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Values and norms of the sociological profession on the websites of faculties and departments

L. Okolskaya, Candidate of Sociology senior researcher, ,
mailto: okoli@yandex.ru
Values and norms of the sociological profession on the websites of faculties and departments.
Vestnik instituta sotziologii. 2010. Vol. 1. No. 1. P. 296-327

This Article is downloaded: 643 times
Topic: Education in Russia

For citation:
L. Okolskaya. Values and norms of the sociological profession on the websites of faculties and departments. Vestnik instituta sotziologii. 2010. Vol. 1. No. 1. P. 296-327


The article analyzes welcoming addresses to applicants and students interested in sociology, sourced from the websites of 111 Russian higher education institutions. We consider these addresses to be a representational fragment of the professional discourse of academic sociology. As an empiric base for our study, we have used the websites of Russian higher education institutions, listed in the publicly accessible catalog on the Russian Education (www.edu.ru) federal portal. The portal data has allowed us to subject sociology admissions in 2009 to a qualitative evaluation, as well as collect information on higher education institutions and departments of sociology elsewhere. We have analyzed how the faculty sees the mission of sociology as a theoretical discipline and as a job field, as well as the professional values and norms of sociology, and the areas where an education in sociology may be applied. We have singled out the values that are typical of the professional community of sociologists, both oriented at a mass audience and otherwise. Our study allows us to gain an understanding of the value set in academic sociology, which presents a major segment of the professional community. Education discourse that is aimed at a mass audience offers applicants and students a set of career goals that imply branching out from their chosen field. The effort and sacrifice that such branching-out requires, however, is almost always glossed over. For example, the study process is presented as having fun and enjoying the company of happy peers. Another feature of mass-oriented discourse is that is does not inform the applicants of the norms that will be governing their work as professionals. Discourse that is not oriented at mass audiences does formulate a list of values and restrictive norms, sometimes as a whole rulebook for a future professional sociologist. These values include being responsible and invested in searching for the truth and obtaining valid and objective research results, as well as being honest, fair, and unbiased. Applicants are shown some conflict models, which set examples of open criticism and civic courage. Non-mass-oriented discourse is characterized by a heightened sense of sociology’s importance for society and by taking pride in becoming a sociologist. Such discourse is, without a doubt, a far more efficient way of helping new students adapt and embrace the identity of a sociologist.


higher education, sociological education, professional values, professional ethics, professional community, socialization, youth, discourse-analysis, hidden curiculum.


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