History of sociology: Sociology emerged from enlightenment thought, shortly after the French Revolution, as a positivist science of society. Its genesis owed to various key movements in the philosophy of science and the philosophy of knowledge. Social analysis in a broader sense, however, has origins in the common stock of philosophy and necessarily pre-dates the field. Modern academic sociology arose as a reaction to modernity, capitalism, urbanization, rationalization, and secularization, bearing a particularly strong interest in the emergence of the modern nation state; its constituent institutions, its units of socialization, and its means of surveillance. An emphasis on the concept of modernity, rather than the Enlightenment, often distinguishes sociological discourse from that of classical political philosophy. Within a relatively brief period of time the discipline greatly expanded and diverged, both topically and methodologically, particularly as a result of myriad reactions against empiricism. Historical debates are broadly marked by theoretical disputes over the primacy of either structure or agency. Contemporary social theory has tended toward the attempt to reconcile these dilemmas. Whilst postmodernist trends in recent years have seen a rise in highly abstracted theory, new quantitative data collection methods have also emerged, and remain common tools for governments, businesses and organizations. Social research sprang from sociology, but has since gained a degree of autonomy as practitioners from other disciplines share its purpose. Similarly, "social science" has come to be appropriated as an umbrella term to refer to various disciplines which study society or human culture. Sociological doctrine or biological theory becomes sociological theory something, which is impossible to decide.
The term 'Sociology' was coined by Auguste Comte, a French philosopher in 1839. It is the youngest of all social sciences. Sociology is the outcome of man's search for a more valid, and precise knowledge about the nature of man and the society.
The word 'Sociology' is derived from the Latin word 'Societus' meaning 'society and the Greek word 'logos' meaning 'study or science'. Thus, the etymological meaning of 'Sociology' is the 'science of society'. In other words, we can say Sociology is the study of man's behaviour in groups or of interaction among human beings of social relationships and the processes by which human group activity takes place. Sociology is the study of human social life. Human social life is complex and encompasses many facets of the human experience. Because of the complexity, the discipline of sociology subdivided over time into specialty areas. The first section of this book covers the foundations of sociology, including an introduction to the discipline, the methods of study, and some of the dominant theoretical perspectives. The remaining chapters focus on the different areas of study in sociology
Definitions: To make the study more clear, it is wise on our part to discuss some of the definitions given by famous sociologists. Unfortunately, there is no short-cut definition of Sociology so far. It has been defined in a number of ways by different sociologists, but no single definition of Sociology has yet been accepted as completely satisfactory. Auguste Comte, the founding father of Sociology, defines Sociology "as the science of social phenomena subject to natural and invariable laws, the discovery of which is the object of investigation." Kingsley Davis defines Sociology as a "general science of society." Durkheim defines Sociology as the "science of social institution". Harry M. Jonson opines that "Sociology is the science that deals with social groups." Of the various definitions given by sociologists, the definition of Ginsberg seems to be more satisfactory. Moris Ginsberg defines Sociology "as the study of human interactions and interrelations, their condition and consequences."
Scope of Sociology: Scope means the subject matter or the areas of study. Every science has its own field of inquiry. It becomes difficult to study a science systematically unless its boundary or scope is determined precisely. Sociology as a social science has its own scope or boundaries. But there is no one opinion about the scope of Sociology. However, there are two main schools of thought regarding the scope of Sociology: (1) The Specialist or Formalistic school and (2) the Synthetic school. There is a good deal of controversy about the scope of Sociology between the two schools. The supporter of first school believe that Sociology is a specific science and the scope should be limited whereas others believe that it is a general science and its scope is very vast Every science has its own areas of inquiry. It becomes difficult for any one to study a science systematically unless its boundaries are demarcated and scope determined precisely. Unfortunately, there is no consensus on the part of sociologist with regard to the scope of sociology. V. F. Calberton comments. "Since sociology is so elastic a science, it is difficult to determine just where its boundaries began and end, where sociology becomes social psychology and where social psychology becomes sociology, or where economic theory becomes
Specialistic school: The supporters of this school of thought are George Simmel, Vierkandt, Max Weber, Vonwise, and F. Tonnies. The main views of the school regarding the scope of Sociology are Sociology is a specific, pure and independent social science. Sociology studies the various forms of social relationships. Scope of Sociology is very narrow and limited. Sociology deals with specific form of human relationship. Sociology need not study all the events connected with social science.
Simmel believes that it is a specific social science and it should deal with social relationships from different angles.
Criticism: Sociologist alone does not study the forms of social relationships. Other social scientists also do that. The distinction between the forms of social relations and their contents is not practicable. Thirdly, the formalistic school has narrowed down the scope of Sociology. Finally, the conception of pure Sociology is imaginary.
Synthetic school: The supporters of synthetic school are the sociologists like Ginsberg, Durkheim, Comte, Sorokin, Spencer, F. Ward, and L.T. Hobhouse. According to this schoolSociology is a general and systematic social science. Scope of Sociology is very vast. Sociology needs help from other social sciences. It is a synthesis of social science. Sociology is closely related with other social sciences.
Conclusion: From the above discussion, we come to know that formalistic school believes in the study of the parts, which makes up the society and synthetic school advocates the study of the whole society. However, both the schools complement to each other. They are not opposed to each other. Thus, Sociology is a general science of society and specialised
discipline. Sociology is a growing science. Therefore, it is neither possible nor desirable to restrict its scope.
Relationship of sociology with other Social sciences: Sociology deals with society [people]; how people interact, their culture, norms, values just like other social sciences like psychology, economics, psychology which also deal with people and how they behave, their mental processes. There is also a relationship between sociology and economics which is another social science. Economics deals with the production of goods and services and how they are distributed to people just like sociology which also considers how the goods are distributed to members of the society. Sciences related to sociology are social sciences. Social science are sciences which deal with people and have the following characteristics; observable, measurable, practical, factual. Relationship with Psychology: Psychology and sociology link on that they al deal with the behavior of people, psychology deals with the behavior of people and their mental process just like sociology which also seek to understand how people's behavior affect society. Relationship with Anthropology: Anthropology and sociology also deal with society but the only difference is that social anthropology mainly considers small states and their culture but their area of studies is basically the same. Relationship with Political science: Sociology and political science are also related in the sense that they both concern the welfare of people in a society. political science basically deals with the distribution of power and the exercise of power,democracy,dictatorship,communism,how people vote etc. Relationship with History: 5
History is another social science which is related to sociology. History primarily deals with past events and how they affected society e.g. how the colonization of Africa underdeveloped Africa. Sociology on the other end will be concerned with how people interacted, how culture was affected etc during the colonization and the present. Relationship with Geography: Geography can also be a social science which deals with society just like sociology. The population studies, demography, health and environment are all geographical studies which deal with society which are also interrelated to sociology as a field of study.
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