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Sociology

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Topics: Sociology
I.THE HUMAN SOCIETY
• MEANING OF SOCIOLOGY
Sociology is the study of human social behavior and its origins, development, organizations, and institutions.[1] It is a social science which uses various methods of empirical investigation[2] and critical analysis[3] to develop a body of knowledge about human social actions, social structure 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.[4]

• SOCIOLOGY AS A SCIENCE
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.

• THE RELATIONSHIP OF SOCIOLOGY TO OTHER SOCIAL SCIENCE
Psychologists try to understand the working of the human mind (thoughts, emotions, principles, experience) and how this affects one's behaviour. It is a separate discipline from Sociology but does assists sociologists in explaining some sociological processes. Sociology can also help in explaining some of the aspects of Psychology, for example: how one's social environment (sociology) influenced his principles and beliefs (psychology).

Political Science can be regarded as a branch of Sociology; dealing mainly with the political aspects of Sociology. Sociology covers politics in society but Political Science is more in-depth.

Economics can be considered to be a highly complex branch of Sociology making it difficult to identify a relationship between the two without having knowledge of both disciplines. Economics focuses on wealth, trade, consumption behaviour patterns, et cetera and even involve some complex models rooted in the discipline of Mathematics.

Anthropology is oftentimes associated with the study of simpler societies while sociologists study more complex societies. Also, it is said that while sociology tends to focus on social institution, anthropology is more holistic in its approach to society. As the two disciplines develop, similarities are being seen and the lines between the two disciplines are becoming more blurred.

II.THE NATURE OF STUDYING SOCIETY
• MEANING OF SOCIETY
The simplest definition of society is a group of people who share a defined territory and a culture. In sociology, we take that definition a little further by arguing that society is also the social structure and interactions of that group of people. Social structure is the relatively enduring patterns of behavior and relationships within a society.[1] Thus, a society is not only the group of people and their culture, but the relationships between the people and the institutions within that group.

• WHY STUDY SOCIETY
The study of society provide an opportunity for the researcher to understand different communities, societies and cultures. If you do not make the attempt to know their special differences you miss out on knowing amazing people. You also may offend them simply because you do not have an understanding of what they find important.

• SOCIOLOGICAL THEORIES & PERSPECTIVE OF SOCIETY
1. Symbolic Interaction Theory
The symbolic interaction perspective, also called symbolic interactionism, is a major framework of sociological theory. This perspective relies on the symbolic meaning that people develop and rely upon in the process of social interaction.
2. Conflict Theory
Conflict theory emphasizes the role of coercion and power in producing social order. This perspective is derived from the works of Karl Marx, who saw society as fragmented into groups that compete for social and economic resources. Social order is maintained by domination, with power in the hands of those with the greatest political, economic, and social resources.
3. Functionalist Theory
The functionalist perspective, also called functionalism, is one of the major theoretical perspectives in sociology. It has its origins in the works of Emile Durkheim, who was especially interested in how social order is possible or how society remains relatively stable.
4. Feminist Theory
Feminist theory is one of the major contemporary sociological theories, which analyzes the status of women and men in society with the purpose of using that knowledge to better women's lives. Feminist theory is most concerned with giving a voice to women and highlighting the various ways women have contributed to society.
5. Critical Theory
Critical theory is a type of social theory oriented toward critiquing and changing society as a whole, in contrast to traditional theory oriented only to understanding or explaining it. Critical theories aim to dig beneath the surface of social life and uncover the assumptions that keep us from a full and true understanding of how the world works.
6. Labeling Theory
Labeling theory is one of the most important approaches to understanding deviant and criminal behavior. It begins with the assumption that no act is intrinsically criminal. Definitions of criminality are established by those in power through the formulation of laws and the interpretation of those laws by police, courts, and correctional institutions.
7. Social Learning Theory
Social learning theory is a theory that attempts to explain socialization and its effect of the development of the self. It looks at the individual learning process, the formation of self, and the influence of society in socializing individuals. Social learning theory is commonly used by sociologists to explian deviance and crime.
8. Structural Strain Theory
Robert K. Merton developed the structural strain theory as an extension of the functionalist perspective on deviance. This theory traces the origins of deviance to the tensions that are caused by the gap between cultural goals and the means people have available to achieve those goals.
9. Rational Choice Theory
Economics plays a huge role in human behavior. That is, people are often motivated by money and the possibility of making a profit, calculating the likely costs and benefits of any action before deciding what to do. This way of thinking is called rational choice theory.
10. Game Theory
Game theory is a theory of social interaction, which attempts to explain the interaction people have with one another. As the name of the theory suggests, game theory sees human interaction as just that: a game.

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