Sociology: Definition, Origin and Dilemmas

Category: Sociology
Last Updated: 06 Jul 2020
Essay type: Definition Essay
Pages: 3 Views: 116

In society, every concept requires a clear definition in order to develop an understanding of how the various coexisting areas function to produce efficiency. Sociology in its essence explains these concepts as it involves the individuals that work conjointly to ensure those societal systems’ functions are executed smoothly. According to the department of Sociology of Cornell University: “Sociology is the study of social life, social change, and the social causes and consequences of human behaviour (University, 2008, prg. ). ” However, what makes sociology differ from other social sciences is its analysis of individual behaviours as they interact within different contexts classified as systems such as political systems, economic systems and family systems (University, 2008). These three systems are identified as the make-up of the Belizean society. The Political system represents the different constituencies of the country, the government and its branches of authority, and political parties.

The Belizean economy is formed by the various produce, commerce, internal and external exportation of products and services as well as the various income sources of the country. The last system identified as the family system is a mixture of various forms but the most common within the Belizean context are single-parent families amongst the nuclear and extended families that do exist but in smaller numbers. The ranges of systems qualified for sociological study include, but are not limited to, intimate families, mobs, cults, and sports (University, 2008).

Like the individuals and systems it studies, sociology also has a source of origin and an explanation for its existence and functions. Sociology in its term was developed by in the year 1838 by a French Philosopher identified as August Comte who believed strongly that social issues could be studied with the use of science. In his belief, though strange to others at the time, he believed it was possible to discover and analyse the laws of social life just as is done with the laws of science and factual evidence of theories.

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Of this concept, link between science and society, he then developed what we refer to as positivism to sociology which would give sociologists the qualifications to become societal guides. (Crossman, 2013). An indeed sociologists have become guides to the everyday worldly functions of social life as each social activity has a designated sociologists. Areas guided have been classified to be those of religion, politics, law, economics, rural life and industry among many others (Unknown, 2007).

Aside from being developed by the “Father of Sociology”, August Comte, there were also other factors that presented great encouragement toward the concept of Sociology. Such contributors were all identified as socially changing occurrences of the twentieth century. Among those contributors were the political revolutions that occurred in Europe, the Industrial Revolution which introduced automation, Capitalism, Socialism, and not to mention the emerging religions and developing municipalities. These occurrences in their own way changed the lives of individuals.

Thus the reason why these instances influenced the development of Sociology was because of their contribution to social change (Crossman, 2013) . Sociology, as mentioned before, studies how individuals interact within various social systems. Whenever interaction and human behaviour is combined difficulties and ethical dilemmas are prone to arise. The Hawthorne effect is said to be a difficulty for Sociologists in executing sociological research because when humans are aware that they are being observed they often exhibit false pretences to fit the roles they believe they should fulfil.

Another difficulty would be the complexity of social issues, as opposed to scientific phenomena, because most of these are not easily measurable. A plausible difficulty could be that people in power, people independent of societal norms, and people who are publicly visible may want to keep their activities in obscurity and unknown by others. Ethical dilemmas may also be problems for Sociologists. Two major ethical dilemmas that may be problematic are violating individuals’ right to their privacy and experimentation using inexperienced, obedient, gullible individuals. Finlay). With all the information presented sociology can be defined in condense statements. Therefore, Sociology is the study of individual social behaviour and how individuals interact within social context such as political, family and economic systems. Sociology was developed by French philosopher August Comte but was greatly influenced by the grave social changes that occurred during its era of development. To conclude, its social nature lightens the way for difficulties and ethical dilemmas in the execution of research on relative issues.

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Sociology: Definition, Origin and Dilemmas. (2017, May 28). Retrieved from

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