What are our fundamental academic commitments as sociologists in the chaos of accelerated higher education (Carrigan and Vostal 2017)? This paper examines three major sources of pressure: i) general attempts to marginalise liberal education (humanities, social sciences) in the interests of promoting ‘applied’ STEM areas (science, technology, engineering and medicine). ii) specific pressures on sociology, discursively justified in terms of the failure to meet market criteria. However, student demand for sociology and allied subjects has not disappeared. Neoliberal critiques mask a neoconservative re-assembly of higher education (Shultz & Vizcko 2016) that distrusts sociological critique and public (re)imagination. iii) There is internal disarray of sociology’s subject matter: sociology faces internal ethical and epistemological challenges as traditional, ‘classical’ disciplinary understandings are challenged by feminist and decolonial critiques, calling for ‘epistemic disobedience’ ,‘delinking’, ‘indigenous sociologies’ and ‘connected sociologies’ (Mignolo 2009; 2007; Akiwowo 1999; Bhambra 2014).
This paper re-assesses the rationale, approach and content of individual and discipline-level Sociology curriculum. The intent is to articulate and refine a stabilizing academic identity and narrative to anchor personal and collective work, given the chaotic, forceful redefinition of academic identity, work and possibilities, in ways that ‘empty out’ disciplinary meaning and values.