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Golden Egale

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PostSubject: nature of sociology   Sat Nov 08, 2014 2:01 pm

Nature of Sociology
Posted by Prem Shresh , Sunday, March 7, 2010 7:22 PM

Sociology is the branch of knowledge and it has its own characteristics. Sociology has different nature in society. It is different from other sciences in certain respects. The following are the main characteristics of sociology as enlisted by Robert Bierstedt in his book " The Social Order" and they are as follows:-

Sociology is an independent science :- It is not treated and studies as a branch of any other science like philosophy or political philosophy or history.

Sociology is the social science and not a physical science :- As a social science it concentrates its attention on man, his social behaviour, social activities and social life.

Sociology is the categorical and not a normative discipline :- Sociology "Confines itself to statement about what is, not what should be or ought to be". As a social science sociology is necessarily silent about questions of value and it is ethically neutral.

Sociology is the pure science and not an applied science :- The main aim of pure science is the acquisition of knowledge and it is not bothered weather the acquired knowledge is useful or can be put to use.

Sociology is the relatively an abstract science and not a concrete science :- Sociology does not confine itself to the study of this society of that particular society or social organization, or marriage, or religion, or group and so on. It is in this simple sense that sociology is an abstract nor a concrete science.

Sociology is the generalizing and not a particularizing or individualizing science :- Sociology tries to find out the general laws or principles about human interaction and association, about the nature, from, content and the structure of human groups and societies. It tries to make generalisations on the basis of the study of some selected events.

Sociology is the general science not a special science :- The area of inquiry of sociology is general not specialised. It is concerned with human interaction and human life in general. It only studies human activities in a general way. Anthropology and social psychology often claim themselves to be general social science.

Sociology is both rational and an empirical science :- There are two broad ways of approach to scientific knowledge. Empiricism is the approach that emphasis experience and the facts that result from observation and experimentation. Rationalism is stresses reason and the theories that result from logical inference.
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Golden Egale

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PostSubject: Re: nature of sociology   Sat Nov 08, 2014 9:58 pm

7 Main Characteristics of Sociology – Discussed!
By Puja Mondal Sociology


The main characteristics of sociology are as follows:

Sociology is one of the several social sciences. Each of the sciences represents a particular way of looking at a common subject matter-human behaviour.

There are no hard and first boundary lines between the social sciences since each of these perspectives has implications for each of the others. Still, it is useful at the outset to have a survey of the characteristics of sociology to distinguish its particular perspective from those of other social sciences. The following are the main characteristics of sociology.

1. Sociology: a Generalising Science:

Sociology is a generalising sciences and not a particularising science. It aims to establish general laws of principles about interactions and associations. It seeks to find general principles about the nature, form, content and structure of human groups and societies. Like history, it does not attempt to make a description of particular events or particular societies.

History is the study of human behaviour from particularising perspective. But sociology is generalising in its perspective. Whereas history is concerned with particular wars and revolutions, sociology is concerned with war and revolution in general as social phenomena, as forms of social conflict and not with their particular and concrete manifestations.

2. Sociology: a Generalised Science:

Sociology is a general science. It is not a specialised science like history, political science and economics. These social sciences have specialised subject matters and these are all parts of one general subject matter: Man’s social behaviour, which sociology studies. Only certain kinds of behaviour engage their attention. The economist, for example, is interested in one kind of behaviour, economic behaviour. The political scientist likewise is concerned with political behaviour.

In contrast to these specialised sciences, the generalised sciences of sociology, psychology, and anthropology recognise no such limitations of scope of interest. One may readily speak of noneconomic or nonpolitical behaviour. But it simply makes no sense to speak of non-psychological or non-sociological or non-anthropological behaviour. All behaviour has psychological, sociological and anthropological dimensions and the scientists in any one of these fields must necessarily take all kinds of behaviour into account.

Sociology studies social factors that all social phenomena have in common, whether they are economic or political. Like economics, it does not deal with the ‘economic’ behaviour of man as such but sees economic behaviour “as simply a partial abstraction from the total social behaviour of the individual.” Although the focus of sociology is also special one, the area of enquiry of sociology is general.

3. Sociology: a Social Science:

Sociology is a social science, a humanistic science. It is a social science like economics, political science and psychology etc. It is not a physical science. Sociology deals with social universe and not with the physical universe. Sociology, deals with social facts, social phenomena, man’s social relationships and behaviour.

4. Sociology: a Special Kind of Abstraction:

Psychology, anthropology and sociology have in common in their interest in all aspect of human behaviour. The difference between them seems to lie in their different ways of thinking about human behaviour in general.

These differences may be understood by noting that human behaviour is a variable and that these three social sciences represent different system of explanation of this variability. In other words these three social sciences adopt three different kind of explanation of single fact of human behaviour, namely the variability in amount of discrimination practised by people against other racial groups.

The Psychologist tends to explain variability in behaviour in terms of the personalities of the behaving persons. Each kind of behaviour is a specific manifestation of kind of organisations of psychological traits or elements.

For the anthropologist, variations in human behaviour tend to be explained by variations in culture. Different groups of people have different ideas and moral conceptions, and persons living in groups with different cultures may be expected to display different patterns of behaviour.

Sociology tends to explain variability in human behaviour in terms of variation in society of social structure. Different persons are seen to have occupied different positions or statuses in that structure and these positions condition the behaviour of the occupants in a number of ways.

These differences among psychology, “anthropology and sociology are differences of emphasis rather than absolute differences. However, Sociology is a special kind of abstraction. It has its own system of explanation.

5. Sociology: an Objective Science:

Sociology is an objective, but not a normative science. This means that sociology is primarily concerned with facts and not with value judgments upon them. Durkheim shared the vision of an objective sociology and in his Rules of Sociological Method, he urged that the sociologist must ‘eradicate all preconceptions’ and deal with facts rather than with his ideas about social facts. The German Sociologist, Max Weber devoted major essay to the problem of objectivity or “Value- neutrality” in sociology.

Sociology studies values as social facts but does not deal with the problems of good or bad, desirable or undesirable. It is ethically neutral. According to Weber, the sociologist may well be involved in partisan political activity to stimulate his intellectual curiosity but that, as a social scientist (e.g. a teacher of sociology) he must leave out his personal bias, remembering always that a ” podium is not a pulpit”.

6. Sociology: a Pure or Theoretical Science:

Sociology is a pure science. It is not an applied science. This means that sociology aims at the acquisition of knowledge and it has no concern whether the acquired knowledge is useful or applied. Sociology aims at exact description by the analysis of the properties and relation of social phenomena and explanation by the formulation of general statements.

In this way sociology adds to our knowledge about human society. The aim of sociology is the acquisition of knowledge about human society. Such knowledge can be used to solve social problems, but it is not an applied science. The knowledge acquired by sociology is helpful for administrators, legislators and social workers etc.

7. Sociology: a Rational and Empirical Science:

Sociology is both a rational and empirical science. It is empirical in the sense that it is based on observation and experimentation. To quote H.M. Johnson, “It is empirical, that is, it is based on observation and reasoning, not on supernatural revelation and its results are not speculative. Sociology is rational as it stresses on reason. Sociological theories are built on the basis of logical inference.

The theoretical sociology emerged historically as a kind of speculation as illustrated in the broad theoretical schemes of August Comte, Herbert Spencer and other pioneers. In the twentieth century, most sociologists have shifted their attention to the gathering of empirical data about social life, a stage that perhaps reached its climax in the 1930′s
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