organizing society and that human intervention can therefore solve social
problems. 3. Industrial Revolution (1780) created a host of new and serious
social problems that attracted the attention of many social thinkers.
Core of the scientific method: using evidence to make a case for a particular
point of view. When sociology emerged as a distinct discipline in the 19th
century, commitment to the scientific method was one firm pillar of the
The 2nd pillar of the sociological imagination is the realization that people control
society and can change it. The American Revolution (1775-83) & the French
Revolution (1789-99) helped to undermine the ideas that God ordained the social
order. These democratic political upheavals showed that people control society.
The implications for social thought were profound, for if it was possible to
change society by human intervention, then a science of society could play a big
role. Much of the justification for sociology as a science arose out of the
democratic revolutions that shook Europe and North America.
The 3rd pillar of the sociological imagination was the Industrial Revolution that
began in England about 1780. People under terrible working conditions reacted to
the filth and poverty of their existence by means of strikes, crime, revolution, and
The Scientific Revolution suggested that a science of society is possible. The
Democratic Revolution suggested that people can intervene to improve society.
The Industrial Revolution now presented social thinkers with a host of pressing
social problems crying out for solutions.
As a French social thinker in 1838, Auguste Comte coined the term sociology.
He tried to place the study of society on scientific foundations and understand
the social world as it is instead of what anyone imagined it should be. He wanted
to test the validity of his ideas through careful observation of the real world
rather than assuming that “God” or “human nature” determined the shape of
Comte witnessed the democratic forces unleashed by the French Revolution, the
early industrialization of society and the rapid growth of cities, all of which
shocked and angered him cuz rapid social change was destroying many of the
things he valued. He urged slow change and the preservation of much that was
traditional in social life. Thus, at its very origin, sociological research was
motivated by adherence to scientific methods of research and a vision of the ideal
Karl Marx, Emile Durkheim, and Max Weber lived in the period from 1820 to
1920. They witnessed various phases of Europe’s wrenching transition to
industrial capitalism, and they wanted to understand and explain it. The ideas
they developed are not just diagnostic tools from which we can still learn much
but also, like many sociological ideas, prescriptions for combating social ills.
Knowledge isn’t always necessary right: based on tradition, authority, casual
observation, overgeneralization, selective observation, qualification, illogical
reasoning, ego-defense, premature closure of inquiry, mystification.
Sociological ideas are generally stated in the form of theories. A theory is a
tentative explanation of some aspect of social life that states how and why certain
facts are related.