Sociology is a social scientific discipline that emerged with the rise of industrial societies after 1800. Its purpose was, and still remains, to provide theoretical paradigms and perspectives in order to make comprehensible and cogent the enormous and increasing complexity of modern societies. In an age of globalisation the tools for such an understanding become ever more pressing as national and international challenges effectively begin to merge and compound local dislocations. Developing societies such as Namibia in particular, require sociological investigation in the face of problems of persistent socio-economic inequality, uneven development, large-scale migration and urbanisation, and the impact of cultural transformations of the formerly 'traditional' society.
The four-year Bachelor of Arts in Sociology (Honours) provides the students with the theoretical and empirical means to make comprehensible the structures and processes of a changing Namibian society and the global contexts in which it finds itself. The programme will help students develop the knowledge, skills and critical understanding of the various challenges faced by society, as well as developing policy frameworks to address these, for the purpose of effective social solutions. The First Year of the Sociology programme grounds the student in the basics of the discipline of Sociology, providing introductory theory, cases and a strong emphasis on social research approaches. Years Two and Three build on this through higher-level courses in theory and research methodologies, while at the same time applying these to the areas of social development, health, social problems, environment, demography and studies of the Namibian society. Year Four is at an advanced level of specialised study where students engage in seminar-style interactive learning in areas such as work and industry, gender, advanced Namibian studies, rural studies, health and development. Here, as a conclusion to their studies, the students undertake a practical original fieldwork research project for the purposes of direct empirical experience, and potentially as preparation for later Masters and Doctoral studies.
Sociology has a potential for good career opportunities after graduation, providing employment inroads into government and the private sector including non-governmental organisations (NGOs). Sociology graduates become researchers and managers in bodies such as gender organisations and departments, in developmental, economic, health and cultural organisations. Some of our students have gone on to work for international organisations such as the United Nations, and to further their studies, and to teach, in Western universities. The Sociology programme therefore seeks to provide skilled and motivated social researchers, for which there tends to be a critical shortage in Namibian society. The production of sociologists will contribute to the social development of the country.