Sociology’s image problem, part 348



Guess which discipline is missing ...

by Fabio Rojas

I recently visited the Exploratorium, the children’s “hands on” museum in San Francisco. I had a really wonderful experience. One of the most exciting things about the museum is that it actually has a whole section just on social and behavioral science. Kids can play prisoner dilemma games, a clever experiment about frames and disgust, and there is a fun exhibit on social networks. A+ experience.

The one disappointing aspect of the social science section is that it gives credit to all manner of social scientists… except sociology, even when the material is sociological in nature. The picture above mentions the funder and describes the science. If you are wondering what the sociological content is, it is at least these two exhibits: (a) a large display of global social networks and (b) a clever framing experiment.

Basically, this is another piece of evidence that the public simply doesn’t understand that sociology is the scientific study of groups. They think it is something else, probably inequality studies. We have to keep pushing to make our image fit our discipline.

Fabio Rojas is associate professor of sociology at Indiana University and a founding blogger at


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