What is Sociology?

Topics: Sociology, Max Weber, Social sciences Pages: 4 (1283 words) Published: November 13, 2013


There is many different definitions for the meaning of sociology but when it comes down to it sociology’s main interest is in the relationship between the individual and society. Anthony Giddens(1986:p9) defines sociology as ‘ a social science, having as its main focus the study of the social institutions brought into being by the industrial transformations of the past two or three centuries.’ Whereas Sociologist; Bauman (1990:p8) claims that ‘Sociology is…first and foremost a way of thinking about the human world.’ As you can see there is many different sociologists with different opinions/theories of what sociology actual is and throughout this essay I shall discuss and explain a few different theories such as Marxism. The 3 main sociological concerns that all sociologist study is social order, social change and social divisions and inequality. These 3 main concerns cover an endless number of specific topics that many different sociologist have theories on. In order to get into the ‘sociological way of thinking’ many sociologist talk about a concept called ‘defamiliarisation’. This is used to describe the act of escaping from the constraints of everyday practices and everyday thinking. Berger (1963:p3) argues that ‘the first wisdom of sociology is this: things are not what they seem.’ Therefore what Berger is saying is that sociology rests on the assumption that social reality has different levels of meanings. Another concept when it comes to learning to think sociologically is ‘The sociological imagination’, sociologist C. Wright Mills came up with this concept. The sociological imagination is a way of looking at the world in a certain way that can see connections between the seemingly private problems of the individual and important social issues. Mills argues for a humanist sociology is connecting the social, personal, and historical dimensions of our lives. ‘Perhaps the most fruitful distinction with which the sociological...

Bibliography: • Giddens, A. SOCIOLOGY: A BRIEF BUT CRITICAL INTRODUCTION. (2nd Edition) London: Macmillan 1986
• Bauman, Z. Thinking sociologically. (2nd edition) Oxford: Blackwell publishers 2011
• Berger, P. Invitation to sociology: a humanistic perspective. Harmondsworth: Penguin 1966
• http://highered.mcgraw-hill.com/sites/0072817186/student_view0/chapter4/chapter_summary.html
• Hobsbawm, E. The age of Revolution: Europe: 1789-1848. Cleveland, Ohio: World publishing company 1962.
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