What is Sociology Anyway

Topics: Sociology, Hurricane Katrina, Elementary school Pages: 70 (1356 words) Published: June 24, 2015
What is Sociology,
Introductory Sociology
January 20, 2015
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People typically do not understand
sociology very well. Just ask
someone what sociology is and they
typically don’t know. Even people
that have taken Introductory
Sociology still don’t know what it is.
For example, while evacuated
during Hurricane Rita I told
someone that I taught sociology and
this is what they said:

“I studied sociology in
college but really didn’t
understand it.”
Steve Unkel, M.D.,
Farmerville, LA,
September 22, 2005

Same result while evacuating
for Hurricane Ike:

“Tell me again … what is
this sociology all about??”
George Featherstone, Jr.
Gilmer, TX
September, 2008

Or, this is an example that I found
in a sociology student’s blog:

“I really don’t
understand sociology
at all.”
Aimee, Student Blogger,
September, 2005

Another blogger wrote:

I took sociology three years
ago, now I’m in an advanced
sociology class … and I
never understood it the first
time around… somebody
please help me with this
Jon, Student Blogger, September,

More Recently ….
• As I explain this (what sociology is),
almost always the conversation follows
with a long pause, as if people did not
quite understand what I was talking about.
• From Rah’s Multiply, a Sociology Blog,

A distinguished sociologist
once noted in a speech he
gave to a sociology class:

“My mother (God bless
her) still has no idea
what I do.”
Gerald O. Windham,
Starkville, MS
August 22, 1974

Is Sociology Left-Wing?

Heard during a sociology lecture at a major university:
About 15 minutes into the lecture Dr. Jones went off on
what can only be described as a diatribe. He broke off
completely from the subject at hand and told us
basically how conservatives are ruining the world.
Among the highlights of this were that liberals embrace
the future, and want to bring about a better world, and
conservatives want to live in the past, fear change, and
if it were up to the Republicans, women would not be
able to vote. In his plea, he said the only hope for the

Most Sociologists Are Not LeftWing
• The average sociologist is a white male in
his 50s living in the South.

Considering all this confusion,
it is safe to say that Sociology
is probably the most
misunderstood subject at this

What is Sociology?
The scientific study
of society and
human behavior

Stated another way….
The influence of the
group upon the
individual member

Or still another way…
The peer pressure
that people face
when they join a

When you join a group …
You live up to “or down
to” the average
standards of that

Peer pressure never goes
away …
You have peer
pressure in all groups,
young and old alike

Peer Pressure in Kindergarten

Middle school ……

High School……

Senior Year, taking Standardized

Making the Grade in College

Keeping Up With Friends

College Graduation

Peer Pressure as a Young Adult

There’s even peer pressure in old

Peer Pressure Can
Be Positive or

Volunteers build a house …

Negative peer pressure can lead to

Or to deviant behavior … this man
said he killed …….

JonBenet Ramsey

Peer pressure can go to extremes

Bad Associates Can Lead to

Why Study Sociology?
• Diversity – it teaches cultural
• Social Science requirement –
it meets this requirement at
most colleges
• It’s easier to understand than
other subjects – we all have
experience in groups

Why are people so
confused about

It overlaps with everything … it
can seem like a hybrid of many

Social psychology – the merger of sociology and psychology Economic sociology – the merger of economics and sociology Political sociology – the merger of...
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