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Department of Sociology

 

The Department of Sociology is delighted to announce the results of this year’s Photography competition, which bore the theme "Sociology in Everyday Life". This year we received entries not just from across the UK but also from as far afield as India! The Department would like to thank all of the students that took part in the competition as well as the teachers for their support. We were delighted to see such a broad range of entries and hope that all involved enjoyed the challenge to think sociologically! If you’re in Y12 and thinking about studying Sociology at University, be sure to come along to one of our Open Days.

Shortlist:

“Proverbs 15:3” (Giselle Lawrence, Christ’s Hospital)

Giselle’s striking image of CCTV cameras looking down from on high supported a fantastic application of the sociological concept of the “Panopticon” to everyday life, with a link to both religious and post-religious worlds.

 

“Samma” (Saiesha Gupta, Benenden School)

Saisha’s image beautifully captures a moment of social interaction between two young Buddhist monks, and the accompanying text spoke thoughtfully about the role of religion and religious practice in shaping everyday life.

 

Winner:

“The Whole Package” (Hannah Seal, Hornsea School)

This photo represents how the media is labelling us because of the choices we make and the actions we implement. These labels are affecting the way we see ourselves and the way we perceive our bodies. This has caused several types of eating disorders (especially within teens) because it is shaping an idealistic and unrealistic image of acceptable standards in society which many people are beginning believe is perfection. Consequently they are aspiring to meet these standards but are unable to. The need to meet these standards comes from the desire to become 'the whole package' - HS.

The judges were unanimously impressed by the powerful imagery used in Hannah’s piece, which illustrates the way in which nutritional labels affect “the way we see ourselves and the way we perceive our bodies”. The use of projection was both innovative and original, and evokes the sociological notion of how the world is perceived through different lenses. The projection of numbers specifically also speaks to the quantification of the self, which is a big trend in sociological research on tracking and data collection devices and apps such as Fitbits. Hannah’s representation of how a body can be seen reductively through statistics such as calories is both a carefully considered and highly impactful commentary on eating disorders such as body dysmorphia and anorexia, which affect many young people* and have a huge impact on everyday life. Hannah mentions the pressures exacerbated by social media and the media more widely to meet “unrealistic” standards which nevertheless people “believe is perfection”.

The judges were particularly impressed by the attention to the theme “Sociology in Everyday Life”. The Nutritional Information label itself is a ubiquitous everyday object, adorning every food item that you can find in a supermarket. The inclusion of a mirror also evokes the routines of daily life, such as getting ready for school or work, but the combination of the mirror with the label speak to the way that habits can become controlling and even come to define what is experienced. Ultimately it was the way in which Hannah renders the sociological gaze visible in an excellent interpretation of the theme that earned her the prize of £250 and a personal tour around the University of Cambridge, as well as £250 for Hornsea School. Well done Hannah!

 

We will be running the competition again next year, you can sign up to our mailing list to receive alerts for the 2020 theme and deadline! 

 

Previous Competitions:

2018: Global Sociology

Shortlist - Bonnie Barfield (The Abbey School) “Liminal Spaces” and Rebeca Moody (Barton Peveril College) “Cracking the Conundrum”.

Winner - George Smith (The King’s School, Peterborough) “Kingdom of King’s”

2017: What is Sociology?

Shortlist – Kieren Mitchell (Joseph Rowntree School) “School & Education” and Sian Leary (Joseph Rowntree School) “Socialised to Gender Stereotype”.

Winner - Aisha Peerbaccus (Brynteg School, Bridgend) “How can something as simple as tea be related to Sociology?”

 

*If you think you might be affected by an eating disorder, talk to someone you trust. You can find out more about the help and information available to you online: https://youngminds.org.uk/find-help/feelings-and-symptoms/eating-problems/#where-to-get-help

 

 

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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.