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Photography Competition 2017

2017 Photo Competition Prize Awarded

Photo Competition: What is Sociology?


Earlier this year the Department of Sociology launched a new Photo Competition aimed at A Level and GCSE students. The theme of this year’s competition was ‘What is Sociology?’ and entrants were invited to send in photos and an explanatory caption that considered this question.

We were delighted by the response to the competition and received a number of very high quality images, with most entries also having a very thoughtfully reasoned caption.

It is therefore with great pleasure that we are able to announce that the 2017 winner of the Department of Sociology Photo Competition prize is Aisha Peerbaccus from Brynteg School, Bridgend. The judges were unanimous in choosing Aisha’s image: ‘How can something as simple as tea be related to Sociology?’ and were impressed by the image’s aesthetic merits and the thoughtful and interesting caption that accompanied it. Congratulations to Aisha, who receives a prize of £250 for herself and £250 for her school! We will also be inviting Aisha and a teacher to visit us here at Cambridge.

The judges were also keen to give a special commendation to Kieren Mitchell and Sian Leary, both from the Joseph Rowntree School, York. Their photos and captions both covered key concepts in Sociology and were also considered to be of a very high quality.

We will be running the competition again next year, so watch this space for news of the 2018 competition question and deadline!


Aisha Peerbaccus winning image.jpg

How can something as simple as tea be related to sociology? I'll tell you how. 

This image can help explain the difference between the upper and lower class, the upper class (china cup) being the minority but powerful group of society and the lower class (sports direct cup) being the majority but powerless group of society. 

 Tea is also a social ritual and helps individuals express their "Britishness". For example individuals from the upper class can present their "Britishness" by going to afternoon tea, however individuals of the lower class may just go to their local cafe or have tea in the comfort of their own home by having a "brew". But these classes make this their ritual just express it in different ways. Also this could be a stereotypical generalisation that we may never know unless we have experienced it. 

It always makes an appearance during disasters all around the world such as natural and war disasters. This shows that everyone turns to tea to bring people together and to bring comfort in helpless situations. 

Tea is also seen as a drug many people say they can't "function" without tea, but what does this really mean? They are addicted to it and that they can't live without it. 

Tea provides social and economic relationships to society by bringing people together and helping people financially. This is because it provides people with jobs in cafes to make tea allowing these workers to socialise with these customers. Also different brands in shops provide society with financial gain as individuals can make it in their own environment resulting in a beneficial economical and social society. 

Therefore, branding of tea can help explain globalisation as individuals only buy the brand that they know others buy because it "tastes" the best.

Aisha Peerbaccus, Brynteg School


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The Department of Sociology at the University of Cambridge is a world-leading centre for teaching and research in Sociology, consistently ranked first in UK league tables by The Guardian, The Times, and the Independent.


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