This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Sociology Definition Essay

2433 words - 10 pages

Defining Sociology

Defining Sociology

Anthony Giddens ("Sociology", 1989) provides the following general definition:

"Sociology is the study of human social life, groups and societies. It is a dazzling and compelling enterprise, having as its subject matter our own behaviour as social beings.

The scope of sociology is extremely wide, ranging from the analysis of passing encounters between individuals in the street up to the investigation of world-wide social processes".

As you will no-doubt note, Giddens - in this particular extract - is more-concerned with describing the sociological enterprise in very general terms than with trying to nail-down a specific definition...

In "The Complete A-Z Sociology Handbook" (1996) Tony Lawson and Joan Garrod - two writers with recent experience of being am AQA Chief Examiner - provide the following definition:

"Sociology is the study of individuals in groups and social formations in a systematic way, which grew out of the search for understanding associated with the industrial and scientific revolutions of the 18th and 19th centuries. It is now an established discipline in post-16 education and has offered generations of students insights into the social world they inhabit. Often accused by the right of being left-wing, it includes individuals of every political opinion who are united by a commitment to search for knowledge and understanding through providing evidence for the theories and insights they offer".

The British Sociological Association ( examines the question of defining sociology by considering it in terms of three basic categories.

What is Sociology? involves thinking about it's academic origins and history.

In the Beginning...

The origins of Sociology lie in the 19th century when, the BSA notes: "advances in science and technology encouraged people to believe there could be a rational explanation for everything and that scientific study could lead to the solving of all of the problems faced by human beings".

With this sense of opportunity and optimism "Auguste Comte, who gave the name to sociology, confidently expected it would provide the highest level of scientific explanation in establishing laws of human society itself".

In terms of teaching and academic sociology, modern sociology was "first taught in Britain at the beginning of this century but the expansion here took place much more recently and was at first greatly influenced by US sociology. During the 1960s, especially, it became a major social science subject, taught in universities and colleges, and with the development of the sociology A level during the 1970s it became a major subject in schools too".

Modern Sociology

The BSA notes: "From its original purpose as the science of society, sociology has moved understand how society works. It seeks to provide insights into...

Find Another Essay On sociology definition

Introductory Sociology Essay

9359 words - 37 pages ' 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 matter is our own behaviour as social beings.Sociologists differ in their opinions about the definition of sociology. Sociology has been defined as

Sociology: The Study of Humanity Essay

1842 words - 7 pages a full definition of the subject. We might also suggest that sociology is 'about' society. This helps in so far as it adds another component to our full definition. But again it is not enough to fully define the subject. For all of the aforementioned human sciences are not only about people and humanity but about society too. Sociology is also concerned with human culture. A provisional definition of culture used by sociologists is that of

What Makes Sociology Different?

1014 words - 4 pages Before commencing a discussion on analyzing the article “What makes sociology a different discipline” from the other sciences we should have the know-how about sociology. In the words of modern thinkers of sociology namely Karl Marx, Max Weber and Emile Durkheim “Social fact should be the subject matter for the study of social life and can provide explanations for human thinking and behavior (p19)”. What we infer from the above definition is

Emile Durheim

6363 words - 25 pages level-the individual.DURKHEIM'S CONCEPTION OF SOCIOLOGYWhat is Sociology to Emile Durkheim? Amazingly, despite Durkheim's extensive writings in Sociology, he never offered a comprehensive definition of Sociology. George Gurvitch, a successor of Durkheim at the Sorbonne restructured Durkheims Sociology as thus:"Sociology is a science which studies with an over all view, and a typologicaland explanatory fashion, the different degrees of

A Personal Understanding of the Roles of Sociologists and Intellectuals

826 words - 3 pages By general definition, sociology is the study of human behavior and interaction. This social science is studied by sociologists and scholarly intellectuals on both macrosocial and microsocial levels. Through examining sociology frequently and meticulously, I have come to a personal conclusion that one of the most significant aspects to the world of sociology is the concept of "sociology of knowledge," basically meaning the emphasis

An essay about the ongoing debate of whether or not sociology is indeed value-free or free from biases

1069 words - 4 pages about the role of the researcher's "values" on sociological studies, thus, giving rise to the issue of the value freedom theory, which is essential for further understanding of the subject at hand.First and foremost, a definition of a few concepts, namely, objectivity, subjectivity, and value freedom is required to straighten out any misconceptions about the way that they are applied to sociology. Objectivity is the notion that research or data

Origins Of Sociology

1058 words - 4 pages roles in the development of the sociological apperception. In this essay I will look at how sociology emerged as an attempt to deal with the "problems of modernity", while also looking toward the future and the problems that may arise.To start off, I will deal with Auguste Comte and his definition of sociology in comparison to the ways others looked at sociology. His way of looking at sociology stemmed from a new way of looking at the world. His

Define Sociology, Outline How the Understanding of this can Affect an Individual

1111 words - 4 pages There are many different sociologists throughout history that have navigated throughSociology and its, as one might call it, 'wide spectrums of concepts' within the study.In the following, the definition of sociology will be explained. It will look at how the understanding of this study, individuals/ citizens and social care practitioners can use from the sociologists theories and from being in society as they know it. It will explain the

What is Sociology?

649 words - 3 pages avenues of contact, as well as why these kinds of associations are important to us. How has Sociology changed? According to the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary (2010), Sociology is referred to as “.the systematic study of the development, structure, interaction, and collective behavior of organized groups of human beings” (para. 1); however, the transformable qualities of this science are not represented by this definition, as they should be

Approaches to the Study of Religion

1469 words - 6 pages in society and has generally held a rather negative view of religion as being an unworthy subject of study(Davies 2007:2). The reason for the secuarlisation can be seen in the fact that sociology is a theory both guided by and aims to build theories (Wuthnow/Dillon 2003:21). Theories require analysis and generalisation. It is impossible to analyse a subject without first defining the subject (Robertson 1970:34). Definition is a contentious issue

What is Sociology

594 words - 2 pages Sociology is the scientific study of society and human behavior. This is the most basic definition of sociology that one would find. Getting a little more in depth, it is the study of humans in groups and how they interact with one another. A scientist in this field, a sociologist, would look at these groups by means of the sociological perspective. This involves looking at a certain behavior like you have never witnessed it before. If done

Similar Essays

Sociology Essay On Murdock's Definition Of Family

652 words - 3 pages George Peter Murdock (1895 – 1985) was an American anthropologist, who in 1949 provided the following definition of a family, “the family is a social group characterized my residence, economic cooperation and reproduction. It includes adult of both sexes, at least two of whom maintains a socially approved relationship, and one or more children own or adopted, of the sexually cohabiting adult.” At that time in history his definition probably fit

Careers In Sociology Essay

614 words - 3 pages Do you know what sociology is about? By definition sociology is the study of society, social institutions, and social relationships. (Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Definition of Sociology. Sociology is not based on philosophical assumptions, but instead based on experimentation and measurement. Sociology is a field that you should be highly specialized in only one area. We see sociology

Critically Assess The Extent To Which Sociology Can Be Considered A Science Excelsior Community College/Intro To Sociology Essay

461 words - 2 pages imperial investigations and critical analysis to study the human social behaviour, structure, actions, policies, welfare and fairly new society. Since Sociology has to do with observance (which is investigations), physical evidence (which is the study of human social behaviour) and experimentation (which is the use various methods). Another definition of sociology is ‘the scientific study of human society and interactions.’ This definition of

Introductory Sociology Essay

9359 words - 37 pages ' 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 matter is our own behaviour as social beings.Sociologists differ in their opinions about the definition of sociology. Sociology has been defined as