Sociology of Law, Economics and Innovation
The primary motive for the proposed new undergraduate programme in sociology is the acute need for the practical professional development of students, who have graduated with a bachelor's degree. Experience thus far has shown that a relatively small proportion of graduates in sociology actually end up working as sociologists. At the same time, whole sectors of the economy and social life are experiencing a dire need of sociologically savvy professionals. Therefore, filled with a sense of responsibility for the professional, as well as the personal fate of students, the staff at the Department of Applied and Institutional Sociology offers this programme.
The programme is oriented towards the concrete social problems of Bulgarian society and offers specialized skills and competences in order to work in various areas of social life. It is a response to the pronounced need for specialized training of students associated with the change in the expert role of social sciences in the society of knowledge and the new political, economic and social conditions in the country. During the past few decades' professional niches for a sociological career have emerged in the corporate sector, in the reformed state and municipal administration, in the civil sector, the so-called new industries, based on the provision of services, in sociological and media agencies, think tanks, research institutes and others. There is a strong tendency towards ‘sociologizing' of economics, law, pedagogy, journalism and other spheres.
Students receive thorough training in applied sociology. It involves quantitative methods and statistics as their basis, as well as a number of qualitative research methods for interrogating social, political and economic phenomena. Particular attention is paid to semiotics – the science of signs and their function as instruments enabling the in-depth study of technical and socio-cultural phenomena. The training also involves the so-called ‘professorial classes' that link teaching with the research practices of leading social agencies, such as GfK – Bulgaria and MBMD.
The legal and sociological strand of course is a synthesis of sociological and legal aspects of the law as the supreme governor in modern society and its links with the country, the economy, civil society and politics. It provides specific knowledge of the form of state politics and government for the three types of authorities and divisions between them, the types of government bodies and their functions, the functions of the Administrative Justice and the nature of the legal forms in a market economy - transactions, trading companies and traders, forms of business turnover, etc.
The economic strand of courses examines the creation of economic value and its management at the level of national economy (economic balances and flows, dependencies between the main economic sectors, etc.), in a large shareholder company and in the activity of the individual entrepreneur. It provides knowledge about the financial flows in a company and its relations with financial institutions. Special emphasis is placed on the management of the human factor in the economy and consumer behaviour.
The science, technology, innovation block focuses on complex of knowledge and the technological aspects of social life; the role of science and technology as the basis for economic change, as well as entrepreneurial efforts and skills as drivers for its implementation. Specialized courses focus on various aspects of modern ‘risk societies' – information and biotechnology, ecology and others. During their summer internships students conduct specialized field research in innovative small companies, research laboratories, large technical systems and infrastructural equipment.
The block on social policy examines this area in which the role of sociological research and sociological imagination is irreplaceable. The courses in this strand explore the relationship between biography and history, the link between the problems of the individual and the problems of society. Students acquire knowledge of the theory of social policy and fundamental social programmes and measures in the country and the European Union. Training includes data from national and international research, which allows for the analysis of the status and trends of each of the social problems in a comparative perspective.
Graduates of the educational degree ‘Bachelor' are awarded the professional qualification ‘sociologist' and acquire skills for professional development:
- In economics - as consultants on entrepreneurship and corporate behaviour (including how to start one's own business); in corporate governance – in the departments of human resources, marketing and research of consumer behaviour, etc.;
- In the central state institutions and local governmental bodies; political parties – in the role of experts;
- In the legal sphere – in probation centres, offices for legal assistance, in penal institutions, in the field of legal mediation and mediation in order to resolve disputes, in developing policies to combat deviant behaviour, etc.;
- In the media – in the departments of economic and legal policy, as researchers of readership and as experts in publishing policy;
- In the trade unions, health institutions, employment agencies, social support, work with children and youth, HEI, department of social medicine, etc.; as experts in civil initiatives and social innovation, including social entrepreneurship policies for children and young people, employment, education, health and family relationships, as mediators and analysts of social conflicts and ethnic problems;
- In sociological agencies and research institutes – as specialists in modelling and conducting applied research;
- In secondary education – as teachers of social sciences and civic education.