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Sociology

By MarieCris1 Jun 21, 2013 3695 Words
DEFINITION

Sociology is the scientific study of human society and its origins, development, organizations, and institutions.

Sociology can be considered a science as it involves systematic methods of empirical research, analysis of data and the assessment of theories. In addition, it asks questions which can be quantified.

Sociology is a discipline that expands our awareness and analysis of the human social relationships, cultures, and institutions that profoundly shape both our lives and human history.

THE REASONS WHY WE SHOULD STUDY SOCIOLOGY

1. Sociology studies society in a scientific way. Before the emergence of sociology, there was no systematic and scientific attempt to study human society with all its complexities. Sociology has made it possible to study society in a scientific manner. This scientific knowledge about human society is needed in order to achieve progress in various fields.

2. Sociology throws more light on the social nature of man. Sociology evolves deep into the social nature of man. It tells us why man is a social animal, why he lives in groups, communities and societies. It examines the relationship between individual and society, the impact of society on man and other matters.

3. Sociology improves our understanding of society and increases the power of social action, capabilities, talents and limitations. It enables him to adjust himself to the environment. Knowledge of society, social groups, social institutions, associations, their functions etc. helps us to lead an effective social life.

4. The study of sociology helps us to know not only our society and man but also others, their motives, aspirations, status, occupations, traditions, customs, institutions, cultures etc. In a huge industrialized society, our experience is comparatively limited. We can hardly have a comprehensive knowledge of our society and rarely have an idea regarding other societies. But we must have some insight into an appreciation of the motives by which others live and the conditions under which they exist. Such an insight we derive from the study of sociology.

5. The contribution of sociology is not less significant in enriching culture. Sociology has given training to us to have rational approach to questions concerning ourselves, our religion, customs, mores, institutions, values, ideologies etc. It has made us to become more objective, rational, critical and dispassionate. The study of societies has made people to become more broad-minded. It has impressed upon its students to overcome there prejudices,-misconceptions, egoistic ambitions, and class and religious, hatreds. It has made our life richer, fuller and meaningful.

6. Another aspect of the practical side of sociology is the study of great social institutions and the relation's of individuals of each one of them. The home and family, the school and education, the state and government, industry and work, religion and morality, marriage and family, law and legislation, property and government etc. are some of the main institutions, through which our society functions. More than that, they condition our life in countless ways. Knowledge of sociology may help to strengthen them to serve man better.

7. Sociology is useful as a teaching subject too. Sociology is a profession in which technical competence brings its own rewards. Sociologists, especially those trained in research procedures, are in increasing demand in business, Government, industry, city planning, race relations, social work, social welfare, supervision, advertising, communications, administration, and many other areas of community life. A few years ago, sociologists could only teach sociology in schools and colleges. But sociology has now become practical enough to be practiced outside of academic halls, areas of application of sociology in schools and colleges. Careers apart from teaching are now possible in sociology, which are coming more international levels.

8. The need for the study of sociology is greater especially in underdeveloped countries. Sociologists have now drawn the attention of economists regarding the social factors that have contributed to the economic backwardness of a few countries. Economists have now realized the importance of sociological knowledge in analyzing the economic affairs of country.

9. The study of society is of paramount importance in solving social problems. The present world is best with several social problems of great magnitude like poverty, beggary, unemployment, prostitution, over population, family disorganization, community disorganization, racial problems, crime, juvenile delinquency, gambling alcoholism, youth unrest, untouchability etc. A careful analysis of these problems is necessary in order to solve them. Sociology provides such an analysis.

10. Sociological knowledge is necessary for understanding and planning of society. Social planning has been made easier by sociology. Sociology is often considered a vehicle of social reform and social reorganization. It plays an important role in the reconstruction of society.

11. Study of society has helped several governments to promote the welfare of the tribal people. Not only the civilized-societies, but even the tribal societies are faced with several socio-economic and anthropologists regarding tribal societies and problems have helped many governments in undertaking various social welfare measures to promote the welfare of the tribal people. Efforts are now being made to treat the tribals on part with the rest of the civilized people.

12. Sociology has drawn our attention to the intrinsic worth and dignity of man. Sociology has been greatly responsible in changing our attitudes towards fellow human beings. It has helped people to become catholic in outlook and broad-minded in spirit. It has made people to become too lenient and patient towards others. It has minimized the mental distance and reduced the gap between different peoples and communities.

