Sociology: 10 Interesting Facts To Study Sociology

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Updated on: Educator Review By: Michelle Connolly

Sociology is a relatively recent academic discipline. It appeared in the early nineteenth century as a response to modernity, which affected the lives of individuals by making them more isolated, despite its positive impact on increasing interdependence between the countries of the world and achieving more and more integration in the world.

Among society’s most popular social subjects are anthropology, archaeology, economics, geography, history, law, linguistics, politics, psychology, and sociology. Sociologists work in several disciplines: education, family, social organization, social stratification, roles and relationships, demographics, criminology, gerontology, and many more. Sociologists aspire to find radical solutions to social disintegration by knowing its causes and understanding the transformations occurring in societies.

Sociology as a field of study is separate from natural sciences that cover topics such as physics, biology, and chemistry. Sociology is concerned with human behaviour as a social being rather than studying the material world. It relies more on interpretation and qualitative research methodologies and is concerned with the rules and social processes that connect people and separate them as individuals, groups and institutions. There is a tendency to make sociology more applied science.

The Concept of Sociology

Sociology studies the social life of humans and how people interact with each other, in addition to the relationships of groups and societies, and their cultures and customs, their effects on those around them and the world. Sociology includes a group of academic disciplines that participate in explaining how societies work and develop. The factors that affect it positively and negatively in all aspects of life, such as the economic, psychological, and other aspects, help shape corporate strategies and influence the policies of governments and decision-makers.

Definition of the Term

Sociology is the science that is concerned with the study of social life, behaviours, interactions, rules, and social processes of individuals, groups and societies. The structure of societies, their characteristics, problems and functions, and their impact on the world, following are some points that contribute to understanding the term sociology:

  • Sociology is concerned with the study of society as an analytical, descriptive, and explanatory study, using methods, laws, and scientific methods.
  • Society consists of the interaction of a group of people with each other in a specific and distinct social and cultural space, and social behaviour is different from other societies.
  • Sociology contributes to solving social problems, and it has a practical impact in helping individuals adapt to the circumstances surrounding them and know their role in society.
  • The social sciences give us a better understanding of how to create more inclusive and effective institutions.
  • Typical careers in the social sciences, in addition to academia, include working in legal, government, nonprofits, or working as an economist, psychologist, or specialist.

Social Multiple Definitions of Sociology

Here are some definitions of sociology according to different dictionaries:

  • According to the Dictionary of Social Sciences Terms, sociology is defined as a descriptive, explanatory and comparative study of human societies, as they appear in time and place, to arrive at the laws of development, which these human societies are subject to in their progress and change.
  • According to the Dictionary of Sociology, it is defined as the science that studies society in order to identify the laws governing its system, its change, and its problems.

Definition from the Point of View of Sociologists

the following are the names of the founding pioneers of sociology and their definitions of it:

  • Founding pioneers: Many sociologists emerged throughout history and had a prominent impact in establishing and developing this science; and among the most famous of these scholars:
    1. Ibn Khaldun: He is considered the founder of human urbanism, which he mentioned in his book The Introduction of Ibn Khaldun.
    2. Auguste Comte: A French scientist. He was the first to call this science the term sociology.
    3. Herbert Spencer: A British scientist. One of the founders of modern sociology.
    4. Karl Marx: A German philosopher. His ideas played an important role in establishing sociology.
  • Definitions: It can be seen that there is no unified definition of sociology by detailing the definitions from the point of view of some scholars as follows:
    1. Auguste Comte: A French philosopher and writer. He defines sociology as “The science that is concerned with the study of society, and its task is to study social phenomena, to study a scientific situation, and to reveal the relationship between different phenomena”.
    2. Émile Durkheim: A French sociologist. He defines sociology as “The science that is concerned with the study of the social structure and its institutions, as well as the study of social phenomena, lifestyles and problems”.
    3. Pitirim Sorokin: A Russian-American sociologist and political activist, defines sociology as “The science that studies the general characteristics common to all kinds of social phenomena”.
    4. Max Weber: A German sociologist, historian, jurist, and political economist. He defined sociology as “The science that attempts to arrive at an explanatory understanding of social action”.
    5. Herbert Spencer: An English philosopher, psychologist, biologist, anthropologist, and sociologist. He defines it as “The science that describes and explains the genesis and development of social systems”.

