Shaneka Knight ‘Sociology can be too exclusive’
Growing up in London City, Shaneka Knight has seen gentrification take a grip on the city. Her experiences as a child in the Barbican are as she says ‘what set off her Sociological Imagination’ and set her on the path of social activism.
In this interview we talk to Shaneka about theexclusivity surrounding the research in the discipline and what this means for the future of Sociology.
Shaneka, tell us about your background?
I grew up in London before going on to study Sociology at Loughborough University. Since graduating I’ve been working mostly with NGO’s attempting to align my work with my morals as best as possible.
And that’s where The Sociological Mail comes in?
Exactly, in my final year at Loughborough University I had a few lectures surrounding public sociology. That’s when it struck me that much of the theory within the discipline is only known by a select few so a sort of exclusivity can surround Sociology as a whole. This seems completely at odds with a subject which is seeking to make society better. Sociology would do better as a whole, if the academics, students, and hobbyists didn’t constantly fall into the pit stop of keeping all the results of their research to themselves and the few who can afford journal subscriptions.
I was worried that even as a Sociology graduate I would fall out of the Sociology loop. So I created The Sociological Mail hoping it would be the Sociological alternative to Psychologys, Psychology Today.
That’s a big gap to fill, why not leave it to mainstream publishers?
It’s a huge gap to fill and luckily I have had some help and support along the way. The Sociological Mail is different to other mainstream publishers because we have no false pretense of grandeur to maintaine. We have a few aims, the most obvious being to push sociological information and so far we are doing just that. My only problem would just be that the subject is so broad, I will be doing the same things from now next year.
Not to mention the bureacracy surrounding mainstream media means most academics would struggle to get published.
Why is it taking so long?
For Sociologists to come together properly? I don’t know, maybe we are too busy.
Have you learnt anything from Sociology’s past?
We have always had to push our ideads hard to be noticed, from the exiled Karl Mar to the protests pushed by Dr King. Public Sociology is fantastic at making a change. The ideas are so valuable and thought provoking that people very often cannot help take notice.
What about taking Sociology where it can be best used?
No doubt there are Sociologists already doing that, I am myself. The Sociological Mail is. We have facilitated some sessions, residential and half day for a number of small European NGOs and some international organisations. We don’t even know what we are other than a Sociology information disseminating machine. I guess we will just continue pushing Sociology.
Shaneka, it sounds amazing. Best of luck!
Shaneka Knight is the Online Editor of The Sociological Mail a consortium dedicated to pushing Sociological information to the world.