What Is Distinctive About Sociological Ways of Thinking?

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“If Sociology does its work properly we have a better chance to make society fit for a changing world.” – Albrow (1997, xii)

Sociology is primarily the study of individual men and women’s social lives as well as the study of singular groups and entire societies both on a local and national level. There great is a focus on social rules and processes that both bind and separate these societies. Although there are various different theoretical models associated with Sociology, they all revolve around similar principles, understanding why and how things are the way they are and what direction they are going in, this idea is applied to any size of social group. Modern Sociology focuses on a wide spectrum of social issues, from macro-structures that ‘organise’ society such as; gender, race and ethnicity and social class as well as institutions such as marriage and family. It also looks into the deviation from and the breakdown of these structures in acts such as crime and divorce.

A major distinctive aspect of Sociological thinking is the rejection of both naturalistic and individualistic explanations whilst exploring social patterns and trends. The rejection of these ‘common sense’ ideas forces a wider exploration of the factors that can influence and ultimately affect social trends and patterns. ‘Common sense’ answers in relation to social questions can often include; biological, psychological and moralistic arguments, all of which concentrate on natural and individual reasons rather than looking at a larger social idea. Examples of ‘common sense’ explanations can be easily seen within marriage and suicide. A naturalistic explanation of marriage is; it’s only natural for a man and woman to marry and spend their lives together because they love each other and want to raise a family. The Sociological explanation of marriage is more focused on monogamy and economic factors. Social factors such as conformity and financial aspects also play a major part in this...
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