Table of Contents
Sociology affords crucial perception and attitude to the answer of social troubles. Sociology has modified our outlook with reference to the troubles of crime, its reasons and consequences. Sociology is of exquisite significance to the information of worldwide troubles.
The simple premise of sociology is that human conduct is essentially formed through the agencies to which human beings belong and through the social interplay that takes area inside the ones agencies.
Basic Concept of Sociology
Sociology is a branch of social science that deals with society. Social relationships are the subject matter of sociology. Sociology is a new science developed only in the 19th century. Even though it is the youngest science, its scope is extremely wide. Man and society and their relationship are the specific areas of study. Sociology which had once been treated as social philosophy or the philosophy of history emerged as an independent social science in the 19th century in France. Auguste Comte, a French philosopher is popularly known as the founding father of Sociology. Comte is accredited with the coining of the term sociology in 1839.
- The term ‘society’ is the most fundamental one in Sociology.
- The term society is derived from the Latin word ‘Socius’ which means companionship or friendship.
- Companionship means sociability.
- In Sociology, the term society refers to a complex pattern of the norms of interaction that arise among the people.
- People are valuable only as agencies of social relationships.
- A society is intangible.
- George Simmel has pointed out that sociability is the essence of Society.
- It indicates that man always lives in the company of other people.
- Aristotle said “man is a social animal”.
- Man needs society for his living, working and enjoying life.
- Society has become an essential condition for human life to arise and to continue.
- Human life and society always go together
Community is a small homogeneous territorial groups having fixed geographical territory with
strong ‘we feeling’. It is human population living within a limited geographical area and carrying
on a common interdependent life. It is a distinct cultural group that can embrace natural aspect of
social life. It is a distinct cultural group having specific mother tongue, wearing patterns,
indigenous skill, locality and distinct way of life.
A social group is a system of meaningful interaction among two or more than two people. Interaction and common interest are the basic requirements to form a group. Family, neighborhood, school, political party, Mother Group, church, sports club can be taken as examples of groups. Group is the product of collective works to fulfill common goal. There are two types of social group: primary and secondary.
● The term culture is used in a specific sense and it gained popularity in Germany in the 18th century.
● It was first used in Anthropology by Edward Tylor, an English Scholar in 1871 and has come to be widely used in Sociological discourse in the 19th century.
● Both society and culture have been invariably employed and there is as yet no general agreement about its meaning.
● It is impossible to exist a society without culture and a culture without society. So culture is an unavoidable part of society
● A culture refers to the distinctive way of life of a group of people, their complete design for living.
● Culture is a very broad term that includes in itself all our walks of life, our modes of behaviour,our philosophies and ethics, our morals and manners, our customs and traditions, our religious,political, economic and other types of activities.
● In ordinary speech or writing, people often use the term institution to mean an organisation with some specific purpose, as a public or charitable institution.
● Sometimes it is used to denote any set of people in organised interaction as a family or club or government.
● For the purposes of Sociology, a more precise definition is required.
Association is a group of people, formed to a particular goal. Such a group is not of a permanent type. Its membership is voluntary and it can be dissolved after the attainment of the goal. An association is sort of a cooperative unit having its own organisation, rules and regulations.
That minority social group relating to races or a particular descent and who have the
same costumes, religion, tradition, origin etc. is called ethnic group. Each ethnic group has
indigenously own culture that is different from others. Ethnicity sometime is linked with nationality. Ethnicity is the egoism, owns, awareness, ethnic consciousness, identity, psychological inspiration of these groups arising out of their distinction and preservation of their language, geography, history and socio-political rights.
Social values are important part of the culture of the society. Values account for the stability of
social order. They provide the general guidelines for social conduct. Values such as fundamental
rights, patriotism, respect for human dignity, rationality, sacrifice, individuality, equality,
democracy etc. guide our behavior in many ways. Values may be defined as measure of goodness
or desirability. Social values are important concepts of sociology. From them an individual can identify bad or good, right & wrong practice, objects & sentiment.
Status is a term used to designate the comparative amounts of prestige, difference or respect
accorded to person who have been assigned different roles in a group or community. The status
of a person is high if the role, he is playing is considered important by the group. If the role is
regarded less high, its performance may be accorded lower status. Thus, the status of a person is
based on social evaluations.
Social class has different contextual meanings. Classes can be identified in the basis of Income, wealth, power, occupation, education, race and ethnicity. In the economic sense upper
(rich), middle (modest), and lower (poor) are the social classes. a social class refers those people who
have same opportunity, access and social prestige. In each social class there is a sense of class
consciousness. ‘Social class’ is a principal type of social stratification found especially in the modern civilized countries
Nature of Sociology
Sociology is the branch of knowledge and it has its own characteristics. Sociology has different nature in society. It is different from other sciences in certain respects.
(1) Sociology is an independent science:
Sociology is not treated and studied as a branch of any other science like philosophy, history. Now it has emerged into an independent science. As an independent science it has its own field of study.
(2) Sociology is a social science and not a physical science:
All the sciences are divided into two categories: natural sciences and social sciences. Natural sciences study physical phenomena where as social sciences study social phenomena. Social sciences include Economics, Political Science, and Anthropology etc. Sociology belongs to the family of social sciences. As a social science it concentrates its attention on man, his social behaviour, activities and social life. In other words, it studies man as a social being.
(3) Sociology is a pure science and not an applied science:
The aim of applied science is to apply the acquired knowledge into life and to put it to use. But the aim of pure sciences is the acquisition of knowledge and it is not bothered whether the acquired knowledge is useful or can be put to use. Sociology is a pure science, because it aims at the acquisition of knowledge about human society, hot the utilisation of the knowledge.
