A goal for many sociologists

A goal for many sociologists

Sociology is the ordered, logical study of human society and its origins, development, organizations, and institutions. It is a social science which uses various methods of empirical investigation and critical analysis to develop a body of knowledge about human social activity, structures, and functions. A goal for many sociologists is to conduct research which may be applied directly to social policy and welfare, while others focus primarily on refining the theoretical understanding of social processes.

Subject matter ranges from the micro level of individual agency and interaction to the macro level of yester and the social structure. The traditional focuses of sociology include social stratification, social class, culture, race and ethnicity, gender and sexuality, social mobility, religion, colonization, law, and deviance.

As all spheres Of human activity are affected by the interplay between social structure and individual agency, sociology has gradually expanded its focus to further subjects, such as health, medical, military and penal institutions, the Internet, environmental sociology, political economy and the role of social activity in the development of scientific knowledge. Sociology as Science In response, one might argue that just because the subject matter of sociology is more difficult to study than the subjects pursued in other sciences, it does not mean that the scientific method is inappropriate for the social sciences.

The subject matter of sociology experiences continuous change. This fact alone renders efforts at prediction difficult. Problems relating to prediction can be found in the biological science as well. One should note the problems encountered as biologists try to track the AIDS virus. It too continually mutates. Sociology is a science every bit as much as biology or chemistry. Social sciences, like natural and biological sciences, use a vigorous methodology. This means that a social scientist clearly states the problems he or she is interested in and clearly spells out how he or she arrives at their conclusions.

Generally, social scientists ground the procedure in a body of existing literature. This is precisely how other sciences function. Sociology as Discipline The groups within which we spend our lives-?in our families, schools, communities, workplaces, and societies-?help to define us in the eyes of others, while defining us to ourselves as well. Sociologists possess a quality of mind that helps them to use scientific knowledge and logical reasoning in order to develop understandings of what is going on in the world.

Sociology is a discipline that makes it possible to see how individual experiences-?how we act, think, feel, and remember-?are connected to the wider society. To understand human experience better, we must understand all that we can about groups and social relationships. Sociologists examine the shared meanings that humans attach to their interactions with one another, and they study human experience as it unfolds within societies over time. They study social patterns that are stable and also those that are changing.

The sociology program provides students with critical thinking skills and knowledge of society, groups, and social relationships to prepare them to be better informed individuals and to take advantage of employment opportunities where analytic knowledge of the social world is valued. The Sociology Program’s course of study gives students insight into sociology as a scientific discipline and as a quality of mind, aiding in their intellectual growth, and providing opportunities for civic engagement and for making contributions to community wellbeing.

Because sociologists must be able to recognize social trends and patterns, while being skillful writers, speakers, and researchers, members of the sociology faculty are strongly committed to teaching students how to do sociology and how to think sociologically about the world. Sociology majors are given the opportunity and encouragement to develop their own ideas about society and to express them verbally and in writing.

Reasons Why Should We Study Sociology * Sociology is one of the liberal arts and it prepares one for a lifetime of change, developing one’s appreciation of diversity, love of learning, writing ND study skills, as well as a knowledge base about human behavior, social organization, and culture. * Secondly and most seriously, the field helps us look more objectively at the society in which we live. It directs attention to how the parts of society fit together as well as the causes and consequences of social change.

In modern industrial-bureaucratic societies we are faced with an increasingly complex and rapidly changing social milieu. If not a crisis, some conditions identified and noted by sociologists are cause for concern. Many of these topics will be addressed in future postings and questions. A study of sociology provides the conceptual tools and methodology for understanding the contemporary scene. By focusing on the external constraints to social action it helps us better understand ourselves and the motivations Of others around us.

