Michigan State University

Collection Development Policy Statement: Sociology

Last Update July 2023 Carin Graves

Purpose or Scope of Collection

A. Curricular/Research/Programmatic Needs

Sociology is the scientific study of societies and human social behavior.  Much of sociological writing and research is interdisciplinary.  In particular, the disciplines of psychology, demography, science (including environmental studies), and medicine will be readily intertwined in sociological research.

The purpose of this collection is to support the identified curricular and research needs of the Department of Sociology at Michigan State University and secondarily to broadly support interdisciplinary endeavors in teaching and research that draw upon sociological thought—this specifically includes family studies instruction and research in the MSU Department of Human Development & Family Studies.  The sociology collection supports the curriculum at the undergraduate and graduate levels.  

The Department of Sociology is part of the College of Social Science and the interdisciplinary nature of sociology is indicated by departmental ties with the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Human Medicine, Osteopathic Medicine, and Education as well as faculty connections with research institutes and centers in area studies, international development, ethnic and regional studies, environmental science, gender studies, and food safety and environmental toxicology. Family studies programs in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies are also served by sociological resources in the area of family and gender. Affiliated programs and centers include the African Atlantic Research Team, Animal Studies, The Julian Samora Research Institute, Environmental Science and Policy Program, and the Consortium for Sexual and Gender Minority Health. The Sociology Department also includes the Family and Population Health Lab. 

The Department of Sociology focuses on three areas of research: 

  1. Environment. The study of human-environment interactions is a strong area of scholarship for sociology at MSU. This includes issues such as climate change, agriculture and food systems, animal studies (human-animal interactions), and water resources. Also of interest is the social psychology of environmental related public opinion. The study of how science and technology mediate the relationship between humans and the environment is another area of emphasis within this focus.
  2. Health and Medicine. Study of the social organization of health care and social context context of health, illness, and health care. This includes health related attitudes and behaviors, social epidemiology, and the demography of aging. Also focuses on political, economic, and environmental health threats and social forces impacting the health care system. Sociology of the body, doctor-patient communication, and food safety are a few other specific areas.
  3. Migration. Includes migration, transnationalism, and diaspora; the transference of ideologies, identities, social, economic, etc. traits and practices. Some particular areas of focus include the African Diaspora, demography, environment, gender, health, migrant entrepreneurship, integration, race and refugees.