11, Issue 2, June 2016, pp.15-26. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published Online: May 23, 2016 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 867.867KB)).

Dr. Francis Adu-Febiri

Professor, Department of Social Sciences, Camosun College, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

Jacqueline M. Quinless

Ph.D Candidate, Department of Sociology, University of Victoria, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada