Sociology as a branch of knowledge, has its own unique characteristics, it is different from other sciences in certain respects. An analysis of its internal logical characteristics helps one to understand what kind of science it is. The following are the main characteristics of sociology. 1. Sociology is an independent science:
Sociology has now emerged into an independent science. It is not treated and studied as a branch of any other science like philosophy or political philosophy or history. As an independent science, it has its own field of study, boundary and method. 2. Sociology is a social science and not a physical science: Sociology belongs to the family of social science and not to the family of physical science. As a social science, it concentrates its attention on man, his social behavior, social activities and social life. As a member of the family of social sciences like history, political science, economics, psychology, anthropology etc. The fact that sociology deals with the social universe distinguishes it from astronomy, physics, chemistry, zoology, mathematics and other physical sciences. 3. Sociology is a categorical and not a normative discipline: Sociology "confines itself to statements about what is not what should be or ought to be". As science, sociology is necessarily silent about questions of value. It does not make any kind of value judgments. Its approach is neither moral nor immoral but amoral. It is ethically neutral. It cannot decide the directions in which sociology ought to go. It makes no recommendations on matters of social policy or legislation or programme. But it does not mean that sociological knowledge is useless and serves no purpose, it only means that sociology as a discipline cannot deal with problems of good and evil, right and wrong and moral or immoral. 4. Sociology is a pure science and not an applied science:
A distinction is often made between pure sciences and applied sciences. The main aim of pure sciences is the acquisition of knowledge and it is not bothered whether the acquired knowledge is useful or can be put to use. On the other hand, the aim of applied science is to apply the acquired knowledge into life and to put it to use. Each pure science may have its own applied field. For example, physics is a pure science and engineering is its applied field. Similarly, the pure sciences such as economics, political science, history etc. have their applied fields like business, politics, and journalism respectively. Sociology as a pure science has its applied fields such as administration, diplomacy, social work, etc. Each pure science may have more than one application. Sociology is a pure science, because the immediate aim of sociology is the acquisition of knowledge about human society, not the utilization of that knowledge. Sociologists never determine questions of public policy and do not recommend legislators what laws should be passed or repeated. But the knowledge acquired by a sociologist is of great help to the administrator, the legislator, the diplomat, the teacher, the foreman, the supervisor, the social worker and the citizen. But sociologists themselves do not apply the knowledge of life and use as a matter of their duty and profession. 5. Sociology is relatively an abstract science and not a concrete science: This does not mean that sociology is an art and not a science. Nor does it mean, it is un-necessarily complicated and unduly difficult. It only means that sociology is not interested in concrete manifestations of human events. It is more concerned with the form of human events and their patterns. For example, sociology is not concerned with particular wars and revolutions but with war and. revolution in general, as social phenomena as type’s social conflict. Similarly, sociology does not confine itself to the study of this society or that particular society or social organization, or marriage or religion, or group and so on. In this simple sense...
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