13. Sociology is of great practical help in the sense; it keeps us up-to date on modern social situations and developments. Sociology makes us to become more alert towards the changes and developments that take place around us. As a result, we come to know about our changed roles and expectations and responsibilities.

THE AREAS OF SOCIOLOGY

1. Social Organization. This refers to social institutions, social groups, social inequality, social mobility, religious groups, and bureaucracy. These are the examples of social organizations:

Social Institution- Family and School
Social Groups- Farmers Association and Professional Associations Social Inequality- Unemployed, peasants, and poor people
Religious Groups- Catholic, Protestants and Muslims
Bureaucracy- Government Agencies and Local government Units

2. Social Psychology. This refers to human nature and its focus on social processes as they affect the individual. The observations in their emotions, attitudes, perceptions and culture in ther community, school market and church.

3. Social Change. This studies ecological changes, population, migration, technological change, new production techniques, culture change, political processes, social transformation, modernization, mass communication, and the impact of natural disaster.

The Point of Inquiry in Social Change
Ecological Change
· Why are there so many diseases that occur now a day?
· As a nursing student, what can you do to prevent these diseases? · Why there is global warming?
Migration
· Why do people migrate?
Technological change
· What are the technologies in the 80’s?
· What are the new technologies now?
New production
· What are the things that man produce?
Culture Change
· What are the fading values that we have now?
Political Processes
· What political activities you are joining?
Social Transformation
· What are the good and bad ways of having social transformation? Mass Communication
· Do you think television and computers strongly influence the behavior of the people?

4. Population. This studies size, growth, demographic characteristics, as well as corruption, migration, changes vis-à-vis economic, political and social systems. Question: What do you mean by population growth and demographic characteristics?

5. Applied Sociology. This is concerned with resolving social problems through sociological research. Question: What are the social problems of our society?
Squatters, prostitution, large family size, migration of nurses, and poor nutrition.

SQUATTERS. Those who are living in the squatter area, what might be the reason for them to migrate in the urban area or in the city? What are the research variables when we study this problem? Those people living in a certain area but they do not own the land. For the sociological research to solve the problem of squatters, what is the reason for them to migrate in the city? The research variables to study the problem of squatting are the background on employment, educational qualifications, occupation and source of income. The migration of the city is to find gainful employment for the family. However, they cannot find a job that suit there educational qualifications. They are usually farmers, fishermen, laborers on unskilled workers. The low income of the people is still the main reason why they cannot afford to buy their own house and lot. PROSTITUTION. Do you think prostitution and squatting have the same research variables as social problems? Usually those who are living in squatter areas are also the breeding ground for prostitution even drug abuse and illegal gambling. The research variables may still on low income and unemployment. The given research variables for squatters have the same reason for this social problems. MIGRATION OF NURSES. What might be the reason why nurses would like to work in other countries? The high salary and lucrative remunerations for nurses who are working in Europe ,USA, Canada and Australia. As compared with the Staff Nurse who is working in government hospital they are only receiving meager salary which is 10 times higher once you work in other country. The research variables to study the migration of nurses are the salary, overtime pay, exchange rate (Peso-Dollar) and the country that they want to work. POOR NUTRITION. Who are usually affected by poor nutrition? The children have usually the problem of malnutrition. The research variables are the income of the family, food intake, employment and occupation of the family. The usual cause of poor nutrition is the result of low income and unemployment in the family.

6. Sociological Theory and Research. This is a set of statements that seeks to explain problems, actions or behavior; or the discovery and development of research that tests the validity, applicability and usefulness of the results of the investigation for the improvement of life. Questions:

Give an example of problem in the community, school, hospital or any other places of the society?

Examples:
a) The Dengue Cases in Community X
b) Waste Management System in the Hospital
c) Poor Sanitation in the Community
How do you test the validity, applicability and usefulness of the results? a) Dengue Cases- The increasing number of dengue cases in particular sitio b) Waste Management System- The poor disposal of waste that result to longer treatment period or even infection of patients in the hospital c) Poor Sanitation- The lack of drainage, waste disposal and unsanitary practices in the community that increase the cases of communicable or non-communicable diseases in the area. What are your findings in the problem?

a) Dengue Cases- For every week, there are 3 dengue cases of that sitio. b) Waste Management System- There were 5 cases of infection in the hospital because of poor waste management program. c) Poor Sanitation- There were 4 cases of varied illness as a result What are your solutions and recommendations?

a) Dengue Cases – There should be fogging operation and cleaning of stagnant water to completely eliminate dengue case in the sitio. b) Waste Management System- The hospital should have waste management disposal system to reduce infection and spread of diseases in the area. c) Poor Sanitation – There should have been functional drainage system and good sanitary practices to reduce or completely eliminate the spread of communicable and non-communicable diseases.

