Sociology

Sociology is the scientific study of human social behavior and its origins, development, organizations, and institutions. It is a social science which uses various methods of empirical investigation and critical analysis to develop a body of knowledge about human social activity. For many sociologists the goal is to conduct research which may be applied directly to social policy and welfare, while others focus primarily on refining the theoretical understanding of social processes. Subject matter ranges from the micro level of individual agency and interaction to the macro level of systems and the social structure.

The traditional focuses of sociology have included social stratification, social class, culture, social mobility, religion, secularization, law, and deviance. As all spheres of human activity are affected by the interplay between social structure and individual agency, sociology has gradually expanded its focus to further subjects, such as health, medical, military and penal institutions, the Internet, and the role of social activity in the development of scientific knowledge.

The range of social scientific methods has also expanded. Social researchers draw upon a variety of qualitative and quantitative techniques. The linguistic and cultural turns of the mid-twentieth century led to increasingly interpretative, hermeneutic, and philosophic approaches to the analysis of society. Conversely, recent decades have seen the rise of new analytically, mathematically and computationally rigorous techniques, such as agent-based modelling and social network analysis. Sociology should not be confused with various general social studies courses which bear little relation to sociological theory or social science research methodology.

Read more about SociologyTheoretical Frameworks, Structure and Agency, Research Methodology, Areas of Sociology, Sociology and The Other Academic Disciplines, Journals

Other articles related to "sociology":

Sociological Terms
... Sociology is the scientific study of human society and its origins, development, organizations, and institutions ... The traditional focuses of sociology include social stratification, social class, culture, race and ethnicity, gender and sexuality, social mobility, religion, secularization, law, and deviance ... the interplay between social structure and individual agency, sociology has gradually expanded its focus to further subjects, such as health, medical ...
Sociological Terms - Scope and Topics - Literature
... Sociology of literature is a subfield of sociology of culture ... None of the founding fathers of sociology produced a detailed study of literature, but they did develop ideas that were subsequently applied to literature by ... Durkheim's view of sociology as the study of externally-defined social facts was redirected towards literature by Robert Escarpit ...
Sociological Terms - Scope and Topics - Health and Illness
... The sociology of health and illness focuses on the social effects of, and public attitudes toward, illnesses, diseases, disabilities and the aging process ... Medical sociology, by contrast, focuses on the inner-workings of medical organizations and clinical institutions ... In Britain, sociology was introduced into the medical curriculum following the Goodenough Report (1944) ...
Sociology - Journals
... The most highly ranked journals in the field of general sociology are Sociological Perspectives, the American Sociological Review, the American Journal of Sociology ...

Famous quotes containing the word sociology:

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