Committing Sociology: Being Healthy, Happy, and Up-High in St. James Town



LAURA BISAILLON, PhD, Interdisciplinary Centre for Health and Society, Social
Justice Education, University of Toronto

MEHDIA HASSAN, BSc, Social Justice, Lakehead University

MARYAM HASSAN, BA, Sociology Department, University of Toronto

There is a doggedly persistent, pervasive, and pernicious tendency to individualize rather
than socialize problems. This is a discernable pattern that we see all around us,
independent of any one particular social context. This collaboratively produced article is
an example of and commitment to feminist praxis. We intentionally mobilize the “tools
of social science, friendship, and the power of conversation” (Mountz, 2016) to bring to
life ideas that Mehdia experienced for the first time in Laura’s undergraduate classroom.
Specifically, she and fellow classmates, along with Maryam, learned how to cultivate and
employ their “sociological imagination” (Mills, 1959, 2000); connecting aspects of
biography with materially arising social conditions. The aim of such inquiry is to
generate new insights and critically minded, contextually situated, and empirically
supported explications for how things happen for and around us in the world we inhabit.
In doing so, we are able to “sociologically reimagine” analysis by using visual modes of
inquiry and intentional “interdisciplinary entanglement” to blur the boundaries between
traditional and so-called non-traditional modes of knowledge making (Jungnickel &
Hjorth, 2014). We argue that the time is absolutely upon us to “commit sociology,”[1]
and we offer this article as an intervention that does just this.

[1] As per

Keywords: Care; feminist praxis; politics of health and illness; sociological imagination;
visual sociology

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