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Sociology is a
social science Social science is the branch A branch ( or , ) or tree branch (sometimes referred to in botany Botany, also called , plant biology or phytology, is the science of plant life and a branch of biology. A botanist, plant scientist o ...

social science
that focuses on society, human
social behaviour Social behavior is behavior Behavior (American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of variety (linguistics), varieties of the English language ...
, patterns of
social relationships Social organisms, including humans, live collectively in interacting populations. This interaction is considered social whether they are aware of it or not, and whether the exchange is voluntary/involuntary. Etymology The word "Social" derives fr ...
,
social interaction In social science Social science is the branch A branch ( or , ) or tree branch (sometimes referred to in botany Botany, also called , plant biology or phytology, is the science of plant life and a branch of biology. A botan ...
, and aspects of culture associated with everyday life. It uses various methods of empirical investigation and
critical analysis Critical thinking is the analysis of fact A fact is something that is true True most commonly refers to truth Truth is the property of being in accord with fact or reality.Merriam-Webster's Online Dictionarytruth 2005 In everyday l ...
to develop a body of knowledge about
social order The term social order can be used in two senses: In the first sense, it refers to a particular system of social structure In the social sciences, social structure is the patterned social arrangements in society that are both emergence, emergen ...
and
social change Social change involves alteration of the social order The term social order can be used in two senses: In the first sense, it refers to a particular system of social structure In the social sciences, social structure is the patterned soci ...
. While some sociologists conduct research that may be applied directly to
social policy Social policy is a plan or action of government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine' ...
and welfare, others focus primarily on refining the
theoretical A theory is a rational Rationality is the quality or state of being rational – that is, being based on or agreeable to reason Reason is the capacity of consciously making sense of things, applying logic Logic (from Ancient Greek, G ...

theoretical
understanding of social processes. Subject matter can range from
micro Micro may refer to: Measurement * micro- (μ), a prefix in the SI and other systems of units denoting a factor of 10−6 (one millionth) Places * Micro, North Carolina, town in U.S. People * DJ Micro, (born Michael Marsicano) an American trance ...
-level analyses of society (i.e. of individual interaction and
agency Agency may refer to: * a governmental or other institution * the abstract principle that autonomous beings, agents, are capable of acting by themselves; see autonomy Abstract principle * Agency (law), a person acting on behalf of another perso ...
) to
macro Macro (or MACRO) may refer to: Science and technology * Macroscopic The macroscopic scale is the length scale on which objects or phenomena are large enough to be visible with the naked eye, without magnifying optical instruments. It is the o ...
-level analyses (i.e. of systems and the
social structure In the social sciences Social science is the branch The branches and leaves of a tree. A branch ( or , ) or tree branch (sometimes referred to in botany Botany, also called , plant biology or phytology, is the science of pla ...
). Traditional focuses of sociology include
social stratification Social stratification refers to a society's categorization Categorization is the human ability and activity of recognizing shared features or similarities between the elements of the experience Experience refers to conscious , an English ...
, social class,
social mobility Social mobility is the movement of individuals, families, households, or other categories of people within or between Social stratification, social strata in a society. It is a change in social status relative to one's current social location ...
,
religion Religion is a social Social organisms, including humans, live collectively in interacting populations. This interaction is considered social whether they are aware of it or not, and whether the exchange is voluntary/involuntary. Etymology ...
,
secularization In sociology Sociology is a social science Social science is the branch The branches and leaves of a tree. A branch ( or , ) or tree branch (sometimes referred to in botany Botany, also called , plant biology or phytolo ...
,
law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced by its environment, is described by its bounda ...
,
sexuality Human sexuality is the way people experience and express themselves Human sexual activity, sexually. This involves biological, erotic, Physical intimacy, physical, Emotional intimacy, emotional, social, or Spirituality, spiritual feelings and ...
,
gender Gender is the range of characteristics pertaining to, and differentiating between femininity Femininity (also called womanliness or girlishness) is a set of attributes, behaviors, and roles generally associated with women A woman is ...

