n South African Journal of Higher Education - The challenge of the social sciences : the impact of Sociology among first year students

Volume 21, Issue 5
  • ISSN : 1011-3487



Sociology invites transformations among first year students which go through at least three distinct levels. At the conceptual level, three basic concepts, debunking, relativizing and system-relating, challenge public opinion modes of thinking. But students in this course go beyond explicit course examples and perform these notions in a more implicit way. While these shifts are predominantly cognitive, there are, in addition, important psychodynamic currents which underlie them. So, relativizing and the ethnographic perspective (following Gadamer) lead from angry, pathologizing projection to tolerant, theorizing empathy, from monsters to forbearance. System-relating (following Jung) entails a diminution of an inflated ego, a move from grandiose hubris to humility. Debunking and critical theory (following Fanon) relate to the change from victimhood to effectuality, from self-negation and self-negativity to initiative and positive self-identity.

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