Topics: Sociology, Society, Evolution Pages: 2 (1359 words) Published: April 29, 2015
Sociology is the study of human social life, groups, societies and institutions. It is a dazzling and compelling enterprise, as its subject matter is our own behaviour as social beings. Most of us see the world in terms of the familiar features of our own lives. Sociology demonstrates the need to take a much broader view of why we are as we are and why we act as we do. It teaches us that what we regard as natural, inevitable, good or true may not be such and that the ‘givens’ of our life are strongly influenced by historical and social forces. The development of sociology as a discipline emerged in the early nineteenth century as an academic response as a challenge to modernity. As the world was becoming smaller and more integrated, peoples experience of the world was increasingly atomized. Social institutions are studied by sociologists, examining their influence on human behaviour. Behaviour is conditioned by rules and procedures that are put in place by these institutions such as the family, education systems and religious systems. Values, norms and status influence the outcome of behaviours that are portrayed by individuals. Values indicate what is important and worthwhile; it is something worth striving toward. Norms are the rules that a group uses for appropriate and inappropriate values, beliefs, attitudes and behaviour. Status is the social order or prestige attached to someone’s position in society. An English scholar, Herbert Spencer (1820 - 1903), known as one of the most brilliant intellects of modern times, contributed a great deal to the establishment of sociology as a systematic discipline. His three volumes of "Principles of Sociology", published in 1877 were the first systematic study devoted mainly to the sociological analysis. He was much more precise than Comte in specifying the topics or special fields of sociology. Auguste Comte (1798 - 1857) was the father of Positivism and inventor of the term sociology. He played a key role in the...
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