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Basic Sociology

Central Institute of Theological Studies
Course # IDS 117

What is Sociology?


         Sociology is an academic discipline (usually considered as a social science) that studies and researches the various societies of our cultures and human social interactions. Sociologists study why people organize themselves consciously or even unconsciously into various groups, associations or institutions.

         There are various fields of study in sociology that scrutinize and display the various dimensions of human society. The following is a list of some of the more popular “sub-disciplines” of sociological study:


Criminal Sociology – the study of criminal behaviors and various deviancies.  

Demographic Sociology – the study of the variations in population changes by size and type.

Gender Sociology – the study of the various gender interactions and groupings

Political Sociology – the study of various government styles and laws 

Racial Sociology – the study of interaction and the groupings of various races.

Social Psychology – the study how social conditions affect human life and behavior

Social Stratification – the study of class structures within a society and inequalities.


          Over the years the discipline of sociological studies has evolved to become more statistical in its scientific nature. Most sociologists participate in research that is useful outside their academic discipline as well as in their specific field of study. Sociologists have continually combined and cross examined the various sub-disciplines to produce research that helps define human society and the problems that must be addressed.  When this interactive research is combined with various other academic disciplines, it can be closely observed in the areas of anthropology, economics, medical arts, philosophy, psychology, psychiatry and even in many aspects of business.


Sociological Studies and Research


            In addition to studying social behavior by observing social institutions, sociologists also look at and study other social organizations such as religious, political and business societies. This involves not only studying the specific groups but also the effect that these groups have on the individuals that make them up. Sociological studies also analyze the characteristics, the evolutions of and the various written or unwritten creeds of these various social institutions and organizations.

           Sociological research is very beneficial to educators, law makers and various administrations involved with social reformation and the creating of public policies. The results of such research have had great impacts on western civilization. However, sociological studies and research are no longer confined to our western civilizations.   Sociologists now study and research in the extended globally community, in almost every nation, and have produced a study in multiculturalism that could not have been conceived of fifty years ago.    

            There are several variables involved in sociological studies and research. The primary ones are: gender, age, race, ethnicity (ethnic group), social class (typically by level of wealth), cultural perspectives (beliefs and values), environmental setting (urban, suburban, rural, isolated). When these foundational social variables are considered and studied, sociological conditions can be discovered, analyzed and placed into proper perspective for potential development and / or change.

           If a sociological research scenario was created to study gambling or “gaming” as it is referred to in more recent times, many things would have to come into scrutiny to formulate the results of the research.

          The social variables of age, gender, race and social class might help us determine who participates or even who refuses to participate in the gambling industry. Then the various sub-disciplines would help determine the various attitudes, opinions and ethical standards that might be expressed or exercised in these variable groups.

            Social psychology might help us see the effect of the gaming industry on human behavior. Criminal sociology might show us the influence of criminal activity not only in and around the gaming industry, but also such activity influenced or produced by the gaming industry. Political sociology could possibly determine what type of legal statutes need to be created not only to govern the industry but also the clientele which support it by participating in it. Thus through this microcosmic example, we see that sociological variables and the various sub-disciplines can all interact in the direct study of society and human behavior in that society.        


Career and Practice


            The profession that practiced the science of sociology did not begin to come into existence until the middle to late part of the nineteenth century. Frenchman Auguste Comte was the first to purpose the study of society. However, it did not come to be before his death in 1857. German prototype sociologist Max Weber  (1864-1920) did extensive research and study in bureaucracy, capitalism and religion that are still fundamentally recognized in the practice of sociology.  

             The practical function of sociology is probably most easily observed outside of research and academia in the careers of counselors, psychologists and social workers. These various professionals base their work as corporate and personal “caregivers” in their understanding of human behavior and sociological standards and interactions.

             These practitioner groups are generally licensed professionals by the States they practice in. Almost all States now require a minimum of a graduate degree and an internship before these various workers of the social science can practice their careers in an adequate manner in the general public.  

Central Institute of Theological Studies
P.O. Box 750491
Dayton, Ohio    45475