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Sociology

By bizplus Mar 12, 2013 1832 Words
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Types of Sociology
Not all universities approach sociology the same way, and the new science evolved differently depending on where it was taught and who was teaching it. The two major types of sociology that emerged were qualitative sociologyand quantitative sociology. Today, most universities use both qualitative and quantitative methods of inquiry, and one method is not necessarily better than the other. Qualitative Sociology

At the University of Chicago, Albion Small (1854–1926) developedqualitative sociology, which is concerned mainly with trying to obtain an accurate picture of a group and how it operates in the world. Small and his followers were particularly interested in understanding how immigration was affecting the city and its residents. From the middle of the nineteenth century to roughly the middle of the twentieth century, massive numbers of people immigrated to the United States from a variety of countries. Chicago in particular attracted many immigrants from Poland. Early sociologists were fascinated by the social changes they saw taking place and began conducting qualitative studies that involved personal interviews and observations of ethnic rituals and ceremonies. Some University of Chicago sociologists actually went back to Poland to interview people who were about to immigrate to the United States, who had relatives who were immigrants, or who had no intention of immigrating anywhere. In keeping with the spirit of qualitative sociology, the researchers felt that they could understand the experiences of Polish immigrants only if they also understood their reality and experiences before they left their homeland. Today, qualitative sociology emphasizes understanding individuals’ experiences by examining their books, television programs, interactions, and ceremonies, among other elements. For example, a sociologist hoping to understand the experiences of emergency medical technicians (EMTs) might spend time riding in the backs of ambulances as the EMTs go out on calls. Quantitative Sociology

Sociology at Harvard University developed differently. Like the University of Chicago sociologists, Harvard sociologists wanted to understand the immigrant experience, but they went about their research in a quantitative way. Quantitative sociology relies on statistical analysis to understand experiences and trends. While some researchers at Harvard did talk to people and observe them, many preferred to remain within the confines of the university and quantify their data to render it suitable for statistical manipulation. -------------------------------------------------

The Birth of Sociology
Auguste Comte (1798–1857), widely considered the “father of sociology,” became interested in studying society because of the changes that took place as a result of the French Revolution and the Industrial Revolution. During the French Revolution, which began in 1789, France’s class system changed dramatically. Aristocrats suddenly lost their money and status, while peasants, who had been at the bottom of the social ladder, rose to more powerful and influential positions. The Industrial Revolution followed on the heels of the French Revolution, unfolding in Western Europe throughout the 1800s. During the Industrial Revolution, people abandoned a life of agriculture and moved to cities to find factory jobs. They worked long hours in dangerous conditions for low pay. New social problems emerged and, for many decades, little was done to address the plight of the urban poor. Comte looked at the extensive changes brought about by the French Revolution and the Industrial Revolution and tried to make sense of them. He felt that the social sciences that existed at the time, including political science and history, couldn’t adequately explain the chaos and upheaval he saw around him. He decided an entirely new science was needed. He called this new science sociology, which comes from the root word socius, a Latin word that means “companion” or “being with others.” Comte decided that to understand society, one had to follow certain procedures, which we know now as the scientific method. The scientific method is the use of systematic and specific procedures to test theories in psychology, the natural sciences, and other fields. Comte also believed inpositivism, which is the application of the scientific method to the analysis of society. Comte felt that sociology could be used to inspire social reforms and generally make a society a better place for its members. Comte’s standards of “research” were not nearly as exacting as today’s, and most of his conclusions have been disregarded, as they were based mostly on observation rather than serious investigation.  In the United States, sociology was first taught as an academic discipline at the University of Kansas in 1890, at the University of Chicago in 1892, and at Atlanta University in 1897. Over time, it spread to other universities in North America. The first department of sociology opened at McGill University in Montreal, Canada, in 1922, followed by sociology departments at Harvard University in 1930 and at the University of California at Berkeley in the 1950s. -------------------------------------------------

Types of Sociology
Not all universities approach sociology the same way, and the new science evolved differently depending on where it was taught and who was teaching it. The two major types of sociology that emerged were qualitative sociologyand quantitative sociology. Today, most universities use both qualitative and quantitative methods of inquiry, and one method is not necessarily better than the other. Qualitative Sociology