While we are all creatures Of our society, we are also all co-creators-?sociology provides the tools so that we can take a more active role in that creation, a role that is essential if we hope to achieve a more just world and egalitarian society. Areas of Sociology * Social organization is the study of the various institutions, social groups, social stratification, social mobility, bureaucracy, ethnic groups and relations, and other similar subjects like family, education, politics, religion, economy, and so on and so forth. Social psychology is the study of human nature as an outcome of group life, social attitudes, collective behavior, and personality formation. It deals with group life and the individual’s traits, attitudes, beliefs as influenced by group life, and it views man with reference to group life. Social change and disorientation is the study Of the change in culture and social relations and the disruption that may occur in society, and it deals with he study of such current problems in society such as juvenile delinquency, criminality, drug addiction, family conflicts, divorce, population problems, and other similar subjects. Human ecology deals with the nature and behavior of a given population and its relationships to the group’s present social institutions. For instance, studies of this kind have shown the prevalence of mental illness, criminality, delinquencies, prostitution, and drug addiction in urban centers and other highly developed places. * Population or demography is the study of population number, composition, change, and laity as they influence the economic, political, and social system.

Sociological theory and method is concerned with the applicability and usefulness of the principles and theories of group life as bases for the regulation of man’s environment, and includes theory building and testing as bases for the prediction and control of man’s social environment. * Applied sociology utilizes the findings of pure sociological research in various fields such as criminology, social work, community development, education, industrial relations, marriage, ethnic relations, family counseling, and other aspects and problems of daily life.

Proponents of Sociology * Augusta Comet (1789-1857) is commonly credited with being the founder of sociology and as having coned the name “sociology” for the new science. He emphasized that the study of sociology must be scientific, and he urged sociologists to use systematic observation, experimentation, and comparative historical analysis as their methods. Comet divided the study of society into social static and social dynamics. Social static involves those aspects of social life that have to do with order and stability and that allow societies to old together and endure.

Social dynamics refers to those aspects of social life that have to do with social change and that pattern institutional development. Although the specifics of his work no longer direct contemporary sociology, Comet exerted enormous influence on the thinking of other sociologists, particularly Herbert Spencer, Harriet Manner and Mile Druthers. * Irving Coffman Irving Coffman is a significant thinker in the field of sociology and in particular the symbolic interaction perspective. He is known for his writings on the dramatically perspective and pioneered the study of face-to-face interaction.

He served as the 73rd President of the American Sociological Association and is listed as the 6th most-cited intellectual in the humanities and social sciences by The Times Higher Education Guide. * Harriet Martinets Martinets was an English sociologist who paved the way for the new discipline through her observations Of social behavior in the United States and England. Like Comet, she insisted that the study of society represents a separate scientific field. Among her contributions was the first book on the methodology of social research, How to Observe Manners and Morals, published in 1838.

She also undertook the comparative study of the stratification systems of Europe and the United States. Throughout her career Martinets was an ardent defender of women’s rights. In masterly fashion she showed the similarities between the position of women in the Western world and that of American slaves and called for freedom and justice in an age in which they were granted only to white males. * Herbert Spencer He was an English sociologist shared Comet’s concern with social static and social dynamics.

He viewed society as having important similarities with a illogical organism and depicted it as a system, a whole made up of interrelated parts. Society is made up of institutions like the family, religion, education, the state, and the economy. Like biologists who portray an organism in terms of its structures and the functional contributions these three structures make to its survival. Spencer described society in similar terms. Intrigued by the Darwinian view of natural selection, Spencer applied the concept of the survival of the fittest to the social world, an approach termed Social Darwinism.

He sought to demonstrate that government should to interfere with the natural processes going on in a society. Only in this manner would people who were “fit” survive and those who were “unfit” die out. If this principle were allowed to operate freely, human beings and their institutions, like plants and animals, would progressively adapt themselves to their environment and reach higher levels of historical development. Spence’s social Darwinist outlook shows that the ideas we hold about the universe and ourselves are shaped by the social age in which we live.

Spence’s social Darwinist ideas were used extensively within England and the united States. C. Wright Mills C. Wright Mills is known for his controversial critiques of both contemporary society and sociological practice, particularly in his book The Sociological Imagination (1959). He also studied power and class in the United States, as displayed in his book The Power Elite (1956). * Karl Marx Although Karl Marx considered himself a political activist and not a sociologist, in truth he was a philosopher, historian, economist, and political scientist as well. He viewed science not only as a tool for transforming it.

