Introduction to Sociology
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| Meaning of Sociology

Starting introduction to sociology is concerned with human relationships. Its emphasis is on the social aspect of these relationships. Its real subject matter is social relationships. The basis of social interaction of social processes is social relationships.

Definition of Sociology

Morris Ginsberg – Sociology is the study of human interaction and interrelationships, their condition, and consequences.

W. F. Ogburn – Sociology is a body of learning about society. It is a description of ways to make society better. It is social ethics, a social philosophy. Generally, however, it is defined as a science of society.

Thus, sociology is the science of society of social relationships, the study of social life, the study of human behavior in groups, the study of social action, forms of social relationships, social groups, or social systems.

Similarly, sociology is also the systematic study of society and social interaction. To carry out their studies, sociologists identify cultural patterns and social forces and determine how they affect individuals and groups. They also develop ways to apply their findings to the real world.

The History of Sociology

Sociology was developed as a way to study and try to understand the changes to society brought on by the industrial revolution in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Some of the earliest sociologists thought that societies and individuals’ roles in society could be studied using the same scientific methodologies that were used in the natural sciences, while others believed that it was impossible to predict human behavior scientifically, and still others debated the value of such predictions. Those perspectives continue to be represented within sociology today.

Theoretical Perspectives of Sociology

Sociologists develop theories to explain social events, interactions, and patterns. A theory is a proposed explanation of those patterns. Theories have different scales.

Macro-level theories, such as structural functionalism and conflict theory, attempt to explain how societies operate as a whole. Micro-level theories, such as symbolic interactionism, focus on interactions between individuals.

Why Study Sociology?

Studying sociology is beneficial both for the individual and for society. By studying sociology people learn how to think critically about social issues and problems that confront our society.

The study of sociology enriches students’ lives and prepares them for careers in an increasingly diverse world. Society benefits because people with sociological training are better prepared to make informed decisions about social issues and take effective action to deal with them.

Nature of Sociology

  • It is an interdependent science, not treated as a branch of other science.
  • Related to other social sciences like economics, political science, psychology, history, and anthropology, dealing with the various activities.
  • Aims to get knowledge of social phenomena and it may apply the proper knowledge for the welfare of human society.
  • It doesn’t deal with each and every event that takes place in society, rather it tries to make generalizations based on the study of some related events.
  • Silence on the question of value as a discipline, it can’t deal with the problems of good and bad, right and wrong.
  • Based on rationalism and empiricism.

Famous sociologist Robert Bierstedt in the book “The Social Order” clearly explains the nature of sociology in the following ways:

  • Sociology is a social and not a natural science.
  • Sociology is a positive and normative science.
  • Sociology is pure science and not applied science.
  • Sociology is an abstract science and not a concrete science.
  • Sociology is a generalizing science and not a particularizing science.
  • Sociology is both a rational and empirical science.


| Relationship Between Sociology and Economics

Sociology is the mother of all social sciences. Hence, it has a close relationship with all social sciences and also with economics. The relationship between sociology with economics is very close, intimate, and personal. There exists a close relationship between these two because economic relationship bears a close relationship to social activities and relationships.

Likewise, social relationship is also affected by economic relationships. Economic activities to a great extent are social activities. Hence, both are mutually related.

Sociology is a science of society. It is concerned with the association of human beings. Sociology is the study of human interactions and inter-relations conditions and consequences. But economics deals with the economic activities of man.

Economics is a science of wealth and choice. According to professor Lionel Robbins, economics is a social science that studies human behavior about its unlimited ends and scarce means which have alternative uses. It is concerned with the activities of a man such as production, consumption, distribution, and exchange. It also studies the structure and functions of different economic organizations like banks and markets, etc. It is concerned with the material needs of man as well as his material welfare.


| Relationship Between Sociology and Psychology

Sociology is a science of society. Hence it is closely related to other social sciences and so also to psychology. Sociology and psychology are very closely interlinked, interrelated, and interdependent.

The relationship between the two is so close and intimate that psychologist like Karl Pearson refuses to accept both as a special science. Both depend on each other for their own comprehension. Their relationship will be clear if we analyze their interrelationship and mutual dependency.

Sociology is the science of social phenomena and social relationships. It is a science of social groups and social institutions. It is a science of collective behavior. It studies human behavior in groups. But psychology is a science of mind of mental processes.

Psychology is the science of human behavior. It analyses attitudes, emotions, perception, the process of learning and values of individuals, and the process of perception, the process of personality formation in society. In the words of Robert H. Thouless, psychology is the positive science of human experience and behavior. But both sciences are closely related to each other.


| Relationship Between Sociology and Anthropology

Sociology and anthropology are so closely related that they often appear as two names for the same field of inquiry. Sociology is the science of society and anthropology is the science of man. Both society and man are complementary to each other.

Anthropology is mainly divided into two categories:

  1. Physical Anthropology
  2. Cultural Anthropology

The subject matter of sociology and cultural anthropology are more or less the same. Both of them study culture, marriage, family, kinship, religion, etc. Due to this close relationship between these two, there is a combined department of sociology and anthropology in most universities of the world.


| Relevance of Sociology in Management and Business Administration

Sociology is general behavioral science. It has important practical relevance in management and business administration. It can contribute to reform in management and business administration in several ways.

An improved understanding of social circumstances often gives us a better chance of controlling and handling management and business administration. We can investigate the consequences of the adoption of particular policies in management and business administration with the help of sociological knowledge.

It helps managers and business administrators to understand their role as social agents whose job requires interaction with and understanding different people of different socio-cultural groups. It provides self-enlightenment offering individuals and groups an increased opportunity to after the condition on their own.

Sociology helps managers and business administrators to understand the sociocultural factors which are the barriers and support to management administration and positive outcomes. Sociology with its focus on groups, organization, social interaction, and culture, is complementary to management and business administration. Sociology helps management students for understanding socio-cultural change.

The sociological perspective allows us to see behind a person and not take everything personally. Sociology investigates human engagement with their social production and the impact of society dealing with the management of various organizations.

Sociology provides social background to understand the relationship between administrators and customers. Business administrators and entrepreneurs who have a good knowledge of sociology are able in anticipating customers’ needs and can respond to various problems.

Sociology knowledge helps managers and business administrators to develop their analytical thinking and capabilities. Sociology helps managers and business administrators in dealing with their employees and customers in their workplace.

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