Why is there no unified definition of sociology?

There is a problem between scientists and specialists in finding a unified and accurate definition of sociology that everyone agrees on due to several reasons and factors that can be summarized in the following points:

  1. Sociologists themselves disagree on the fundamental axis on which sociology is based, and they differ in thought and ideological orientation as well.
  2. From the late 19th century to the present, there is a large and diverse heritage in sociology. The interrelationship of knowledge with each other leads to the difficulty of separating and indexing social sciences and knowing where a particular social science begins and where another ends.
  3. Knowledge of the analysis of historical events is indispensable for knowledge of geography, economics, and culture.
  4. The difficulty of being familiar with all aspects of human culture and its stages leads to neglecting some of these aspects and gives a distorted picture of the correct and comprehensive understanding of human society.

Sociology is a group of academic disciplines concerned with the study of the social life of human groups and individuals. Sociology is also concerned with society and the relationships between individuals within this society on the one hand and other societies on the other hand. Those who specialize in sociology can work in the field of counselling, research or Authoring, media, education, human resources, international affairs and law.

What is Sociology

Basic terms in sociology

The following are the vital basic terms in sociology:

  1. Social system: It is a group of people and activities whose mutual relations are characterized by a degree of stability and continuity, and the terms associated with it are function, integration, group, organization, and society.
  2. Culture: It consists of socially acquired and inherited patterns of human activity, and the objects (material elements) associated with them, and the terms associated with them are system, value, direction, standard, and deviation.
  3. Interaction: It is the process by which individuals who communicate with each other allow each other to influence and be affected by others in both ideas and activities. The terms associated with it are role, socialization, and conflict.
  4. Status: It is the place or position occupied by a person in the ladder of influence within a particular social system, and the terms associated with it are gradient, mobility, and strength.

Topics of Sociology

At the present time, there are three main topics in sociology that are taught academically in modern universities, which are:

  1. Natural topics: that is, the study of nature as a scientific study.
  2. Social sciences: the study of human behaviour in a scientific way.
  3. Humanities: the study of the products of cultural creativity, such as arts and languages.

Many branches fall under these main themes, whose contributions vary from understanding the workings of the mind to understanding societies as a whole, such as linguistics, law, archaeology, political sciences, psychology, economics, geography, history, and sociology. The following is a definition of the most prominent of them:

  1. Anthropology: Sometimes called the study of humans, that is, the study of the relationship between the biological characteristics of humans and the characteristics acquired from the socially surrounding environment, physical anthropology is concerned with human development and the impact of the development of the natural environment on the physical characteristics of humans, while cultural anthropology is concerned with archaeology and the organization of international societies.
  2. Geography: The study of the natural environment and its impact on social and cultural development. Geography is concerned with ecology, climate, resources and demography, and its practical applications, such as maps, population settlement, trade patterns, industrial and commercial decisions, aggression, and acquisitions.
  3. Historiography: The systematic study of past events and everything that actually happened, identifying, verifying and linking them to the present, which helps to appreciate diversity, predictability, and impose order.
  4. Economics: It is the study of ways of making a living. Economics is the social organization through which people meet their consumer and service needs and desires. Economics can be summarized in three topics: production, distribution, and consumption.
  5. Politics: It aims to maintain peace and order within a particular society. Politics has a philosophical and practical basis. It studies systems of government in theory as well as actual practices of governments.
  6. Psychology: It focuses on the individual and his physical processes, such as biological structure, development, and maturation, and deals with his mind and personality; social psychology studies the behaviour of the individual, and psychologists deal with natural traits such as; Emotion, memory, cognition, and intelligence.

The Function of Sociology

The following are the most prominent functions of sociology:

  • The first function: The development of sociology through self-criticism of the various efforts of scientists that were made theoretically and methodologically is the first function of sociology, which is a scientific function that aims to develop this science and raise the degree of its efficiency and accuracy. In deducing the social laws by which the course of human society can be better predicted.
  • The second function: This job includes several other sub-functions according to understanding the social reality and the problems it faces, addressing these problems and finding solutions to them.

