What is sociology in simple terms?
Sociology is defined as the study of human values, relationships, beliefs and society. An example of sociology is what someone is studying when they attend a religious service of a religion that isn’t their own.
Sociology is a study of society, patterns of social relationships, social interaction and culture of everyday life. It is a social science that uses various methods of empirical investigation and critical analysis to develop a body of knowledge about social order, acceptance, and change or social evolution
Today we kick off Crash Course Sociology by explaining what exactly sociology is. We’ll introduce the sociological perspective and discuss how sociology differentiates itself from the other social sciences. We’ll also explore what sociology can do, and how a concern with social problems was at the center of sociology’s beginnings.
In this introduction to the discipline of sociology, Dr. Lori Peek overviews the focus, history and approach of sociological inquiry. She defines sociology as the systematic study of society, and the sociological perspective as one that analyzes patterns of individual experience. She identifies several foundation thinkers, including Comte, Marx, Weber and Durkheim, and describes the major theoretical approaches that derive from them. She also focuses on methodological aspects of sociology, defining the scales at which sociologists work and the differences between quantitative and qualitative data gathering and analysis. She highlights some key sociological concepts, including structure and agency, social stratification and inequality. She ends by discussing the future of sociology, and highlights the move toward interdisciplinary work and new methodologies to address wicked problems
Generally speaking, it attempts to explain the outcomes of individuals and their personal attributes, opinions, tastes, and characteristics in terms of their social environment. More specifically, it is an application of statistical analysis and the search for cause and effect relationships between identifiable social variables like race, religion, income, earnings, education, gender, etc.
The field is broad, however, and a lot of sociological literature can easily delve into subject matter that is classifiable as psychology, history, philosophy, economics, and theories of knowledge.
Ultimately, what Sociology is “for” is to help explain the human condition by making reference to our self-created environments and understanding how the reflexive nature of social action contributes to the formation of personal identity, intersubjective meanings, beliefs and cultures, institutional arrangements and political structures.