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MY JOURNEY THROUGH SOCIOLOGY
My experience these days of sociology, as a formal discipline, as just about entirely on the Internet. Occasionally I dabble, for I am retired now and I have made of dabbling an art-form; I dabble in this rich and variegated academic field which nearly fifty years ago I had just entered in the last year of my teenage life. I remember well that first year of the formal study of sociology; it was a year which ended in early May of 1964, just before I got a job checking telephone poles for internal decay with the Bell Telephone Company of Canada.
In about February or, perhaps, March, a tutor joined the sociology staff. He was able to explain the mysteries of the sociological theorist Talcott Parsons better than anyone. And at the time, Parsons occupied a position in the empyrean of sociological godheads. It was an empyrean at the very centre of that introductory course in sociology. If one wanted to pass that course in sociology one had to have a basic understanding of Parsons. That was no easy task.
Everyone admired this tutor as if he was some brilliant theologian who had just arrived from the Vatican with authoritative pronouncements for us all to write down on our A-4 note paper to be regurgitated on the inevitable April examination. He was an Englishman, if I remember, rather slim and a good talker. And Parsons, for all of us, was about as intricate and complex, as elusive and variable, as you could get and still stay in the same language and on the same earthly plane. I was able to pass sociology that year by the skin of my teeth.