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Socjourn Demystifies Sociology

Abstract

The Socjourn was recently featured in the publication Open AU. I'm reposting the article here but if you want to see the original article, visit this link. As a side note, the statistics they report are a bit off. In January of 2012 the Socjourn received close to five million webserver hits, not one million as I originally suggested. Not bad for a discipline that has been, up to now, confined to the dank basements of academic inquiry.

Dr. Michael Sosteric

Department of Sociology Athabasca University

Dr. Mike Sosteric believes that it’s time to bring sociology out of the ivory tower — and he is doing so through a new media journal called The Socjournal, which is attracting a million hits [editor’s correction, that’s close to five million hits in January 2012) a month.

Sosteric is an assistant professor of sociology in Athabasca University’s Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences. A couple years ago, he became frustrated with traditional modes of academic communication such as scholarly journals and academic conferences.

“I felt it just created bulkheads between professors and the real world,” he said. “This is a particular problem in sociology where there are no journals designed to raise awareness of sociological research and discussions.”

Sosteric wanted to do something that would create a broader awareness of sociology and its contribution to society as a whole. He also wanted to invigorate the sociology program at AU.

The Socjournal, founded in 2010, functions “by providing content interesting to students, in a language students can understand, in ways students can relate to, in forms easily accessible to them,” he says.

With a million hits a month, The Socjournal is proving extremely popular. The readership is made up mostly of students but also includes some professors. In addition to those in humanities and social sciences, there are also readers from fields such as the natural sciences, agriculture, law, business and the military.

Content includes articles contributed by students and faculty members from both AU and other institutions. Sosteric also posts student papers from his advanced sociology courses that he thinks might be of interest to Socjournal readers.

“I turn down a lot of material written by academics,” he says, “because it is in traditional form (e.g., scholarly paper, etc.). We are not a peer-reviewed journal, and some academics have a hard time seeing past the publication blinders they wear.”

Since The Socjournal first appeared, registration in AU’s Sociology 287: Introduction to Sociology I has increased by 30 per cent, Sosteric says. While he acknowledges that other factors are contributing to the increase, he says, “I suspect a large part of the increase is a result of the efforts I’ve taken with The Socjournal to point potential students toward our sociology program.”

About Dr. Michael Sosteric

I'm a sociologist at Athabasca University where I coordinate,amongst other things, the introductory sociology courses (Sociology I and Sociology II). FYI I did my dissertation in the political economy of scholarly communication (you can read it if you want). It's not that bad.My current interests lie in the area of scholarly communication and pedagogy, the sociology of spirituality and religion, consciousness research, entheogens, inequality and stratification, and the revolutionary potential of authentic spirituality.The Socjourn is my pet project. It started as the Electronic Journal of Sociology but after watching our social elites systematically dismantle the potential of eJournals to alter the politics and economies of scholarly communication, I decided I'd try something a little different. That something is The Socjourn, a initiative that bends the rules of scholarly communication and pedagogy by disregarding academic ego and smashing down the walls that divide our little Ivory Tower world from the rest of humanity.If you are a sociologist or a sociology student and you have a burning desire to engage in a little institutional demolition by perhaps writing for the Socjourn, contact me. If you are a graduate student and you have some ideas that you think I might find interesting, contact me. I supervise graduate students through Athabasca Universities MAIS program.
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