Sociology student Amy picks out her top books and resources for those starting out on the course.
Sociology is a hugely broad subject – you can research anything from class and gender, to crime, globalisation and much more!
This means there are a lot of resources out there for us students to get through, and here I have put together a shortlist of some of my favourite books and online resources.
1. Sociology by Anthony Giddens and Philip W. Sutton (9th edition, 2021)
This big textbook is a definite must if you are studying Sociology at university. It includes pretty much every topic you could cover, including essential background reading for both lectures and your own interests.
Though I do not use this book necessarily when referencing, as it is preferable to reference directly from theorists' own texts, it has provided me with valuable knowledge over the years.
2. The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx (1848)
Originally published in 1848, The Communist Manifesto is a favourite read among Sociology students – especially those who enjoy researching Marxism.
I personally brought the 2015 reprint, which I found on Amazon, but there are more recent versions available.
3. Discover Society website
Discover Society is helpful site where you can find articles on countless topics in the social sciences. Not only is this helpful for background reading, but if there is a topic that sparks your interest, this could provide valuable ideas for your major project in Year 3.
There are even some articles written on this site by ARU lecturers about their own research!
4. Thinking Allowed podcast
Thinking Allowed is a weekly podcast which covers new research on how our society works. This resource is one of my favourites, as there is such a broad range of topics covered across the series, and it’s a different way of learning.
Reading is helpful and a huge part of the sociology degree, but sometimes when you want a break from reading journals and books, these podcasts are fantastic!
I’ve found even just listening to them when I’m cooking or tidying in the background is a good way to absorb knowledge without feeling like I'm doing tons of work.
5. The real world!
Finally, the one place you can always find sociological research is in, well, society! Even just walking around can inspire discussions - looking at adverts could spark conversations about feminism, or looking at technology could spark research into globalisation.
The world out there is full of sociology, and if there is something that interests you, don’t hide it away, let the ARU lecturers know, as you never know the sociological conversations you may have!
Amy studies Sociology at ARU in Cambridge. Find out more about this and other degree courses at one of our Open Days.