What is Sociology?

Sociology is a term coined in 1838 by the French philosopher auguste Comte in his Course of Positive Philosophy, is derived from a hybridisation, that is, from the Latin “sociu-” (society, associations) and the Greek “logos” (word, reason and study), and refers to the study of the human societies, their cultural patterns, work relations, institutions , and social interaction.

Emergence of Sociology and Historical Context

Although Comte is responsible for coining the term, the creation of sociology is not the work of just one scientist or philosopher, but rather the result of the work of several thinkers who are determined to understand the situation of the current social organization.

Since Copernicus, the evolution of thought and knowledge was purely scientific. Sociology came to fill the gap of social studies, arising after the preparation of the natural sciences and various social sciences. Your training triggers an event complex, accompanying historical circumstances, and intellectual and intentions and practices. The emergence of sociology as a science occurs in a given historical moment, which coincides with the last moments of the breakdown of feudal society and the consolidation of the capitalist civilization.

Sociology as A science emerged with the pretense of unifying the studies in the various areas that underpin all societies, analysing them as a whole in order to understand it fully, seeking to fit the phenomena investigated in the social context.

Among the areas that are integrated are the history, psychology and economics, mainly. In addition, sociology has as the focus of their studies the relations that, consciously or not, are established between the people who live in a particular society or group, or between the different groups that co-inhabit a wider society.

The course also has as its goal the study of the relations that emerge and are reproduced, based on the coexistence of different social groups and people in a larger society, as well as the pillars that support these organizations. As for example, its laws, institutions and values.

Sociology is born in the period in which the agglomeration in large cities, caused by the Industrial Revolution, gives rise to the need to understand the social phenomena and the degradation which he has spent a large part of european society.

Humanity goes through transformations never seen when it occurs the industrial revolution and the French, suddenly creating a new model of production (the capitalist society), and a new way of looking at society, and noting that one could understand society and its mechanisms in a scientific fashion, predicting and many times controlling the masses according to the need.

We understand the industrial revolution as the phenomenon that determines the emergence of the proletarian class and the historical role she came to play in the capitalist society.Their catastrophic effects for the working class have generated a climate of revolt translated outwardly in the form of destruction of machinery, sabotage, explosions, premeditated, theft and other crimes, which gave rise to the emergence of movements of workers from the ideologies of revolutionary (as, for example, anarchism, communism, socialism, christian, among other aspects), free associations, and trade unions that have allowed for a greater dialogue between the classes organized, aware of their interests with the owners of the instruments of labor.

These important events and the social transformations that are verified, have awakened the need for more in-depth investigation of the phenomena that had been occurring. Each step of capitalist society brought with it the disintegration and collapse of the institutions and customs, to compose in new forms of social organization.

At that time, the machines not only destroyed the work of small artisans, but also compelled them to strong discipline, and the development of a new conduct and working relationships hitherto unknown.

In 80 years (in the period between 1780 and 1860), England has changed dramatically. Small towns transformed into large cities production and export. These transformations sudden inevitably would imply new social organization, for transformation of the artisan activity in manufacturing and industrial, but also in emigration from the country to the city where the women and children, in working hours, inhumane, receiving wages that barely provided subsistence and was in more than half of the force to industrial work.

The cities turned into a complete chaos, and seen that without the conditions to support a fast growth, gave place to various kinds of social problems, such as outbreaks of cholera epidemics, addictions, crime, prostitution, infanticide epidemics that decimated part of their populations, for example.

In the last few decades have thrown up new issues and to the sociological research, such as for example: the impact of new technologies, globalization, automation of services, new forms of organization of production, more flexible working relations, the intensification of the mechanisms of exclusion and et cetera.

Branches of Sociology

Sociology is divided into many branches, which are studying the order existing between the various social phenomena from multiple perspectives, but that are convergent and complementary, differing only in its object of study.

Between the different subdivisions are created, the main areas are:

  • Sociology of work
  • Sociology of education
  • Sociology of science
  • Environmental sociology
  • The sociology of art
  • Sociology of culture
  • Economic sociology
  • Industrial sociology
  • Legal sociology
  • Political sociology
  • The sociology of religion
  • Rural sociology
  • Urban sociology
  • The sociology of gender relations
  • The sociology of language