Sociology includes many courses, specializations, and branches, such as anthropology, social development, economics, geography, political, religious and educational, criminology, rural and urban sociology, and many other disciplines.

Generally speaking, sociology aims to know the social problems facing individuals and societies and to find solutions that contribute to the development of these societies building civilizations, raising awareness among individuals, reducing crime, and advancing institutions and states.

It is no less important than other sciences such as mathematics, engineering and physics. If there are no societies in which humans can live happily and contentedly, then the benefits cannot be reaped from other applications of science such as cars, computers, etc.

Branches of Sociology

1.     Theoretical Sociology

This branch depends on the study of social theories and the results of these theories and highlights the elements of sociology and the philosophy of cosmic vision. Among the most prominent theories that have been studied under the framework of theoretical sociology are the theories of class conflict, theories of economic determinism by Karl Marx, and the theory of suicide by Émile Durkheim.

2.     Historical Sociology

This branch is concerned with the study of how societies developed during history, as well as studies of social structure and classifications and the impact of complex social processes on them, in addition to the study of any social event. It investigates the social facts, and an example of this is Sorkin’s study of the history of several major civilizations, most notably the Greek and Roman.

3.     Sociology of knowledge

This branch deals with the study of knowledge that is affected by society, and knowledge is a product of social phenomena in all economic, political and religious fields that preserve the ideas and beliefs of human beings. Knowledge is formed from people’s communication with each other; the basis of its formation is the social position of the individual in terms of his religion, race, gender, social class, and other criteria.

4.     Criminology

This branch is concerned with the study of all aspects of crime, starting from the criminal behaviour of individuals and groups, passing through the nature of crime and the causes of its occurrence, and ending with laws and penalties. This branch is also concerned with studying how to control and reduce crimes and make efforts to find solutions to them.

5.     Sociology of religion

This branch is concerned with studying religion within the structure of society and its impact on it, through the analysis of people’s social behaviours, in addition to its study of the religious constitution and its role In society. Among the most prominent of these studies were the sociologists Auguste Comte, Émile Durkheim, and Herbert Spencer, who studied the primitive forms of religious life.

6.     Sociology of economics

This branch studies the economic activity of different societies, which is represented by In the processes of production, consumption and exchange of goods and services, focusing on cultural and social factors. It also studies methods of distribution and real consumers, as well as the extent to which culture influences economic activities and consumption.

7.     Sociology of Law

Sociology of law and the legal system is a social institution because they are part of society, as the law is responsible for social control in society, in several social areas such as the economy, power and the structure of family relations, while the sociology of law is specialized in studying the moral system and formulating laws and regulations that It includes law and regulations.

8.     Rural sociology

This branch is concerned with the study of rural society and rural life in a scientific way, where the rural society differs from the urban society in several aspects, such as behaviours, beliefs, customs and traditions. This prompts sociologists to study the social structure of the countryside separately from the society in the city.

9.     Urban Sociology

This branch studies urban society, in terms of its social structure and social interaction among its members, in addition to its interest in the social pathology of urban society, represented by corruption, discrimination, theft, unemployment, environmental pollution, etc. From social diseases prevalent in the city.

10.  Political Sociology

This branch of sociology is concerned with the study of various political activities, including ideologies and parties, as part of the social system, as it studies the origins, functions, behaviours and development of political parties.

11.  Sociology Demography

The studies of this branch are represented in the analysis of population change in social perspectives and the study of population in terms of size, density, measurement, and composition. It also examines the factors that contribute to population change and its tendency.

12.  Industrial Sociology

This branch is concerned with the study of industrial organizations and institutions, and the interrelationships between the various institutions of society, in addition to its interest in studying the interrelationships between industrial institutions and human life in its various aspects.

