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Areas of Specialization


SOC@VT is a comprehensive department that studies power and intersecting inequalities in the following areas. Click on each specialization area for more information, including potential careers and relevant Sociology department electives.

Crime, Law, and Deviance
Examines the processes involved in the social construction of laws and definitions of deviance, the violation of those definitions, the social reactions toward those violations, and the consequences that these processes have for individuals, families, and communities.

Culture, Knowledge, and Identities
Examines culture as a blueprint for and product of human values, beliefs and related behavior. Considers knowledge as it relates to power, agency, and adaptive change. Analyzes processes by which people identify themselves and others as belonging to collective groups; therefore, we recognize identity as fluid, negotiated, intersecting, and manifested through social interaction.

Data, Technology, and Digital Sociology
Examines the creation and impact of data, technology and digital change on human relationships, social structures, and the social self; including the ways that technologies and policies influence and mediate the creation, spread of, and access to information and misinformation.

Environment, Social Movements, and Work
Examines cross-cutting sociocultural, political-economic, and environmental issues such as community resilience and vulnerability; social movements; environmental, food, and climate justice; paid and unpaid labor; power and hegemony; globalization; sustainable development; hazards and disasters; governance and public policy, and organizational relationships.

Health, Community Well-Being, and Social Welfare
Examines the links between people, communities, public policy, and the welfare state, and how these are both shaped by inequalities and lead to divergent life outcomes. Special attention is paid to the social determinants of and disparities in physical and mental health; the provision of care and resources; families; education and school communities; and issues of social justice and community resilience.