Teaching Sociological Perspectives | 2: Into the Multiverse

As you’ll know if you’re up on your Marvel films (or have a passing interest in Ancient Greek philosophy) the concept of a multiverse is the idea that multiple universes exist in parallel with one another, side-by-side as it were, a bit like a 3-dimensional patchwork quilt.

Whether you see this idea as an exciting scientific hypothesis (albeit one that you can’t actually test or, indeed, falsify), an interesting philosophical question or a desperate attempt by massive media conglomerates to retcon the fact that while many of their superheroes clearly exist in the same space and time they all seem blissfully unaware of each other’s existence, is probably only something you can decide.

While the above, with the possible exception of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, raises some interesting sociological questions, of more interest for our current purposes is the fact that:

1. The concept of a multiverse is becoming increasingly well-known, thanks to the pervasive influence of the aforementioned media conglomerates.

2. The concept of separate universes all existing in the same time and space sounds uncannily like the idea of different sociological perspectives – a range of “universes of meaning” that, by-and-large, exist quite independently, more-or-less, of each other.

In other words, if you’re having trouble getting the idea of sociological perspectives across to students you could do worse than use the analogy of “The Multiverse” as a way of helping them get to grips with how and why perspectives as diverse as:

  • Functionalism
  • Conflict Theory
  • Action Theory and
  • Feminism

can all sit alongside each other as different interpretations of the world…

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