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Sociology: Cultural Sociology (track)

Samir Bashara: 'Eventually I did end up in politics'

Alumnus testimonial

Samir Bashara, graduated in Sociology: Cultural Sociology in 2007.

Samir Bashara
Samir Bashara Photo by: Roy Drommel

I chose to study Sociology with a view to getting into politics. I really enjoyed my studies, and before long I stopped focusing on whether or not the things I was learning would help me on the labour market. I was just absorbing all this new knowledge. After graduating, though, I eventually did end up in politics with a position in public administration. I started as chair of the municipal department in Hoorn, moving on to become a councillor and chairman of my party, and I am now an alderman in Hoorn. I am also active in various other national bodies, mainly as a member of various advisory groups.

My sociological knowledge and insights – which have been of great use to me during my career – are quite hard to define. I would say my general insight into human behaviour has been the most useful. The political and administrative environment is no stranger to deep-seated “common-sense” assumptions about human behaviour. In my experience, such views are more commonly held by those to the right of the political spectrum. An example would be the effects of stricter sentencing. Despite being commonly regarded as an effective weapon in the fight against crime, nearly all social scientists are aware that such measures are in fact demonstrably ineffective.

In terms of the future, I aim to focus on training, coaching and consultancy in the public and political domains. I already focus on those activities in my spare time. For example, I am working on a few projects in collaboration with one of our members of the Dutch Lower House.

The best possible choice

My decision to study Sociology proved crucial to my personal development. It was the best possible choice I could have made, and I still miss it today. In addition to its various professional applications, the knowledge I acquired also had a major influence on the way I carry out my day-to-day activities. The ability to grasp specific social processes and phenomena has been incredibly useful. I reap the benefits of those insights on a daily basis, both in terms of substantive aspects and my understanding of the strategic aspects and processes underlying power and influence.

In-depth academic knowledge

If you decide to study Sociology, I recommend that you go for a Master's rather than stopping once you have got your Bachelor's. That is where you start gaining really in-depth academic knowledge. Broaden your knowledge and explore other fields wherever possible (in the form of elective courses, minors, etc.). Subjects like Philosophy, Political Science, Psychology, Economics, Biology and even Mathematics will be an extremely valuable supplement to your sociological skills.
You should also make sure to actively participate in faculty life. In addition to being a useful learning experience, it is also good for your network and – most importantly – fun.

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