Marx was especially anxious to change the structure of capitalist institutions and establish new institutions in the service of humanity. Although born in Germany, Marx was compelled to spend much Of his adult life as a political exile In London. Mar-x has influenced sociological thinking both by his penetrating insights and by the fact that some sociologists have constructed their work specifically against his theory. He focused his search on the economic environments in which societies develop, particularly the current state of their technology and their method of organizing production.

At each stage of history, these factors dictate the group that will dictate society and the groups that will be subjugated. He believed that society is divided into those who own the means of producing wealth, and those who do not, which gives rise to class conflict. All history, he said is composed of struggles between classes. * Mile Druthers Mile Druthers focused his sociological eye on the question of how societies hold together and endure. Central to Deuterium’s sociology is the notion that social integration is necessary for the maintenance of the social order and for the happiness of individuals.

In particular, he suggested that happiness depends on individuals’ finding a sense of meaning outside them that occurs thin the context of group involvement. In The Division of Labor in Society, Druthers examined social solidarity. He distinguished between the types of solidarity found in early societies the social structure was relatively simple, with little division of labor. They derived a sense of oneness because they were so much alike, what Druthers termed mechanical solidarity. Complex social structures and a sophisticated division of labor, in contrast, characterize modern societies.

People perform specialized tasks in factories, offices, and schools. Since each person performs a relatively narrow range of asks, no one person can be self- sufficient, and all must depend upon others to survive. Under these circumstances, society is held together by the interdependence fostered by the differences among people. What Druthers labeled organic solidarity. Druthers ascribed ultimate social reality to the group, not to the individual. He contended that the distinctive subject matter of sociology should be the study of social facts.

Social facts are aspects of social life that cannot be explained in terms Of the biological or mental characteristics of the individual. The social fact serves to constrain their behavior. Druthers insisted that the explanation of social life must be sought in society itself. * Charles Horton Cooley Charles Horton Cooley is best known for his theories of The Looking Glass Self in which he declared that our self-concepts and identities are a reflection of how other people perceive us. He is also famous for developing the concepts of primary and secondary relationships.

He was a founding member and eighth president of the American Sociological Association. * George Herbert Mead George Herbert Mead is well-know for his theory of the social self, which is based on the central argument that the self is a social emergent. He pioneered the development of symbolic interaction perspective and developed the concept Of the “l” and “Me. ” He is also one Of the founders Of social psychology. Druthers convincingly demonstrated the critical part social facts play in human behavior in his book suicide. Max Weber Among sociologists, he is not only known for his theoretical contributions but for a number of specific ideas that in their own right have generated considerable interest and research. Weber believed that sociologists can derive an understanding of their subject matter in a manner that is unavailable to chemists and physicists. In investigating human behavior, sociologists are not limited to such objective criteria as weight and temperature; they can examine the meanings individual bring to their interactions with one another.

Weber contended that a critical aspect of the sociological enterprise is the study of intentions, values, beliefs, and attitudes that underlie people’s behavior. Weber employed the German word Persistent – meaning “understanding” or “insight”- in describing this approach for learning about the subjective meanings people attach to their actions. In using this method sociologist mentally attempt to place themselves in the hoes of other people and identify what they think and how they feel. Another notable contribution of Weber is his concept of the ideal type.

An ideal type is a concept constructed by a sociologist to portray the principal characteristics of a phenomenon. Weber also stressed the importance of a value-free sociology. He insisted that sociologists must not allow their personal biases to affect the conduct of their scientific research. Weber recognized that objectivity is not neutrality. Neutrality implies that a person does not take sides on an issue; objectivity has to do with the pursuit of scientifically verifiable knowledge. * Robert K.

Morton is considered one of America’s most influential social scientists. He is famous for his theories of deviance as well as for developing the concepts of “self-fulfilling prophecy” and “role model. ” * Pierre Broodier Pierre Broodier was a French sociologist and philosopher who contributed a great deal in the areas of general sociological theory and the link between education and culture. He pioneering terminologies such as habits and symbolic violence and is known for his work titled Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgment of Taste.

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