Description of an academic discipline.
Sociology is, in the broadest sense, the study of human interactions as well as social trends and phenomena that impact behaviors of individuals. (Dressler, 1973) It is generally classified as one of the social sciences along with economics, psychology, and anthropology and was established as a subject in the late 18th century. Karl Marx, the founder of modern Communism, succeeded in stimulating the general public’s interest in the subject more than anyone else even though he lived and wrote in a period before Sociology became fully recognized as an academic discipline. Scientific approach of sociology is vastly influenced by the fact that people are able to exist only in groups. In this sense, the focus of the sociologist’s attention is group behavior. The following is a brief example. While most individuals of the western world are convinced they are free to make choices for themselves and that no one is allowed to dictate their lives, in reality following general behavioral trends is a natural aspect of belonging to a society. For instance, the trend of lifelong career development has caused millions of women to choose—often unintentionally—career over full reproductive potential (Hilgeman & Butts, 2009). Commonsense ideas and explanations represent a form of social perspective since they claim to represent the things that “everyone knows” about the social world and human behavior. These ideas, whatever they may be, are not necessarily incorrect, but they do tend to have one characteristic that sets them apart from sociological forms of knowledge, namely that commonsense ideas are simply assumed to be true. Sociological knowledge, however, has greater validity than most forms of commonsense knowledge because it has been carefully tested. To put the matter differently, sociologists try to base their statements about human behavior on evidence rather than simple assumption. To do so, they apply systematic ways of...
References: 1. Dressler, D. (1973). Sociology: The study of human interaction (2nd ed.).
2. Hilgeman, C., and Butts, T. (2009). Women’s employment and fertility: A welfare regime paradox [Electronic version]. Social Science Research, 38(1), 103-117. Accessed October 14, 2012.
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