What is Sociology
Sociology is the ordered, logical study of human society and its origins, development, organizations, and institutions. It is a social science which uses various methods of empirical investigation and critical analysis to develop a body of knowledge about human social activity, structures, and functions. A goal for many sociologists is to conduct research which may be applied directly to social policy and welfare, while others focus primarily on refining the theoretical understanding of social processes. Subject matter ranges from the micro level of individual agency and interaction to the macro level of systems and the social structure. The traditional focuses of sociology include social stratification, social class, culture, race and ethnicity, gender and sexuality, social mobility, religion, secularization, law, and deviance. As all spheres of human activity are affected by the interplay between social structure and individual agency, sociology has gradually expanded its focus to further subjects, such as health, medical, military and penal institutions, the Internet, environmental sociology, political economy and the role of social activity in the development of scientific knowledge. Sociology as Science
In response, one might argue that just because the subject matter of sociology is more difficult to study than the subjects pursued in other sciences, it does not mean that the scientific method is inappropriate for the social sciences. The subject matter of sociology experiences continuous change. This fact alone renders efforts at prediction difficult. Problems relating to prediction can be found in the biological science as well. One should note the problems encountered as biologists try to track the AIDS virus. It too continually mutates. Sociology is a science every bit as much as biology or chemistry. Social sciences, like natural and biological sciences, use a vigorous methodology. This means that a social scientist clearly states the problems he or she is interested in and clearly spells out how he or she arrives at their conclusions. Generally, social scientists ground the procedure in a body of existing literature. This is precisely how other sciences function. Sociology as Discipline
The groups within which we spend our lives—in our families, schools, communities, workplaces, and societies—help to define us in the eyes of others, while defining us to ourselves as well. Sociologists possess a quality of mind that helps them to use scientific knowledge and logical reasoning in order to develop understandings of what is going on in the world. Sociology is a discipline that makes it possible to see how individual experiences—how we act, think, feel, and remember—are connected to the wider society. To understand human experience better, we must understand all that we can about groups and social relationships. Sociologists examine the shared meanings that humans attach to their interactions with one another, and they study human experience as it unfolds within societies over time. They study social patterns that are stable and also those that are changing. The sociology program provides students with critical thinking skills and knowledge of society, groups, and social relationships to prepare them to be better informed individuals and to take advantage of employment opportunities where analytic knowledge of the social world is valued. The Sociology Program’s course of study gives students insight into sociology as a scientific discipline and as a quality of mind, aiding in their intellectual growth, and providing opportunities for civic engagement and for making contributions to community wellbeing. Because sociologists must be able to recognize social trends and patterns, while being skillful writers, speakers, and researchers, members of the sociology faculty are strongly committed to teaching students how to do sociology and how to think sociologically about the world. Sociology majors are...
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