Sociology is the systematic study of the development, structure, interaction, and collective behavior of organized groups of human beings.

If you studied sociology in university you could do papers on cool things like the slashdot effect or the linux community.

Recently a new branch of sociology has emerged, known as cybersociology which you might think is closely related to cyberanthropology, but isn't.

Sociology was born out of the French Revolution. It was a time of social and economic changes, also the industrial revolution in England brought about displacement of peasants, and were replaced with wage laborers.

The two founding fathers of sociology were Henri de Saint Simon and Auguste Comte. They produced causes of society, and that our knowledge could be used to benefit socity. Their writings deal with social class, power, religion, and idealogy.

The basic insight of sociology is that human behavior is profoundly influenced and sometimes determined by the norms of the groups in which we interact. The smallest group studied in sociology is a Dyad (Dyad - smallest unit for analysis in sociology, a group of two).

The three major sociological perspectives:

1. Symbolic interactionist perspective
2. Functionalist perspective
3. Conflict perspective

Symbolic interactionist perspective is the subject of meaning. Nothing in the universe in and of itself has meaning. Human beings assign a meaning to everythng.

The functionalist perspective is concerned with the way in which society is organized to create stability and order. (Stability and order for whose expense?) Often there is confusion between prescription and description. Functionalist is commited to the status quo.

The conflict perspective focuses on social dynamics and change: wealth, power, and prestige. (For whom is society serving? Whom is it not serving?)

The social construction of reality: We interpret meaning in order to construct our behavior in appropriate allignment with each other based upon our interpretation of the meaning of the event.

So`ci*ol"o*gy (?), n. [L. socius a companion + -logy.]

That branch of philosophy which treats of the constitution, phenomena, and development of human society; social science.

H. Spencer.


© Webster 1913.

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