What is Sociology?
We as human beings have always been curious about the sources of our own behaviour. Attempts to understand this relied on ways of thinking that were passed down from generation to generation. These ideas were often expressed in religious terms or drew from well-known myths, superstition and traditional beliefs. The objective and systematic study of human behaviour and society is a recent development dating from the 1700’s. A key development was the use of science to understand the world and this approach brought about a radical change in outlook and understanding. Just like physics, biology, chemistry and other disciplines, sociology emerged as part of this important intellectual process. The origins of sociology were the series of sweeping changes ushered in by the ‘two great revolutions’ of the 18th and 19th century Europe. These events transformed the way of life humans had maintained for thousands of years. The French Revolution, 1789 marked the ideas and values, such as liberty and equality, over traditional social order. This was the Industrial Revolution, the broad spectrum of social and economic transformation that surrounded the development of new technical innovation. This caused an influx of migrants causing a rapid expansion of urban areas, forming new social relationships dramatically changing the face of the social world. There were a few individuals who contributed to early sociological thinking; one in particular was a French author, Auguste Comte (1798-1857) who actually coined the word ‘sociology’. He argued that sociology can and should study society and social phenomena following the patterns and procedures of natural sciences. Another contributor was Emile Durkheim (1858-1917) and he had a more...
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