(4) Sociology is an abstract science and not a concrete science:
This doesn’t mean that Sociology, is an art and not a science. It only refers that Sociology is not interested in concrete manifestations of human events. It is more concerned with the form of human events and their patterns. Similarly, Sociology does not confine itself to the study of this society or that particular society. It simply means that Sociology is an abstract science, not a concrete science.
(5) Sociology is a categorical and not a normative discipline:
Sociology “confines itself about what is, not what should be or ought to be.” As a science it is silent about questions of value. It does not make any kind of value judgment. It only means Sociology as a discipline cannot deal with problems of good and evil, right and wrong.
(6) Sociology is a generalising and not a particularising science:
Sociology does not study each and every event that takes place in society. It makes generalization on the basis of some selected events. For example, not by studying or examining all the secondary groups but by observing a few secondary groups, a sociologist makes generalization of secondary groups.
(7) Sociology is a general science and not a special social science:
The area of inquiry of Sociology is general and not specialised. Social sciences like Political Science, History, Economics, etc. study human interaction but not all about human interactions. But Sociology does not investigate special kind of phenomena in relation to human life, and activities but it only studies human activities in a general way.
(8) Sociology is both a rational and empirical science:
Empiricism is the approach that emphasizes experiences and the facts that result from observation and experimentation. On the other hand, rationalism stresses reason and theories that result from logical inference. The empiricist collects facts, the rationalist co-ordinates and arranges them. In sociological theory both are significant. Thus, Sociology is both a rational and empirical science.
Importance of Sociology
Sociology studies society in a scientific way
Before the emergence of sociology there was no systematic and scientific attempt to study human society with all its complexities. Sociology has made it possible to study society in a scientific manner. This scientific knowledge about human society is needed in order to achieve progress in various fields.
Sociology throws more light on the social nature of man
Sociology delves deep into the social nature of man. It tells us why man is a social animal, why he lives in a group, communities and societies. It examines the relationship between individual and society, the impact of society on man and other matters.
Sociology increases the power of social action
The science of society assists an individual to understand himself, his capacities, talents and limitations. It enables him to adjust himself to the environment. Knowledge of society, social groups, social institutions, associations, their functions etc. helps us to lead an effective social life.
Sociology studies role of the institutions in the development of the individuals
It is through sociology that scientific study of the great social institutions and the relation of the individual to each is being made. The home and family, the school and education, the church and religion, the state and government, industry and work, the community and association, these are institutions through which society functions. Sociology studies these institutions and their role in the development of the individual and suggests suitable measures for strengthening them with a view to enable them to serve the individual better.
Study of sociology is indispensable for understanding and planning of society
Society is a complex phenomenon with a multitude of intricacies. It is impossible to understand and solve its numerous problems without support of sociology. It is rightly said that we cannot understand and mend society without any knowledge of its mechanism and construction. Without the investigation carried out by sociology no real effective social planning would be possible. It helps us to determine the most efficient means for reaching the goals agreed upon. A certain amount of knowledge about society is necessary before any social policies can be carried out.
Sociology is of great importance in the solution of social problems
The present world is suffering from many problems that can be solved through scientific study of the society. It is the task of sociology to study the social problems through the methods of scientific research and to find out solution to them. The scientific study of human affairs will ultimately provide the body of knowledge and principles that will enable us to control the conditions of social life and improve them.
Sociology has drawn our attention to the intrinsic worth and dignity of man
Sociology has been instrumental in changing our attitude towards human beings. In a specialized society we are all limited as to the amount of the whole organization and culture that we can experience directly. We can hardly know the people of other areas intimately. In order to have insight into and appreciation of the motives by which others live and the conditions under which they exist knowledge of sociology is essential.
Sociology has changed our outlook with regard to the problems of crime
It is through the study of sociology that our whole outlook on various aspects of crime has change. The criminals are now treated as human beings suffering from mental deficiencies and efforts are accordingly made to rehabilitate them as useful members of the society.
Sociology has made great contribution to enrich human culture
Human culture has been made richer by the contribution of sociology. The social phenomenon is now understood in the light of scientific knowledge and enquiry. According to Lowie most of us harbor the comfortable delusion that our way of doing things is the only sensible if not only possible one. Sociology has given us training to have rational approach to questions concerning oneself, one’s religion, customs, morals and institutions. It has further taught us to be objective, critical and dispassionate.
Sociology is of great importance in the solution of international problems
The progress made by physical sciences has brought the nations of the world nearer to each other. But in the social field the world has been left behind by the revolutionary progress of the science. The world is divided politically giving rise to stress and conflict. Men have failed to bring in peace. Sociology can help us in understanding the underlying causes and tensions.
The value of sociology lies in the fact that it keeps us update on modern situations
It contributes to making good citizens and finding solutions to the community problems. It adds to the knowledge of the society. It helps the individual find his relation to society. The study of social phenomena and of the ways and means of promoting what Giddens calls social adequacy is one of the most urgent needs of the modern society. Sociology has a strong appeal to all types of mind through its direct bearing upon many of the initial problems of the present world.
Study of society has helped governments to promote the welfare of the tribal and marginalized communities
The tribal and marginalized communities face many socio-economic and cultural problems. Studies conducted by sociologists and anthropologists regarding tribal societies and problems have helped governments in undertaking social welfare measures and programmes for the welfare purposes.
Sociology is useful as a teaching subject
Sociology is a profession in which technical competence brings its own rewards. Sociologists those trained in research procedures are contributing in business, government, industry, social sector, communications and many other areas of community life. Sociology has now become practical enough to be practiced in the other fields prominently in local, state, national and international levels.
Basic Concepts of Sociology – PDF Notes
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