Sociology is the social science that studies human society and social behavior.
Society: Society = a group of people who shape their lives in aggregated and patterned ways that distinguish their group from other groups
What does society look like? Society as an object itself (sui generis) it can be examined closely and analyzed like any other subject
A sociologist does to society, what a biologist does to a living organism, or a geologist does to a rock: Society becomes something scientifically weighted, measured and dissected
The Nature of Sociology 2 areas of concern Social Behavior Socialization
Levels of analysis: micro- and macro sociology: society culture Social institutions (economics, politics, education, mass media, religion) Social inequality (class, gender, ethnicity) Groups Roles Socialization Interaction self Sociology covers a wide range of topics at different levels of analysis
Social Factors A social activity or situation that can be measured or observed. Ex: Age Race Sex SES Religion Education Marriage Divorce Crime
Sample Topics Juvenile Delinquency Violence Distrust of Government What causes juvenile delinquency? What are common characteristics of juvenile delinquents? What effect does punishment have? How can it be prevented? Is violence innate or is it a learned reaction? How can it be curbed? Does teaching pacifism work? Why do people distrust the government? What percentage of people distrust the government? Do people distrust the office holder or the office? What steps must be taken in order to gain trust in government?
Fields that use Social Research Law Business Academic Communication Health and Human Services
Just about every job in today’s economy involves working with people. For this reason, studying sociology is good preparation for your future career. In what ways does having “people skills” help police officers perform their job?
A sociological imagination is the ability to see the connection between the larger world and one’s personal life. What does it mean to have a sociological imagination?
SOCIOLOGICAL IMAGINATION SOCIOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVE Look beyond commonly held beliefs to hidden meanings in human actions See beyond own day-to- day life by viewing world through others’ eyes Capacity to range from impersonal and remote [topics] to intimate features of human self To see relations between the larger world and personal life
How is Sociology similar to and different from other social sciences? SIMILAR: Examines the relations between society and culture, the individual economics, politics, and past events which are all the focus of one or more of the social sciences DIFFERENT: Sociologists are mainly interested in social interaction and tend to focus on the group rather than the individual DIVISIONS HAVE BLURRED: Sociologists borrow from the various social sciences
Anthropology-The comparative study of past and present human cultures. Political science studies principles, organization, and operation of government Economics-The study of the choices people make to satisfy their wants and needs. Psychology-The science of the mind or of mental states and processes. History- The study of past human events. Political Science
Positioning sociology among other sciences: sociology economics psychology geography Communication studies Anthropology History Political science Sociology overlaps with other social sciences, but much of the territory it covers is unique