What is sociology?
We can start by saying that sociology is the systematic study of human society. Sociology should be more than you find in a good documentary on a social issue. It is certainly more than listings of facts and figures about society. Instead it becomes a form of consciousness a way of thinking, a critical way of seeing the social. Seeing the general in the particular.
In his short book ‘Invitation to Sociology’(1963) characterized the sociological perspective as seeing the general in the particular. He meant that sociologists can identify general patterns of social life by looking at concrete specific examples of social life. While acknowledging that each individual is unique, in other words, sociologists recognize that society acts differently on various categories of people. We begin to think sociologically once we start to realize how the general categories into which we happen to fall shape our life experiences. Definitions on sociology:
Peter Berger : Sociologist is someone concerned with understanding society in a disciplined way. The nature of this discipline is scientific. (invitation to sociology 1963) Richard Jenkins: The ‘human world’ or the ‘world of humans’, is the distinctive realm of human experience and existence.. and the subject of matter with which sociology is concerned (foundations of sociology 2002) Nicholas Abercrombie: More technically, sociology is the analysis of the structure of social relationships as constituted by social interaction, but no definition is entirely satisfactory because of the diversity of perspectives. (Sociology 2004) Shorter Oxford English Dictionary: The science or study of the origin, history and constitution of human society. Seeing the strange in the familiar.
As Peter Berger says in his book, ‘the first wisdom of sociology is this: thing are not what they seem’. Or as Zygmunt Bauman says in his book, we need to ‘defamiliarise the familiar’. For instance, observing sociologically requires...
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