Sociology is a discipline concerned with the study of institutions, organizations, communities and other social structures, and their relationship to everyday life. English-Canadian sociology in the first half of the 20th century was strongly influenced by the Chicago School via McGill University, by political economy at the University of Toronto, as well as by American functionalism and the London School of Economics. While individual sociology courses were offered much earlier, a sociology department was not established until the late 1950s at the University of Saskatchewan, and the early 1960s at the University of Regina. The two departments now offer study opportunities in many subdisciplines including class, race and gender relations, socialization and social organization, criminology, and social research methods.
In the years following World War II, sociologists played a significant role in “reconstruction” programs in Canada. In Saskatchewan, sociologists played a role in the Royal Commission on Agriculture and Rural Life and in studies of local government, adult education, and other areas. More recently, sociologists have been involved in policy initiatives concerning health reform, justice, labour policy, social security, intergovernmental relations, and the operation of Crown corporations, among others. There are approximately 1,800 practising sociologists in Saskatchewan. Principal occupations include management and finance, sales and service, and public administration, with smaller proportions in the health, resource, and manufacturing sectors. Over the past three decades, sociology as a discipline has become less focused and more diverse; and the discipline’s influence on social policy has become less direct. Sociology graduates commonly go on to other post-secondary programs such as law, education, police services and social work, where their sociological training adds perspective to their professional development.