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Lecture 1

SOC 103 Lecture Notes - Lecture 1: Auguste Comte, Human Science, Upper Class

Course Code
SOC 103
Sal Guzzo

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SOC103 Lecture 1
What is Sociology?
Sociology: the systematic study of human society and social interaction
Sociology, like other human sciences (psychology, anthropology, economics, etc.), attempts to help us
understand and explain human behaviour
Sociology is a human science; it is the study of human social relationships and institutions
It differs from the other human sciences also called a social sciences
It attempts to explain human behaviour by focusing on how society is structured or organized
Social Groups
Sociologists focus on the groups people belong to and how these groups affect behaviour
Examples of Groups
o What social class you belong to:
Upper class, middle class, working class
o What educational group you belong to:
Degree, High school, elementary school
o Upper income, middle income, lower income
o Single, married, divorced
o Catholic, Jew, Muslim, Anglican, Atheist
o Union member, non-union member
o Full-time, part-time, unemployed, retired
o Male, female, man or woman
Different Theoretical Perspectives
Sociologists view human behaviour from different theoretical perspectives; The theoretical
perspective affects how one interprets behaviour
Is the behaviour driven by Macro-level factors?
o This idea suggests that society causes people to behave in a particular way; they are influenced by
society, and are not entirely in control of themselves
Is the behaviour driven by Micro-level factors?
o This idea suggests that individuals create their own realities
Origin of Sociology
Sociology originates from the Enlightenment (17th & 18th century) which occurs during the
Renaissance (14th to 17th century)
The Renaissance
o The Renaissance (rebirth of society) occurred after the Dark Ages, which arose after the fall of the
Roman Empire
Dark Ages
o During the dark ages, we lost our scientific knowledge
o Religion ruled
We discovered our scientific roots during the Renaissance
Birth of Sociology
o During the Enlightenment, social thinkers applied scientific methods to the study of human
Auguste Comte: Father of Sociology
o Comte viewed the study of human behaviour as social physics
o He proposed we use scientific methods to study people; He coined the term sociology
o Positivism: a belief that the world can best be understood through scientific inquiry
Other Founders of Sociology
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