The School of Sociology and Philosophy: About Us
The new School of Philosophy and Sociology at University College Cork combines the two disciplines in an especially fruitful way: balancing the tendency of philosophy toward abstraction and a focus on the individual against sociology’s concern with concrete issues, and amplifying sociology’s investigations of how social groups actually work with philosophical reflection about the discipline’s aims, methods and background assumptions.
The twenty members of the School’s academic staff cover a wide range of areas and styles of inquiry, including (in no special order): moral and political philosophy, sociology of globalization and development, philosophy of violence and war, political anthropology, sociology of religion and culture, philosophy of mind, social systems theory, environmental philosophies, phenomenology and hermeneutics, cognitive sociology, East-Asian philosophy, sociology of culture, (comparative) aesthetics, art and the city, gender studies, analytical epistemology, philosophy and sociology of the mass media, and the sociology of Ireland. The plurality of approaches allows creative synergies to emerge in both teaching and research, and at the same time it opens up ways of integrating questions of value into research methods, thereby developing ‘normative methodologies’ relevant to a number of fields of inquiry.
While Philosophy and Sociology continue to offer programmes of their own at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels, they also collaborate on an interdisciplinary MA and PhD programme that centres around issues concerning ‘the good society’ in a globalizing age. Students for the M.A. can choose one of three ‘streams’ of study: Globalization and Justice; Health, Civilization and Nature; or Knowledge, Understanding and Action. The programme’s treatment of globalization is distinguished not only by its interdisciplinary approach but also by its ability to entertain trans-European perspectives on relevant issues.
At the doctoral level, a variety of taught options is available from the above-mentioned postgraduate courses, while the theoretical, methodological and thematic strengths of the academic staff of both disciplines provides a wide spectrum of supervisory options for the research component, from historical to contemporary, theoretical to applied, and Western to East-Asian.