Sociology Assignments

People working in sociology perform a number of tasks, the most prominent of which are the following:

  1. Prepare and implement the statistical sampling process.
  2. Create theoretical models for academia, public policy, and corporate groups.
  3. Influence public opinion, especially in political races.
  4. Conducting public opinion polls for political groups, media institutions, and private companies.
  5. Establish nonprofit organizations and work in human services jobs.
  6. Seek public education for members of the community.

Why Study Sociology

Sociology is defined as a group of studies that are concerned with social relations and human institutions and aims to understand how work is conducted and the formation of awareness among individuals. In addition to their impact on the cultural and social structure of society, by analyzing and explaining important matters in the personal lives of individuals, in society, and at the level of the world.

It is based on many societal topics, including crime, religion, family, state, ethnic divisions, social classes, shared beliefs and cultures, social stability, and changes that occur in societies. The levels on which sociology is built can be classified as follows:

  1. On the personal level: Sociology studies the causes and social consequences of some topics, such as love, ethnic and sexual identity, family conflict, deviant behaviour, ageing, and religious behaviour.
  2. On the societal level: Sociology is concerned with some societal issues, such as crime and law, poverty and wealth, prejudice and discrimination, schools and education, business firms, urban society, and social movements.
  3. On the global level: Sociology is concerned with studying some phenomena, such as population growth, migration, war and peace, and economic development.

The importance of sociology at the individual level

The importance of sociology at the individual level lies in the following:

  1. Understanding the social forces that affect the lives of individuals in order to be able to deal with them effectively.
  2. Making individuals more aware, active, and able to influence societal policies.
  3. Providing a strong background to pursue a range of jobs in various fields, including the following:
  • Commercial jobs: such as management, marketing, advertising, personal and human relations.
  • Criminal justice jobs: such as law enforcement, courts, corrections, and juvenile justice.
  • Social service jobs: such as social work in the field of counselling and management, work in drug abuse rehabilitation centres, health administration, family services, and disability services.
  • Politics and law Jobs: such as lawyering, legal investigation, legal aid, policy advocacy and analysis, policy analysis, urban planning, philanthropy, public administration, polling, and social research.
  • Educational jobs: such as being a university professor, college director, school principal, or working in providing services to university students or teaching in the field of social sciences.

4. Understanding the social nature of humans and emphasizing their value and dignity.

5. Helping a person understand himself better and understand the motives of the people around him.

6. Developing people’s skills, including marketing and social skills, such as communication skills, analytical skills, statistical thinking skills, research skills, and many others.

The importance of sociology at the societal level

The importance of sociology at the societal level lies in the following:

  1. Increasing the power of social work.
  2. Contribute to understanding the nature of societies.
  3. Discussing crime problems in an atypical manner.
  4. Contributing to the enrichment of human culture.
  5. Achieving social progress through the development of human well-being.
  6. Formulation and decision-making of social policies.
  7. Analyzing the causes of society’s problems and proposing appropriate methods to treat them.
  8. Looking objectively at the society in which the individual lives and at other societies.

The importance of sociology at the institutional level

The importance of sociology at the institutional level lies in the following:

  1. Studying the role of institutions in the development of individuals.
  2. Scientifically studying the social institutions of society.
  3. Providing the tools and skills necessary to create, effectively participate in, manage, and advance social groups and institutions.

The importance of sociology at the international level

The importance of sociology at the international level lies in the following:

  1. Helping governments raise their standard of living through sociology studies on tribal and marginalized societies.
  2. Contribution of sociology to solving international problems.

The importance of sociology in business

Sociology contributes to raising the level of the works that are subject to its studies through the following:

  1. Anticipating customer needs.
  2. Contributing to the public relations field is a foundation for any business company.
  3. Developing people in the business way of thinking and increasing their efficiency and analytical capabilities.
  4. Clarifying the motives and reasons for searching for work when it comes to members of different communities and regions. In terms of the conditions of these areas, number and quality of their population, the spatial, life and temporal conditions in which they live.
  5. Responding to employees’ problems in appropriate ways.
  6. When dealing with employees better, when the leader or manager is familiar with the cultural and social aspects of his employees, he avoids alienating them or harming their loyalty to the company.

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