Laurie Taylor column

June 4, 2004

"In the shopping mall that is the modern university, the chances that any two students have significant intellectual experience in common are much reduced" - Barry Schwartz, author of The Paradox of Choice: Why More is Less, THES , May 28.

Finished your exams?

Yes. Knocked off the last three this week. Globalisation and Social Psychology on Monday, Sociology of Sport on Tuesday, and then Comparative Religion yesterday. How about you?

I've got Imperialism this afternoon and then the Sociology of Science on Monday morning.

I thought of doing Imperialism in the second year. Any good?

Not bad. But I only did it because I needed another one-term option to top up my Sociology of Deviance and my Social Stratification.

Social Stratification? Somebody said that was nearly as full of figures as Research Methods.

Only on the two-term course. You could opt for the one-term No Figures Social Stratification.

That sounds better. I got accidentally lumbered with a load of figures on my Major Theorist course.

Who did you go for? Marx? Weber? Durkheim? Giddens?

I went for Durkheim because Marx clashed with my Ethnicity. But there were loads of statistics about suicide. Who did you do?

I did Foucault. And then a term of Marx because someone said it was exactly the same as Alienation, which I'd done in the first year.

Early or Late Marx?

Early. I couldn't do Late because it clashed with Gender Studies.

Ah, well. All over now.

It's funny, isn't it? Only three years ago we had no real idea about sociology. It was nothing more than a set of chapter headings. And now look at us! Barring accidents, we're both fully fledged sociologists.

Who'd have thought it?

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