Year 13 Sociology students enjoyed a really fruitful visit to the University of Sussex. After a quick pit stop for drinks and snacks, the day started with a talk by an ex-student giving introduction to student life. We learnt about the ‘dos and don’ts’ of writing UCAS personal statements, the myriad of societies on offer, degree types, scholarships, accommodation and much, much more.
Dr. Paul McGuinness then delivered a really interesting lecture examining the differences between classic and positivist approaches to criminology. For example, we learnt about the enlightenment period and the influence of social contract theory upon neo-liberalism. The lecture was not ‘dumbed down’ at all for our students and whilst some found the language and style quite daunting and very different to A-level lessons, it gave them a valuable insight into the teaching at universities. Moreover, much of the lecture content is directly applicable to the A-level specification so the lecture should give our students a real advantage when they are trying to access the higher grades.
After a tour of the campus and canteen lunch, students attended their second lecture of the day with Dr. Jamie Barnes who deconstructed culture and gender by applying some of the key arguments of Marcel Mauss, Pierre Bourdieu and Iris Marion Young to help challenge conventional thinking about these social factors. The highlight of the lecture was when Dr Barnes asked the students and teachers to model gendered behaviour, whilst slightly embarrassing, it was a fun way to help emphasise how gender is ‘embodied’ and whilst our behaviour appears natural, it is far from it.