Sociology is the science or study of the origin, development, organization, and functioning of human society; the science of the fundamental laws of social relationships, institutions, etc. It generally concerns itself with the social rules and processes that bind and separate people not only as individuals, but as members of associations, groups, and institutions, and includes the examination of the organization and development of human social life. The sociological field of interest ranges from the analysis of short contacts between anonymous individuals on the street to the study of global social processes. Most sociologists work in one or more specialties or subfields. The meaning of the word comes from the suffix "-logy" which means "study of," derived from Greek, and the stem "socio-" which is from the Latin word socius, meaning member, friend, or ally, thus referring to people in general. It is a social science involving the study of the social lives of people, groups, and societies, sometimes defined as the study of social interactions. It is a relatively new academic discipline which evolved in the early 19th century. Because sociology is such a broad discipline, it can be difficult to define, even for professional sociologists. One useful way to describe the discipline is as a cluster of sub-fields that examine different dimensions of society. For example, social stratification studies inequality and class structure; demography studies changes in a population size or type; criminology examines criminal behavior and deviance; political sociology studies government and laws; and the sociology of race and sociology of gender examine society's racial and gender cleavages. New sociological sub-fields continue to appear - such as economic sociology and network analysis - many of which are cross-disciplanary in nature. Since the late 1970s, many sociologists have tried to make the discipline useful for non-academic purposes. The results of sociological research aid educators, lawmakers, administrators, developers, and others interested in resolving social problems and formulating public policy, through subdisciplinary areas such as survey research, evaluation research, methodological assessment, and public sociology. Sociological methods, theories, and concepts compel the sociologist to explore the origins of commonly accepted rules governing human behavior. This specific approach to reality is known as the sociological perspective. Sociology is methodologically diverse using both qualitative and quantitative methods, including case studies, survey research, statistical analysis, and model building among others. History of Sociology
Sociology is a relatively new academic discipline among other social sciences including economics, political science, anthropology, history, and psychology. The ideas behind it, however, have a long history and can trace their origins to a mixture of common human knowledge and philosophy. Sociology as a scientific discipline emerged in the early 19th century as an academic response to the challenge of modernity: as the world was becoming smaller and more integrated, people's experience of the world was increasingly atomized and dispersed. Sociologists hoped not only to understand what held social groups together, but also to develop an antidote to social disintegration. The term was coined by Auguste Comte in 1838 from Latin Socius (companion, associate) and Greek logos (speech). Comte hoped to unify all studies of humankind--including history, psychology and economics. His own sociological scheme was typical of the 19th century; he believed all human life had passed through the same distinct historical stages (theology, metaphysics, positive science) and that, if one could grasp this progress, one could prescribe the remedies for social ills. Sociology was to be the 'queen of sciences'. The first book with the term 'sociology' in its title was The Study of Sociology (1874) by the...
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