What is SOCIOLOGY?
According to Morris Ginsberg : “In the broadest sense, sociology is the study of human interactions and inter-relations, their conditions and consequences.” So in short, Sociology is the scientific study of human social life, groups and societies.
Origin of sociology
Sociology was not a distinct discipline before the occurrence of the 19th century. Only in the 19th century sociology came up as a distinctive discipline that is when European social observers started the use of scientific methods to test their ideas, their hypothesis and theories.
There were three major factors led to the development of sociology.
• The first was the Industrial revolution
• The second factor that stimulated the development of sociology was imperialism.
• The third reason for the evolution of sociology was the success of the natural sciences.
The Greek philosophers and their European descendents discussed a lot on the subject matter of sociology without casting it aside as a separate discipline. In the initial years of the 19th century, the subject matter of the social sciences was under the vast ocean of knowledge known as moral philosophy. Even after Auguste Comte coined the term sociology to this subject matter in 1838, sociological findings and subject matter was combined with other subjects mainly philosophy, for all most about sixty years. Only when the universities started offering courses and specializations and training in sociology as a discipline that there were people who were recognized as a full time sociologist who are professional. The commitment was made by scholars from other disciplines such as economics and history.
As early as 1876, at the newly established Johns Hopkins University, some part of sociology was taught in the department of history and politics. By the late 1890s almost all higher-educational institutions in the United States had departments of sociology and also offered courses in the discipline.
In 1895 the American Journal of Sociology began publication at the University of Chicago; in time a large number of journals were published in many other countries. The American Sociological Society was institutionalized and formed after ten years, which was followed by a huge number of international, national, regional and specialized sociological organizations and institutions. Eventually in 1949 the International Sociological Association was established under the sponsorship of UNESCO, and Louis Wirth of the University of Chicago was elected its first president.
Role of sociology in the present
Sociology had not achieved as many victories as compared to those of the older and more heavily promoted sciences. Several interpretations have been given to explain the difference between sociology and other disciplines, most often, that of the growth of sociological knowledge is more random than cumulative. In the growing years of sociology most of its content was based on or was put aside as common sense or something everyone knows and need not be studied as a separate subject. Yet, in some parts of the discipline, such as human ecology, demography, mobility, methodology, social differentiation, small-group interaction attitude research, mass communication, and public opinion a slow but significant gathering of organized and tested knowledge has been collected and assessed. By comparison, some other disciplines lack this expanding knowledge of literature. Still, the slow development of published sociological research may be because of a variety of factors:
• Excessive Imitation Of Natural Science Methodology
• Overdependence On Interview Data
• Informal Observations.
Sociology has many perceptions and it does not rule off any answer as wrong. Sociology is a field in which sociologists collect information from the field which is always changing or adapting to its surroundings. Present day sociology is indeed marked by all these disadvantages, but on the whole there has been progress toward clearer communication and improved methodology, both of which will surely give us more reliable data. As a result, conclusions are drawn from research methods applied to imitate studies that are, in turn, have lower dependence on the strength of one particular scientific device.
Bias is something which is commonly affecting the subject matter of sociology. This may arise due to the fact that the subject matter of sociology is familiar and important in everyone’s daily life, and also everyone has a good amount of knowledge on the most basic and simple concepts that are covered by sociology.
Sociology will continue to grow in the coming future. Among the present trends addition to the growth will increase in public recognition of the subject and the continuing growth of funds for research and teaching, the constant reduction of sectarian resistance to the study of social institutions, the clarification of methodologies that allow statistical analysis, and the advancement of approval from scientists in other fields. Despite elements such as extreme nationalism and internal conflict can curb growth in sociology, such conditions have slowed down development only locally and on temporary basis.
Furthermore, it appears most likely that the public has taken some interest in the development of sociological knowledge. This will keep on growing as more people come to realize what sociology can help us in terms of human safety and welfare. Advances in science and technology will always have abrupt and unintended consequences. Progress can certainly curtail the effects of natural catastrophes such as famine and disease, but progress can also bring about a wide range of new problems. These are not the problems of an detached nature but dangers that arise from imperfection in human behaviour, especially in organized human relations. It can be said that politics, unaided by social science and other disciplines, cannot reverse this trend.
Problems inside the nations are seen as increasing start of human troubles. There is a general rise in the cruelty of ethnic bitterness and of internal conflicts between generations, divisions of the populations, and other political factions. Human welfare is also threatened by widespread poverty, crime, vice, political corruption, and breakdowns in the family and in other institutions. Presently existing sociology subject matter does not yet give us the solutions, but its practitioners trust that the expectations for human betterment depend in large part on the increasing utilization of social science knowledge to these surviving problems.
Applications for sociology also turn out to be growing in several directions. Many sociologists are hired by international and national bodies to propose programs, evaluate their progress and effects, gather information and data for planning, and recommend methods for commence change. Sociologists help industries by gathering data on personnel or public relations problems, initiating labor unions with consultation, helping communities undertake reform, counseling families, and donating or selling advice to consumer groups. As long as institutions need data on their various publics, there will be big demand for sociological knowledge.
advancement into the deeper sociological questions will require greater and better resources, larger research teams, and special research agencies. This compares to the increased complexity of research organization that occurred in the older sciences. In addition, large-scale sociological research will continue to be enhanced by the availability of computers and the Internet and by the use of complex statistical techniques.
The principal employment of sociologists has been in academic institutions, but other employment possibilities have opened in recent decades. Social welfare agencies have long employed sociologists, and government organizations of all types—from bureaus dealing with population, budgets, and education to departments concentrating on crime, agriculture, and health matters—have tapped sociologists for help in research, planning, and administration. Other directions of sociological activity include the roles of consultant, social critic, social activist, and even revolutionary. When the activity diverges far enough from true scholarship and traditional academic sociology, it may cease to be regarded as sociological, but it appears likely that sociologists will continue to spread their activities over an ever-widening region of national or global concern. In the present times Sociology as a discipline has been given a lot of importance and is also encouraged for students to take this discipline as a choice for their future career. Many organizations are now employing sociologists for the better understanding. Sociologists are employed as
1. Advice worker
1. Community development worker
2. Family support worker
3. Further education teacher
4. International aid/development worker
5. Social researcher
6. Social worker
7. Youth worker
8. Actuarial analyst
9. Charity fundraiser
11. Housing manager/officer
12. Human resources officer
13. Life coach
14. Probation officer
15. Public relations officer
16. UX analyst
A few educational institutions that offer sociology
1. Harvard university
2. University of California
3. University of Oxford
4. Stanford university
5. Loyola college
6. St. Xavier’s college
7. Christ university
And so on….