At the University of Chicago, Albion Small (1854–1926) developedqualitative sociology, which is concerned mainly with trying to obtain an accurate picture of a group and how it operates in the world. Small and his followers were particularly interested in understanding how immigration was affecting the city and its residents. From the middle of the nineteenth century to roughly the middle of the twentieth century, massive numbers of people immigrated to the United States from a variety of countries. Chicago in particular attracted many immigrants from Poland. Early sociologists were fascinated by the social changes they saw taking place and began conducting qualitative studies that involved personal interviews and observations of ethnic rituals and ceremonies. Some University of Chicago sociologists actually went back to Poland to interview people who were about to immigrate to the United States, who had relatives who were immigrants, or who had no intention of immigrating anywhere. In keeping with the spirit of qualitative sociology, the researchers felt that they could understand the experiences of Polish immigrants only if they also understood their reality and experiences before they left their homeland. Today, qualitative sociology emphasizes understanding individuals’ experiences by examining their books, television programs, interactions, and ceremonies, among other elements. For example, a sociologist hoping to understand the experiences of emergency medical technicians (EMTs) might spend time riding in the backs of ambulances as the EMTs go out on calls. Quantitative Sociology

Sociology at Harvard University developed differently. Like the University of Chicago sociologists, Harvard sociologists wanted to understand the immigrant experience, but they went about their research in a quantitative way. Quantitative sociology relies on statistical analysis to understand experiences and trends. While some researchers at Harvard did talk to people and observe them, many preferred to remain within the confines of the university and quantify their data to render it suitable for statistical manipulation. -------------------------------------------------

The Other Social Sciences
Social sciences concern people’s relationships and interactions with one another. Sociology, with its emphasis on social life, falls into this category. A multidisciplinary field, sociology draws from a variety of other social sciences, including anthropology, political science, psychology, and economics. Anthropology

Anthropology concerns individual cultures in a society, rather than the society as a whole. Traditionally, it focuses on what might be termed “primitive” cultures, such as the Yanomamo people of the South American jungle, who live much the same way they did hundreds of years ago. Anthropologists place special emphasis on language, kinship patterns, and cultural artifacts.

Political Science
Political science concerns the governments of various societies. It considers what kind of government a society has, how it formed, and how individuals attain positions of power within a particular government. Political science also concerns the relation of people in a society to whatever form of government they have.

Psychology
Psychology takes the individual out of his or her social circumstances and examines the mental processes that occur within that person. Psychologists study the human brain and how it functions, considering issues such as memory, dreams, learning, and perception. Economics

Economics focuses on the production and distribution of society’s goods and services. Economists study why a society chooses to produce what it does, how money is exchanged, and how people interact and cooperate to produce goods. -------------------------------------------------

What Sociologists Do
People with training in sociology pursue a variety of different career and research paths. Because “society” is such a broad field of study, a background in sociology helps support dozens of different career choices. What follows are several broad areas in which sociologists frequently choose to apply their skills and interests. Social Welfare

Some people pursue degrees in sociology because they want to change society for the better. They study problems such as poverty, prejudice, and world hunger and attempt to find solutions. Jobs that relate to these kinds of interests include: * Social worker

* Child welfare worker
* Adoption agency worker
* Foreign aid worker
* Peace Corps/VISTA volunteer
* Clergy
Crime and Deviance
Many sociologists focus their research on understanding the roots of criminal and deviant behavior. Sociologists who focus on crime and deviance may conduct studies of juvenile delinquents, female criminals, or other subgroups of offenders. A background in this type of sociology prepares people for careers such as: * Law enforcement officer

* Attorney
* Prison administrator
Healthcare
An understanding of changing demographics and culture is essential for keeping members of a society healthy. Some sociologists apply their knowledge to the field of healthcare. They might take the following kinds of jobs: * Doctor

* Psychiatrist
* Marriage or family counselor
International Relations and Diplomacy
Maintaining good relations with other societies is always important. Sociologists who specialize in international relations must understand the intricacies of how their society interacts with others. Interest in international relations might lead to such jobs as: * Diplomat

* Public relations representative
* Government communications worker

Education
Many people study sociology because they want to develop more effective ways to educate a society’s youth or because they want to continue learning and teaching about sociology itself. Such people might hold the following types of jobs: * K-12 teacher

* College professor
* Educational policy-maker
* * * * * * * *
It’s important to note the difference between sociology and social work. Social work is anapplied science, since it is designed to solve a specific problem in a particular setting. Social work takes the principles found in sociology and applies them to a particular issue. For example, current sociological research indicates that men are more likely than women to commit suicide and that white people are more likely to take their own lives than black people. A social worker might take that knowledge and apply it to the real world by tailoring suicide-prevention programs to focus on the needs of white males. This list covers just a handful of the possible directions your studies in sociology may take you. As you’ll learn throughout your sociology course, a thorough understanding of the workings of society is applicable to an endless number of career paths.

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