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About Us

Sociology at Calvin

At Calvin, we take a good look at things—all things, in fact. In the Sociology Department, we take a good look at people and the groups they form. And with classes like "Death, Dying and Bereavement," "Sociology of Deviance" and "Diversity and Inequality," we aren't afraid to look into some of the darker corners of the human experience.

A simple question—a complex answer

The real question is, why do we study these things at Calvin? The answer is simple and complex all at once. We believe that God created all things good, including human beings and the relationships they form. But sin entered the world through human beings, bringing tension and disorder into these social relationships.

That isn't the end of the story.

God doesn't allow this social disorder to prevail—He allowed his Son, Jesus Christ, to be a sacrifice for the sake of human disobedience, thus offering the hope of ongoing renewal in creation.

Discovering ways to heal and renew social relationships

And so here we are, living in a fallen world where we see suffering and injustice in society, in intergroup relationships and in ourselves. We study sociology to better understand human relationships and the way in which sin affects them. But we don't stop there.

As we learn, we also dream up creative ideas for how to answer the pressings needs of our society. Through classes, off-campus study programs, internships and events like the Faith and International Development conference, we discover ways in which God is calling us to be agents of renewal—working for social change here in the United States and in all the world.

What is sociology?

Sociology is the study of the social part of us, the pattern of interaction with other people that is necessary to our very existence. It has also been described as:

  • the scientific study of human group behavior.
  • the application of scientific methods of inquiry to the puzzles of social life.

Sociological research can give us a clearer picture of what happens in society when different groups of people interact with one another. This can also help us see both the causes and possible remedies for our social problems.