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Imagine that you had been switched with another infant at birth. How different would your life be? What if your accidental family was very poor or very rich? How might this have affected the schools you attended, the health care you received, the possibilities for your future career? If you had been raised in a different religion, how would this have affected your beliefs, values, and attitudes? Taking a greater leap, what if you had been born another sex or a different race? What would you be like now?

Sociology ProfessorsWe are talking about changing the basic facts of your life—your family, social class, education, religion, sex, and race. Each has major consequences for who you are and how you will fare in life. These factors play a major part in writing your life script. Social location (meaning one's place in society) establishes the limits and possibilities of a life.

Consider this:

    Men who father children before marriage leave school earlier, have lower earnings, and are more likely to live in poverty than men who do not have children before marriage (Nock 1998).
    Black Americans who kill Whites are much more likely to face the death penalty than Blacks who kill other Black people (Paternoster 2003).
    Men who work in jobs traditionally defined as "women's work" behave in ways that emphasize their masculinity; doing so brings rewards since they tend to be promoted faster than similarly qualified women in the same occupations with the same education (Williams 1995).

These conclusions, drawn from current sociological research, describe some of the consequences of particular social locations in society. Although people may take their place in society for granted, social position has a profound effect on their lives. The power of sociology is that it teaches how society influences people's lives, and it helps to explain the consequences of different social arrangements.

Sociology also has the power to help us understand the influence of major changes on people. Currently, rapidly developing technologies, increasing globalization, a more diverse population in the United States, and changes in women's roles are affecting everyone in society, although in different ways. How are these changes affecting your life? Perhaps you rely on a cell phone to keep in touch with friends, or maybe your community is witnessing an increase in immigrants from other places, or maybe you see women and men trying hard to balance the needs of both work and family life. All of these are issues that guide sociological questions. Sociology explains some of the causes and consequences of these changes (Andersen and Taylor 2003).

If the aforementioned issues are of interest to you and you would like to consider enrolling in any of the sociology courses offered at Montgomery College, please call or e-mail the following individuals for more information:

Dr. Benedict Ngala at Germantown, (240) 567-1911 or
Professor Rachel Sullivan at Germantown, (240) 567- 7738 or
Dr. Charlotte Twombly at Rockville, (240) 567-5246 or
Professor Daniel Wilson at Rockville, (240) 567-7478 or
Dr. Daniel Santore at Rockville (240) 567-7401 or
Professor Tracie Witte at Rockville (240) 567-5429 or
Professor Shinta Hernandez at Rockville (240) 567-4783 or
Dr. Takiko-Mori-Saunders at Rockville (240) 567-7482 or
Prof. Vincent Clincy at Takoma Park/Silver Spring, (240) 567-1399 or
Dr. Bess Vincent at Takoma Park/Silver Spring, (240) 567-1397 or


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