gender
, and deviance. As all spheres of human activity are affected by the interplay between social structure and individual agency, sociology has gradually expanded its focus to other subjects and institutions, such as
health Health, according to the World Health Organization The World Health Organization (WHO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations United Nations Specialized Agencies are autonomous organizations working with the United Nations and each ...
and the institution of medicine;
economy An economy (; ) is an area of the production Production may be: Economics and business * Production (economics) * Production, the act of manufacturing goods * Production, in the outline of industrial organization, the act of making products ...
;
military A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily armed, highly organized force primarily intended for warfare War is an intense armed conflict between State (polity), states, governments, Society, societies, or pa ...
;
punishment Punishment, commonly, is the imposition of an undesirable or unpleasant outcome upon a group or individual, meted out by an authority In the fields of sociology Sociology is the study of society, human social behaviour, patterns of soci ...
and systems of control;
the Internet The Internet (Capitalization of Internet, or internet) is the global system of interconnected computer networks that uses the Internet protocol suite (TCP/IP) to communicate between networks and devices. It is a ''network of networks'' t ...
;
education Education is the process of facilitating learning, or the acquisition of knowledge, skills, value (ethics), values, morals, beliefs, habits, and personal development. Educational methods include teaching, training, storytelling, discussion ...
;
social capital Social capital is "the networks of relationships among people who live and work in a particular society, enabling that society to function effectively". It involves the effective functioning of social group In the social science Soc ...
; and the role of social activity in the development of
scientific knowledge Science (from the Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the ...
. The range of social scientific methods has also expanded, as
social research Social research is a research Research is "creative and systematic work undertaken to increase the stock of knowledge". It involves the collection, organization and analysis of information to increase understanding of a topic or issue ...

social research
ers draw upon a variety of qualitative and techniques. The
linguistic Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo ...
and cultural turns of the mid-20th century, especially, have led to increasingly ,
hermeneutic Hermeneutics () is the theory and methodology of interpretation, especially the interpretation of Biblical hermeneutics, biblical texts, wisdom literature, and Philosophy, philosophical texts. Hermeneutics is more than interpretative principles ...
, and
philosophic Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about existence Existence is the ability of an entity to interact with physical reality Reality is the sum or aggregate of all that is real or exist ...
al approaches towards the analysis of society. Conversely, the turn of the 21st century has seen the rise of new analytically, mathematically, and computationally rigorous techniques, such as
agent-based model An agent-based model (ABM) is a class of computational models A computational model uses computer programs to simulate and study complex systems using an algorithmic or mechanistic approach and is widely used in a diverse range of fields spanning ...
ling and
social network A social network is a social structure made up of a set of social actors (such as individuals or organizations), sets of Dyad (sociology), dyadic ties, and other Social relation, social interactions between actors. The social network perspectiv ...

social network
analysis. Social research has influence throughout various industries and sectors of life, such as among politicians,
policy makers A policy is a deliberate system of principles to guide decisions and achieve rational outcomes. A policy is a statement of intent, and is implemented as a procedure or protocol. Policies are generally adopted by a governance body within an organ ...
, and legislators;
educators Education is the process of facilitating learning, or the acquisition of knowledge, skills, value (ethics), values, morals, beliefs, and habits. Educational methods include teaching, training, storytelling, discussion and directed resear ...

educators
; planners;
administrators Administrator or admin may refer to: Job roles Computing and internet * Database administrator, a person who is responsible for the environmental aspects of a database * Forum administrator, one who oversees discussions on an Internet forum * N ...
; developers;
business magnate A business magnate is someone who has achieved great success and enormous wealth through the ownership of multiple lines of enterprise. The term characteristically refers to a wealthy entrepreneur or investor who controls, through personal ente ...
s and managers; social workers; non-governmental organizations; and non-profit organizations, as well as individuals interested in resolving
social issues A social issue is a problem that affects many people within a society. It is a group of common problems in present-day society and ones that many people strive to solve. It is often the consequence of factors extending beyond an individual's co ...
in general. As such, there is often a great deal of crossover between social research,
market research Market research is an organized effort to gather information about target markets A target market is a group of customers within a business Business is the activity of making one's living or making money by producing or buying and selling ...

market research
, and other statistical fields.


Origins

Sociological reasoning predates the foundation of the discipline itself. Social analysis has origins in the common stock of Western knowledge and philosophy, having been carried out from as far back as the time of Old comic poetry which features social and political criticism, and
ancient Greek philosophers Ancient Greek philosophy arose in the 6th century BC, at a time when the inhabitants of ancient Greece were struggling to repel devastating invasions from the east. Greek philosophy continued throughout the Hellenistic period The Hellenistic p ...
Socrates Socrates (; ; –399 BC) was a Greek philosopher from Athens Athens ( ; el, Αθήνα, Athína ; grc, Ἀθῆναι, Athênai (pl.) ) is the capital city, capital and List of cities in Greece, largest city of Greece. Athens domi ...

Socrates
,
Plato Plato ( ; grc-gre, Πλάτων ; 428/427 or 424/423 – 348/347 BC) was an Classical Athens, Athenian philosopher during the Classical Greece, Classical period in Ancient Greece, founder of the Platonist school of thought and the Platoni ...

