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
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