Learn all about how Applied Worldwide came to fruition!
In early 2000, late sociologist Jay Weinstein wrote a commentary in Contemporary Sociology about recent conversations at the annual American Sociological Association (ASA) meetings about the state of sociology. He took concern with the fact that most participants were focused on how their research could reach the often-unreachable policy-maker. His concern for this approach to making sociology meaningful is due to what he saw as a “a top-down, elitist attitude. For it assumes that the academic branch of the discipline, and especially the most privileged individuals within that branch, are uniquely entitled to define what is ‘useful’ sociology and to lead in its pursuits.”
Weinstein was advocating for a sociology for and by the people—a sociology that takes knowledge “outside of academic circles, bringing the fruits of the sociological imagination to society and its members.” This type of sociology would be well-known, useful, broad-reaching, and—most importantly—it would count.
The seeds for Applied Worldwide were planted in August of 2015 when we—co-founders Stephanie Wilson and Luke Hanna—attended the annual ASA meetings together in Chicago, IL. In the early stages, we merely dreamed of a way to “change the game” of sociology; to use our knowledge to bring positive change to communities around the world; to make sociology count. Little did we know, only four short years later we would start to make that dream a reality by formally creating Applied Worldwide. Now, six plus years after our initial conversations about “changing the game,” we have established our own path to make sociology count in the best ways we know how: through learning, exploring, and teaching.
At Applied Worldwide we believe in a Dynamic Sociology—as defined by Lester F. Ward—where sociological knowledge is both produced and applied to enact positive changes in communities across the globe. We understand a lot of good sociology goes unnoticed. Students spend months on term papers, only to place them permanently in archived folders. Works deemed “not theoretical enough” may go unpublished. “Side-projects” in local communities may not appear scientific enough to distribute. Sociological practitioners have limited outlets for projects, and worst of all, there are virtually no platforms for the public to engage with sociology.
We believe that everyone’s experience matters. We all make observations and develop our own theoretical understandings of society. Sociology provides a system by which we can make sense of our everyday experiences. It is a tool that the public should have access to and be able to help shape.
Our mission is to build a bridge between the discipline of sociology and everyday life to improve the well-being of society. We aim to provide educational resources that allow people, with or without sociological training, to experience their life through a sociological perspective. The sociological perspective is a powerful tool that can help transform communities, organizations, and societies into efficient, effective, and equitable spaces; and we use our sociological perspective in tandem with our skills as researchers and educators to work with organizations and academic departments and programs to help them adapt and overcome in our changing society.