The study of society-socius (being with others) ology (the study of)
Creator of name: Auguste Comte
Sociology is the disciplined study of human social behavior, especially the
investigation of the origins, classifications, institutions, and development of human
society on a global level
1) Society: The sociologist thinks of society as a denoting a large complex of
human relationships, or to put it in more technical language, as referring to a
system of interaction.
2) The Social: As one in which people orient their actions towards one another.
Sociological Perspective: A view of society based on the dynamic relationship
between individuals and the larger social network in which we all live in.
C Wright Mills (conflict theorist)
- Develop sociological imagination
- Being able to think about private troubles in relation to public issues
- Instead of focusing on one person’s problems, focusing if that problem is larger
- Helps us understand that things change over time
- Situate the self in relation to the society: An individual’s failures and their successes
are not there’s alone.
- Sociological Imagination: C.W Mills term for the ability to perceive how
dynamic social forces influence individual lives.
- Quality of mind: Mills term for the ability to view personal circumstances within
- Sociologist: object for them is to look for the strange and the familiar as well as the
general and the particular.
- Take an experience snapshot, we abstract it and see how certain ideas are taken
from it. (genders, actions etc)
- Seeing the General in the Particular: the ability to look at seemingly unique
events or circumstances and then recognize the larger features involved.
- Seeing the Strange in the Familiar: thinking about the familiar and seeing it as the
strange. Origins of Sociology
- The development of the scientific method during the Enlightenment period that
followed facilitated the pace of social change
- One of the first thinkers to consider the science method is Adam Comte. Comte
believed that if the world was interpreted through a scientific lens then society
could be guided by observation, experimentation and logic.
- Positivism: is a theoretical approach that considers all understanding to be based
- Comte believed that society would be better run if we used positivism to make our
decisions on social policy.
- The Enlightenment inspired a great deal of social and scientific change. With a new
view as spate from the teachings of the church, society evolved to endorse
- Machiavelli Descartes, and Hobbes challenged social convection and inspired new
ways of understanding the social world.
- Machiavelli: Humans are able to understand their world through rational reflection.
- Many philosophical and social trends began during the Renaissance continued to
develop through the Enlightenment. Locke, Rousseau helped in the development of
- Locke: all knowledge is from experience.
- Locke: to increase knowledge we must gather more info about the material world
through science and experimentation
- Rousseau: human beings existed in a natural sate whereby individuals desire is self-
- Philosophers and social activists promoted novel ideals such as individual rights
and social responsibility, equality, of opportunity, and the political ideology of
- Industrial Revolution replaced agriculture as our dominant means of supporting
ourselves and our families
- Changed virtually every aspect of life: family structures, peoples thoughts, dreams,
- Many technological advancements - Moving from agricultural and rural economy to a capitalist and urban one has left a
legacy that some would argue we are still trying to deal with today.
- Moving from a rural to an urban environment led to a new series of social problems,
including child labor factories, crushing poverty, malnourishment, and exploding