THE PROPONENTS OF SOCIOLOGY

Auguste Comte (1789-1857) is commonly credited with being the founder of sociology and as having coned the name "sociology" for the new science. He emphasized that the study of sociology must be scientific, and he urged sociologists to use systematic observation, experimentation, and comparative historical analysis as their methods.

Comte divided the study of society into social statics and social dynamics. Social statics involves those aspects of social life that have to do with order and stability and that allow societies to hold together and endure. Social dynamics refers to those aspects of social life that have to do with social change and that pattern institutional development. Although the specifics of his work no longer direct contemporary sociology, Comte exerted enormous influence on the thinking of other sociologists, particularly Herbert Spencer, Harriet Marneau and Emile Durkheim.

Harriet Martineau

She was an English sociologist who paved the way for the new discipline through her observations of social behavior in the United States and England. Like Comte, she insisted that the study of society represents a separate scientific field. Among her contributions was the first book on the methodology of social research, How to Observe Manners and Morals, published in 1838. She also undertook the comparative study of the stratification systems of Europe and the United States. Throughout her career Martineau was an ardent defender of women's rights. In masterly fashion she showed the similarities between the position of women in the Western world and that of American slaves and called for freedom and justice in an age in which they were granted only to white males.

Herbert Spencer

An English sociologist shared Comte's concern with social statics and social dynamics. He viewed society as having important similarities with a biological organism and depicted it as a system, a whole made up of interrelated parts. Society is made up of institutions like the family, religion, education, the state, and the economy. Like biologists who portray an organism in terms of its structures and the functional contributions these three structures make to its survival. Spencer described society in similar terms. Intrigued by the Darwinian view of natural selection, Spencer applied the concept of the survival of the fittest to the social world, an approach termed Social Darwinism. He sought to demonstrate that government should not interfere with the natural processes going on in a society. Only in this manner would people who were "fit" survive and those who were "unfit" die out. If this principle were allowed to operate freely, human beings and their institutions, like plants and animals, would progressively adapt themselves to their environment and reach higher levels of historical development.

Spencer's social Darwinist outlook shows that the ideas we hold about the universe and ourselves are shaped by the social age in which we live. Spencer's social Darwinist ideas were used extensively within England and the United States.

Karl Marx

Although Karl Marx considered himself a political activist and not a sociologist, in truth he was both- a philosopher, historian, economist, and political scientist as well. He viewed science not only as a tool for transforming it. Marx was especially anxious to change the structure of capitalist institutions and establish new institutions in the service of humanity. Although born in Germany, Marx was compelled to spend much of his adult life as a political exile in London.

Marx has influenced sociological thinking both by his penetrating insights and by the fact that some sociologists have constructed their work specifically against his theory.

He focused his search on the economic environments in which societies develop, particularly the current state of their technology and their method of organizing production. At each stage of history, these factors dictate the group that will dictate society and the groups that will be subjugated.

He believed that society is divided into those who own the means of producing wealth, and those who do not, which gives rise to class conflict. All history, he said is composed of struggles between classes.

Class antagonisms revolve about the struggle between the oppressing capitalist class or bourgeoisie and the oppressed working class or proletariat. The former derive their income through their ownership of the means of production, primarily factories, which allows them to exploit the labor of workers. The latter own nothing except their labor power and, because they dependent for a living on the jobs provided by capitalists must sell their labor power in order to exist.

Marx adapted the idea of dialectical materialism, the notion that development depends on the clash of contradictions and the creation of new, more advanced structures out of these clashes. In the Marxian view of history, every economic order grows to a state of maximum efficiency; at the same time, it develops internal contradictions or weakness that contributes to its decay. The roots of an opposing order already begin to take hold in an old order. In time, the new order displaces the old order, while simultaneously absorbing its most useful features. Marx depicted slavery as being displaced by feudalism, feudalism by capitalism, capitalism by socialism, and ultimately socialism by communism (the highest stage of society).

