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Introductory Sociology Essay

9359 words - 37 pages

Introduction to SociologyTHE ORIGINS OF SOCIOLOGYSociology is the scientific study of human social life, groups and societies.There was no sociology as a distinct discipline before the advent of 19th century. As a distinct discipline it emerged about the middle of the 19th century when European social observers began to use scientific methods to test their ideas. It looks that three factors led to the development of sociology.The first was the Industrial revolution.·By the mid 19th century Europe was changing from agriculture to factory production. There was the emergence of new occupations as well as new avenues of employment away from the land.·Masses of people migrated to cities in search of jobs. Pull and push factors were instrumental in such migrations. In the countryside, due to the nature of agricultural society, there were no occupations that could be alternatives to agriculture. Hence people got pushed to look for new places whereas the urban/industrial places with new job opportunities provided a pull to the same population.·At the new places there was anonymity, crowding, filth, and poverty. Ties to the land, to the generations that had lived there before them, and to the ways of their life were abruptly broken. Eventually the urban life brought radical changes in the lives of people.The city greeted them with horrible working conditions: low pay; long and exhausting working hours; dangerous work; foul smoke; and much noise. To survive the vagaries of life, families had to permit their children to work in these uncongenial conditions.People in these industrial cities developed new ideas about democracy and political rights. They did not want to remain tied to their rulers. Therefore the ideas about individual liberty, individual rights to life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness emerged, which actually laid the foundation to future political revolution.The second factor that stimulated the development of sociology was imperialism. Europeans successfully conquered many parts of the world. They were exposed to radically different cultures. Startled by these contrasting ways of life, they began to ask why cultures differed.The third impetus for the development of sociology was the success of the natural sciences. People moved to question fundamental aspects of their social world. They started using the scientific method (systematic observation, objectivity) to the study of human behaviour.DEFINITIONS OF SOCIOLOGYSociology is a new social science. French sociologist Auguste Comte coined the term sociology in 1839. The term 'sociology' is derived from the Latin word 'societus' meaning 'society' and the Greek word 'logos' meaning study or 'science'. Etymologically sociology means the 'science of society' sociology concerns itself with an analysis and explanation of social phenomena. It studies social life, actions, behaviours and incidents. Sociology is the study of social relationships, groups and societies. Its subject...

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