The Importance of Motivation in the Concept of Sociology

Imagine living in a world where there is no domination… but where a vision of mutuality is the ethos shaping our interaction. Imagine living in a world where we can all be who we are, a world of peace and possibility.

-bell hooks, Feminism is for Everybody Throughout this course, my conception of sociology as a discipline has been challenged. In my initial essay on the meaning of sociology, I discussed the importance of using the sociological imagination to examine a web of social interaction.

I would like to amend my concept with the addition of a new component: motivation. While I previously had considered the act of thinking sociologically, I have since reflected on the reasons I believe this field of academia is necessary. My personal view of sociology, inspired by a value-laden approach and by a feminist perspective, claims that research questions should be shaped by passionate goals of the researcher in an attempt to change social injustices.

Within a social structure, individuals are pulled by invisible threads of social forces, while these forces simultaneously act on the structure as a whole.

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Sociology allows an increased understanding of these forces through epistemology; however, I have continued to reflect upon the purpose of sociological inquiry in general. Unlike other academic disciplines such as biology or physics, sociology does not examine tangible concepts, making it difficult to measure the successes of research conducted within the field. Why bother analyzing these social forces at all? This was the question that guided the development of my views of sociology on a personal level.

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I arrived at my conclusions following a specific discussion in this course: the major debate of objectivity versus subjectivity in sociology. Although I do not believe it possible to have entirely objective research, I would argue that work in sociology ought not to be based in finding an objective truth, if such a state were possible. Reliable research does demand an objective component, where one admits personal biases and attempts to avoid emotive influence in interpreting data. The essential subjectivity of sociology lies within the researcher’s motivations to study a specific area of society. A sociologist’s work must be inspired by passion that urges them to conduct their research. I believe there must be a larger purpose to this research: an attempt to increase knowledge of social patterns in order to improve the quality of life for individuals within society. From my view, this is a crucial component of the discipline.

My personal journey within sociology, rooted in personal goals for social change, has only recently begun. Until my junior year of college, I was a civil engineering student, appreciative of the objective nature of my learning and the tangibility of my work. However, my interest in this subject waned as I became more involved with activist work – specifically, my work with sexual violence prevention and response.

As a peer advocate at Lehigh University, my role involved facilitating presentations to groups of undergraduate students, which often included relaying relevant statistics. From these facts, I noticed the disproportionate rate of male perpetrators and female victims; I became alarmed at the enormous increase in a woman’s risk for sexual assault victimization when she is a student on a college campus. Thinking about the correlation between gender and sexual violence opened a door for me to examine the patriarchal nature of my milieu, both as a college student and as an American woman. This realization served as a springboard for other activist work in gender and sexuality issues, along with a desire to learn more information about the factors contributing to this inequality.

Following the development of my interest in gender and society, I changed my major to Women’s Studies, where I was able to explore these patterns further and develop a basis for my academic self. Today, I remain dedicated to violence prevention and have refined my area of interest, concerning adolescent masculinity and its connections to violent behavior.

Sociological methods allow me to examine this topic, yet my own motivation to conduct research is essential for my work to be meaningful. From my perspective, the end-goal of real social change – in my case, contributing to violence prevention efforts through sociological research – affirms sociology’s importance within academia.

With a value-laden approach in mind, I consider feminist theory to the subfield of sociology with which I most resonate. It emerged from the feminist movement, which aims to “end sexism, sexist exploitation, and oppression” (hooks 2000). Feminist theorists are guided by the goal of eradicating gender-based oppression, which attaches a purpose to their work.

Because they seek to change the social structure to eliminate inequality, the subjective nature of sociology is justified. I believe this type of motivation for sociological research is essential in order for the work within the field to be meaningful.

Exploring the idea of objectivity and subjectivity within sociology has furthered by understanding of the role sociology plays in my own life. As a student at the beginning of my sociological career, I have a better understanding of the subject both as a method and as a reason. Sociology will allow me to make a difference my own area of interest, as I work to prevent violent crime. I hope that my future examinations of masculinity through sociological research will afford me the opportunity to make real and positive improvements in the lives of individuals in society.

Works Cited hooks, bell. 2000. Feminism is for Everybody: Passionate Politics. London: Pluto Press.


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The Importance of Motivation in the Concept of Sociology. (2022, Apr 09). Retrieved from

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