SOCIOLOGY AND SOCIETY
- Sociology is the study of human social life.
- Sociology studies human society as an interconnected whole and how society and the individual interact with each other.
- The social esteem for an individual depends on the culture of his/her 'relevant society'.
- Sociology is a systematic and scientific study of society, distinct from philosophical and religious, reflection as well as our everyday common sense observation about society.
- Distinct way of studying society can be better understood when we look back historically at the intellectual ideas and material contexts within which sociology was born and later grew.
- Global aspect and the manner in which sociology emerged in India is of great significance.
- Society, is the name given to social relationship by which every human being is interconnected with his fellow men.
- But society is not limited to human beings alone. There are animal societies of varying degrees. It is not man only who wants to live in society and exhibit natural sociality but ants, termites, birds, monkeys, apes and countless other animals also are moved to live in society by the requirements of their nature.
- So, what differentiates a ‘Human Society’ from ‘Animal Society’
- It is based on reason or rational behaviour.
- It is mainly based on instincts reflex behaviour.
- It has a system of law and order.
- There are no rights and duties in animal society.
- Humans live in society and are conscious of it.
- Animals live in society but are not conscious of it.
- They have intelligence, reason, culture and are capable of transmitting culture to the next generation.
- They lack intelligence, reason, culture and incapable of transmitting culture to the next generation.
- Sociology is the study of human social life, groups and societies. Its subject matter is our own behaviour as social being.
- Its concern is with the way norms and values function in actual societies.
- Empirical study of societies involve observation and to collect findings.
- Sociology has from its beginning understood itself as a science. Sociology is bound by scientific cannons of procedure. Statements that the sociologist arrive at must be arrived at through the observations of certain rules of evidence that follow others to check or to repeat to develop his/her findings.
C.W. Mills Sociological Imagination
- The Sociological Imagination is a book written by sociologist C. Wright Mills in 1959.
- According to him, personal problems and public issues are interrelated.
- E.g. Homeless Couple.
Sociology as a scientific discipline
- Based on experi mentation
- Value neutrality
Father of Sociology
Auguste Comte is considered as the father of sociology as he not only coined this term but was responsible for establishing sociology as a separate social science.
Meaning of Sociology
The word sociology is derived from both Latin and Greek origins. The Latin word - Socius means 'companion', the suffix - logy, a Greek origins meaning T h e study o f - Logos, word, 'knowledge'. It was first coined in 1780 by the French essayist Emmanuel Joseph Sieyes (1748-1836) in an unpublished manuscript. Sociology was later defined independently by the French philosopher, Auguste Comte (1798-1857), in 1838. Comte used this term to describe a new way of looking at society.
Definitions of Sociology
- The science of society, social institutions, and social relationship; specifically: the systematic study of the development, structure, interaction, and collective behaviour of organized groups of human beings.
- Max Weber defines Sociology as “the science which attempts the interpretative understanding of social action in order thereby to arrive at a causal explanation of its cause and effects”.
- Pluralities and Inequalities among Societies
- In the contemporary world, we belong to more than one society.
- When amidst foreigners reference to 'our society' may mean 'Indian society', but when amongst fellow Indians we may use the term 'our society to denote a linguistic or ethnic community, a religious or caste or tribal society.
- Inequality is central to differences among societies.
- Some Indians are rich, others are not.
- Some are educated, others are illiterate, some have great opportunities for advancement in life: others lack them altogether.
Sociological Perspective and Common Sense Knowledge
- Sociological Perspective is a rational knowledge whereas common sense knowledge is based on general understanding.
- Sociological Perspective is objective in nature whereas common sense knowledge is subjective.
- Sociological Perspective has a body of concepts, method and objective data whereas common sense knowledge is unreflective since it does not question its own origins.
The Intellectual Ideas that went to the making of sociology
- Influenced by scientific theories of natural evolution and findings about pre-modem societies made by early travelers, colonial administrators, sociologists and social anthropologists sought to categorize societies into different types and to distinguish stages in social development.
- Auguste Comte, Karl Marx and Herbert Spencer made efforts to classify different types of societies.
(1) Pre-modern societies such as hunters and gatherers.
(2) Modern societies such as industrialised societies
- Darwin's ideas about organic evolution were a dominant influence on early sociological thought.
- The Enlightenment, an European intellectual movement of the late 17th and 18th century emphasised reason and individualism.
- Thinkers of the early modern era were convinced that progress in knowledge promised the solution to all social ills. Auguste Comte, the French scholar (1789-1857), founder of sociology believed that sociology contributes to the welfare of humanity.