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What is sociology?
• Sociology is the systematic study of human society
and social interaction.
• Sociology is the study of groups and group
interactioj, societies and social interactions,
from small and personal groups to very large
What do sociologists study?
• They study all aspects and levels of society
(macro and micro)
• They are interested I the experiences of
individuals and how they are shaped by
society and culture
• They focus on social patterns created by
individuals and how these are shaped by
cultural forces
Society and culture
• A society is a large social grouping that shares the same
geographical territory and is subject to the same political
authority and dominant cultural expectations.
• Culture refers to the groups shared practices
values and beliefs. Culture encompasses a
groups way of life, from routine, everyday
interactions to the most important parts of
group members lives.
Studying part and whole
• A key basis of the sociological perspective is
the concept that the individual and society are
• It is impossible to study one without the other.
History of Sociology
– Sociology and the Age of Enlightenment
The Enlightenment emphasized the individual's
possession of critical thinking and was skeptical of
• The Enlightenment led to intellectual, political, and
economic revolutions.
Sociology and IR
The Industrial Revolution produced industrialization, or the process
by which societies are transformed from dependence on agriculture
and handmade products to an emphasis on manufacturing and
related industries.
• A new social class of industrialists emerged. Many people who had
labored on the land were forced to leave their rural communities
seek employment as factory workers in the emerging cities, which
became the centers of industrial work.
• Urbanization is the process by which an increasing proportion of a
population lives in cities rather than rural areas.
• New living and working conditions led to development of new
social problems, such as inadequate housing, crowding, unsanitary
conditions, poverty, pollution, and crime.
• As hazardous conditions became more visible, a new breed of
social thinker came to the forefront to try to understand social
Early Sociological thinkers
Auguste Comte: He is credited with coining the term sociology and
with stressing the importance of positivism, which is the belief that
scientific inquiry can be used to understand the social world.
• Marx predicted that inequalities of capitalism would become so extreme
that workers would eventually revolt. This would lead to the collapse of
capitalism, which would be replaced by communism.
• Durkheim: believed sociologists could study “social facts” to determine
the “health” of society
• Weber: created “antipotivism”/ sociology is about understanding the
social world