Sociology the Science of Society

Sociology is the science of society. It is an attempt to account for the origin, growth, structure, and activities of society by the operation of physical, vital, and psychical causes working together in a process of evolution. The basic concept of sociology is the groups to which people belong and the social interaction that take place within those groups mostly shape the human behavior. Sociology appeared in answer to major changes related to social, economic, and political changes in the nineteenth century.

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One hundred years later the constant inequalities related to poverty and other types of social division and dramatic economic change, suggest that sociology still has a vital role in today’s world. The value of sociology lies in the fact that it keeps us current on modern situations, contributes to the solution of community problems, and adds to the knowledge of the society. Sociology helps the individual find his/her relation to society. It identifies good government with community and helps one to understand the courses of things and so on. Sociology tells us how to become who we want to be.

History is past sociology and sociology is present history. History provides comparison and without comparisons, proper understanding would be impossible. History has a larger viewpoint in that it deals with the full scope of human interests and activities but it views human social activity as it is affected by past activity. Historians deal with the social past. History is an individualizing science while sociology is a generalizing science. History concentrates its attention on the study of socio-cultural phenomena that are unique and unrepeated.

Sociology studies those properties that are repeated in time and space, in other words, the properties that are common to all socio-cultural phenomena – all wars, all nations, all revolutions, all religions, etc. Because of this generalizing quality, sociology differs profoundly form history. History looks to sociology for a general view of the principles of social organization as the basis for the proper distribution of facts while sociology turns to history for some very significant data. The history that sociology employs is the “new history”. The following are examples of the uses which sociology has made of history.

History has the ability to interpret the present. It validates social evolution, shows the reality of social change, and the appearance of cause and effect in social phenomena. History is a substitution for impossible experimentation. History has knowledge of the fact that all social effort must consider recent trends, the use of trends and tendencies to predict future effects, and concludes that progress must involve telic activity. History is used as a guide in determining the antecedents and consequences of social revolutions, and the provision of knowledge that is useful in stopping or preventing social revolutions.

History is used in the presentation of social psychological data, facts concerning the development, role, and decadence of institutions, and the introduction of purpose and organization in social thought. It is also used to show how controlling ideas emerge, the significance of imagination, intellectual freedom, and establishing a foundation for sociological thought. History provides a show of the mechanics of the fulfillment of rituals and the portion of ideas in altering human conduct. The facts supplied by the new history are constantly growing in numbers and accuracy and increasingly by sociology in the future.

Globalization is a process by which regional economies, societies, and cultures are combined through a global-spanning network of communication and trade. The term is also used to refer specifically to economic globalization, which is the integration of national economies with the international economy through trade, foreign direct investment, capital flows, migration, and the spread of technology. However, globalization is usually recognized as being driven by a combination of economic, technological, socio-cultural, political, and biological factors.

Contemporary society is in a stage of transition. Medieval society, which was dominated by theological and militaristic thinking, is giving way to scientific and industrial society. Science is acquiring the spiritual power formally possessed by priests. Industrialists are, in a way, replacing soldiers in the social order. These processes are inevitable and determined. The human mind progresses through three stages of development. The first is where man endows all phenomena with consciousness like his own. This is the spontaneous thinking of the human mind.

The second stage is where the mind explains phenomena by invoking a power outside phenomena such as ‘nature’. The third stage is when man establishes the law-like character of relations between phenomena without seeking to comprehend their essences, which is a problem that is beyond his intellect to solve. It was believed that progress would arrive at the founding of a positive science of society – in other words, sociology. Yet, regarding social phenomena, it was impossible to understand them except in relation to the whole.

Since society is in transition, this entails that society can only be understood in relation to the history of society – that is, the history of the human race as a whole. Therefore, sociology studies the history of the human race. The function of the sociologist in the beginning was to create a new system of scientific ideas that would govern a new social order. Science would resolve the crisis and result in the development of a new social order. Humans can accelerate or impede progress, but cannot alter it. Society will also continue to need religion. However, the new religion will be a religion of humanity.

It will be expressed in the works of the most altruistic men who embody essential humanity. It will a form a religion based on altruistic love. This last development shows the curiosity of how a philosophy based on extolling the virtues of science can lead into a form of mysticism. Whilst this philosophy is avowedly atheistic, there is a belief expressed in it that spiritual evolution of humankind. That belief in a spiritual destiny of humankind, paradoxically founded on material determinism, is wedded to the notion that Science will reveal the path to humanity.

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