Marx portrayed political ideologies, religion, family organization, education, and government as making up the superstructure of society. The economic base of society- its mode of producing goods and its class structure- influences the forms that other institutions take. When one class controls the critical means whereby people derive their livelihood, its members gain the leverage necessary to fashion other aspects of institutional life- the superstructure- in ways that favor their class interests. Marx thought that when the working class became armed with a revolutionary ideology that fostered its class-consciousness, it would overturn the existing social order and establish one that would pursue humane goals.

Emile Durkheim

Emile Durkheim focused his sociological eye on the question of how societies hold together and endure. Central to Durkheim's sociology is the notion that social integration is necessary for the maintenance of the social order and for the happiness of individuals. In particular, he suggested that happiness depends on individuals' finding a sense of meaning outside themselves that occurs within the context of group involvement.

In The Division of Labor in Society, Durkheim examined social solidarity. He distinguished between the types of solidarity found in early societies the social structure was relatively simple, with little division of labor. They derived a sense of oneness because they were so much alike, what Durkheim termed mechanical solidarity. Complex social structures and a sophisticated division of labor, in contrast, characterize modern societies. People perform specialized tasks in factories, offices, and schools. Since each person performs a relatively narrow range of tasks, no one person can be self- sufficient, and all must depend upon others to survive. Under these circumstances, society is held together by the interdependence fostered by the differences among people. What Durkheim labeled organic solidarity. Durkheim ascribed ultimate social reality to the group, not to the individual. He contended that the distinctive subject matter of sociology should be the study of social facts. Social facts are aspects of social life that cannot be explained in terms of the biological or mental characteristics of the individual. The social fact serves to constrain their behavior. Durkheim insisted that the explanation of social life must be sought in society itself.

Durkheim convincingly demonstrated the critical part social facts play in human behavior in his book suicide.

Max Weber

Among sociologists, he is not only known for his theoretical contributions but for a number of specific ideas that in their own right have generated considerable interest and research.

Weber believed that sociologists can derive an understanding of their subject matter in a manner that is unavailable to chemists and physicists.

In investigating human behavior, sociologists are not limited to such objective criteria as weight and temperature; they can examine the meanings individual bring to their interactions with one another. Weber contended that a critical aspect of the sociological enterprise is the study of intentions, values, beliefs, and attitudes that underlie people's behavior. Weber employed the German word Verstehen - meaning "understanding" or "insight"- in describing this approach for learning about the subjective meanings people attach to their actions. In using this method sociologist mentally attempt to place themselves in the shoes of other people and identify what they think and how they feel.

Another notable contribution of Weber is his concept of the ideal type. An ideal type is a concept constructed by a sociologist to portray the principal characteristics of a phenomenon. Weber also stressed the importance of a value-free sociology.

He insisted that sociologists must not allow their personal biases to affect the conduct of their scientific research. Weber recognized that objectivity is not neutrality. Neutrality implies that a person does not take sides on an issue; objectivity has to do with the pursuit of scientifically verifiable knowledge.

THE RELATIONSHIP OF SOCIOLOGY TO OTHER SCIENCES

Sociology deals with society [people]; How people interact, their culture, norms, values just like other social sciences like psychology, economics, psychology which also deal with people and how they behave, their mental processes.

There is also a relationship between sociology and economics which is another social science economics deals with the production of goods and services and how they are distributed to people just like sociology which also consider how the goods are distributed to members of the society. the answer

sciences related to sociology are social sciences. Social science are sciences which deal with people and have the following characteristics; observable, measurable, practical, factual. psychology and sociology link on that they al deal with the behavior of people, psychology deals with the behavior of people and their mental process just like sociology which also seek to understand how people's behavior affect society.

Anthropology and sociology also deal with society but the only difference is that social anthropology mainly considers small states and their culture but their area of studies is basically the same.

Sociology and political science are also related in the sense that they both concern the welfare of people in a society. Political science basically deals with the distribution of power and the exercise of power, democracy, dictatorship, communism, How people vote etc. History is another social science which is related to sociology. History primarily deals with past events and how they affected society eg how the colonization of Africa underdeveloped Africa. Sociology on the other end will be concerned with how people interacted, how culture was affected etc during the colonization and the present.

Geography can also be a social science which deals with society just like sociology. The population studies, demography, health and environment are all geographical studies which deal with society which are also inter-related to sociology as a field of study.

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