Sociological Imagination – that’s what the political class needs

One of the very paradoxes of the tuition fees and education cuts’ odyssey that has heated the political debate over the past few months lies in the way in which political leaders seem to be utterly shocked by the anger and uproar that their measures have generated throughout the public.

Following the sharp analysis of Les Back, such incomprehension is rooted in the filters that class privileges place on politicians’ ability to understand and make sense of the social world. Once empowered and invested with the privileges of their role, it seems, politicians develop a pronounced detachment from the social reality of the country. As a consequence, they become unable to face up with sober senses what they are doing, and what could be possibly wrong with it.

From this angle, the widening of the class divide, which is likely to become the new rationale of the UK education system, is both symptom and symbol of the inherent lack of socio-logical perspective within the political class. Recently, Sociology has been classified by Conservative and Liberal Democratic politicians as a ‘low cost’ discipline – however, one might wonder how much (social and political) value their own policies could actually gain if only a pinch of ‘sociological imagination’ was added to them…


Categories: Higher Education

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