Definition of Sociology
The subject has been looked from various points of view and now it is an opportune time to define the subject properly. According to P.A. Sorokin “sociology is a generalizing science of socio-cuitural phenomena viewed in their generic forms, types, and manifold interconnections. ” (Bierstedt, 1970. 3-28) Sociology is the scientific study of human society and social behaviour. The subject matter of sociology is huge and complex, and the knowledge produced by sociological research is still imperfect in many ways. However, it has taught us a great deal about ourselves. (RotarTson, 1977 :3) No formal definition of sociology is very satisfactory. Short definitions don’t really define; long definitions are clumsy. Yet a definition of some sort is needed, and sociology is often defined as the scientific study of human social life.. Human beings behave differently from other animals. They have unique forms of group life; they pursue customs, develop institutions, and create values. Sociology applies scientific methods to the study of these phenomena in the research for scientific knowledge. Sociology concentrates its study upon the group life of human beings and the product of their group living. (HurTon and Chester 1984: 25-27) The sociologist is especially interested in the customs, traditions, and values which emerge from group living, and in the way group living is, in turn, affected by these customs, traditions, and values. Sociology is interested in the way groups interact with one another and in the processes and institutions which they have developed. Characteristics of Sociology
Sociology is first of all a social science and not a natural science because it deals with the social universe not with the physical universe. In the second place, sociology is a categorical, not a normative, discipline because it confines itself to statements about what is, not what should be or ought to be. Sociology is a pure science, not an applied science because the immediate goal of sociology is the acquisition of knowledge about human society, not the utilization of that knowledge. The relations between pure and applied sciences can be seen more clearly, if they are described in the following fashion: Pure sciences Applied sciences Pure sciences Applied sciences Physics Engineering Mathematics Accounting Chemistry Pharmacy Botany Agriculture History Journalism Economics Business Sociology Administration Social work A fourth characteristic of sociology is that it is a relatively abstract science and not a concrete one. It means that sociology is not interested in the concrete manifestations of human events but rather in the form that they take and the patterns they assume. For example, in distinguishing sociology from history, that sociology was concerned, not with particular wars and revolutions but with war and revolution in general as social phenomena. A fifth characteristic of sociology is that it is a generalizing and not a particularizing or individualizing science. It seeks general laws or principles about human interaction and association, about the nature, form, content, and structure of human groups and societies, and not as in the case of history, or particular events. For example, sociology is not interested in the wars between Pakistan and India, but in the sociological principle that external aggression is one way to intensify the internal solidarity of a group. A sixth characteristic of sociology is that it is both a rational and empirical sciences. Finally, a seventh characteristic of sociology is that it is a general and not a special science. In other words, sociology studies those phenomena that are common to all human interaction....
Please join StudyMode to read the full document