University of the Philippines Los Baños
Monday, 06 April 2015 00:00

Professor Randy David delivers sociology lecture at UPLB


Professor Randolf S. David, noted sociologist and public intellectual, gave a lecture on “Sociology and the Nation: Some Reflections and Questions” on 24 March as part of the celebration of the 40th year of founding the BA Sociology program in UPLB.

Prof. David opened his talk by noting that Philippine society was plagued with problems of all kinds. Compared to its neighbors in Southeast Asia like Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, and Korea, the Philippines, he said, was woefully lagging behind in the economic, political, and social arenas. He noted, however, that the most commonly suggested solution for the Philippines, which was a strong, dictatorial leader, was not the correct solution, since Marcos had already tried this and failed.

Prof. David noted that instead, we need to focus on modernity in the Philippines. This does not only mean the improvements in science and technology, but also of social attitudes such as following rules, differentiating public responsibility from personal relationships, and employing meritocracy, or what Prof. David called functional differentiation. “In a modern society, a person’s gender, race, and religion would not matter, but their skills and ability to do their job,” Prof. David added.

He noted that the Philippine society was in the middle of transitioning from a traditional to a modern society. Through this difficult process, made even harder by obstacles such as poverty and alienation, it is important that social reflexivity be maintained, he said. This meant that as much as possible, an understanding of the processes and forces behind the problems should be used. Paraphrasing Marx, he said that before attempting to change the  world, we must first seek to understand it.  

The program was opened with the welcome remarks from Dr. Portia Lapitan, vice chancellor for academic affairs. After Prof. David’s lecture, Ricamela Saturay-Palis, a BA Sociology alumni and executive officer of the Committee on Cultural Education of the National Committee on Culture and the Arts, who echoed Prof. David’s call regarding social reflexivity and understanding, gave her reactions to the lecture. The program ended with the awarding of a certificate of appreciation to the speakers followed by the closing remarks of Prof. Dwight David Diestro. The activity was  co-sponsored by the Alpha Sigma Fraternity and the Department of Social Sciences (AGB Peralta).