Plato
, and
Aristotle Aristotle (; grc-gre, Ἀριστοτέλης ''Aristotélēs'', ; 384–322 BC) was a Greek philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questio ...

Aristotle
, if not earlier. For instance, the origin of the
survey Survey may refer to: Statistics and human research * Statistical survey Survey methodology is "the study of survey methods". As a field of applied statistics concentrating on Survey (human research), human-research surveys, survey methodology s ...
(i.e. the collection of information from a sample of individuals) can be traced back to at least the
Domesday Book Domesday Book () – the Middle English Middle English (abbreviated to ME) was a form of the English language spoken after the Norman conquest of England, Norman conquest (1066) until the late 15th century. The English language underwent ...
in 1086, while ancient philosophers such as
Confucius } Confucius ( ; zh, s=, p=Kǒng Fūzǐ, "Master Kǒng"; or commonly zh, s=, p=Kǒngzǐ, labels=no; ) was a Chinese philosopher Chinese philosophy originates in the Spring and Autumn period () and Warring States period (), ...

Confucius
wrote about the importance of social roles. There is evidence of early sociology in medieval Arabic writings as well. Some sources consider
Ibn Khaldun Ibn Khaldun (; ar, أبو زيد عبد الرحمن بن محمد بن خلدون الحضرمي, ; 27 May 1332 – 17 March 1406) was an Arabs, Arab The Historical Muhammad', Irving M. Zeitlin, (Polity Press, 2007), p. 21; "It is, of course ...
, a 14th-century Arab-Islamic scholar from
Tunisia ) , image_map = Tunisia location (orthographic projection).svg , map_caption = Location of Tunisia in northern Africa Africa is the world's second-largest and second-most populous , after in both cases. At about 30.3 million km2 (11. ...

Tunisia
, to have been the father of sociology although there is no reference to his work in the work of major founders of modern sociology. Khaldun's ''
Muqaddimah The ''Muqaddimah'', also known as the ''Muqaddimah of Ibn Khaldun'' ( ar, مقدّمة ابن خلدون) or ''Ibn Khaldun's Prolegomena In an essay, Article (publishing), article, or book, an introduction (also known as a prolegomenon) is a ...
'' was perhaps the first work to advance social-scientific reasoning on
social cohesion Group cohesiveness (also called group cohesion and social cohesion) arises when bonds link members of a social group In the social sciences, a social group can be defined as two or more people who interact with one another, share similar chara ...
and
social conflict Social conflict is the struggle for agency or power Power typically refers to: * Power (physics) In physics, power is the amount of energy transferred or converted per unit time. In the International System of Units, the unit of power is the ...
.


Etymology

The word ''
sociology Sociology is a social science Social science is the branch The branches and leaves of a tree. A branch ( or , ) or tree branch (sometimes referred to in botany Botany, also called , plant biology or phytology, is the scie ...
'' (or ''"sociologie"'') derives part of its name from the
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, it became ...

Latin
word socius ("companion" or "fellowship"). The suffix ''
-logy ''-logy'' is a suffix In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign language) ...
'' ("the study of'") comes from that of the
Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 million as of ...
-λογία, derived from
λόγος ''Logos'' (, ; grc, wikt:λόγος, λόγος, lógos; from , , ) is a term in Western philosophy, psychology, rhetoric, and religion derived from a Greek word variously meaning "ground", "plea", "opinion", "expectation", "word", "speech", " ...

λόγος
(''lógos'', "word" or "knowledge").


Sieyès

The term "sociology" was first coined in 1780 by the French essayist in an unpublished
manuscript A manuscript (abbreviated MS for singular and MSS for plural) was, traditionally, any document written by hand – or, once practical typewriter A typewriter is a or machine for characters. Typically, a typewriter has an array ...

manuscript
.


Comte

"Sociology" was later defined independently by French
philosopher of science A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about Metaphysics, existence, reason, Epistemology, knowledge, Ethics, values, Philosophy of mind, mi ...
Auguste Comte Isidore Marie Auguste François Xavier Comte (; 19 January 1798 – 5 September 1857) was a French philosopher French philosophy, here taken to mean philosophy in the French language, has been extremely diverse and has influenced Western philos ...

Auguste Comte
in 1838 as a new way of looking at society. Comte had earlier used the term "social physics", but it had been subsequently appropriated by others, most notably the Belgian statistician
Adolphe Quetelet Lambert Adolphe Jacques Quetelet FRSF or FRSE (; 22 February 1796 – 17 February 1874) was a Belgian astronomer, mathematician, statistician and sociologist who founded and directed the Royal Observatory of Belgium, Brussels Observatory and ...
. Comte endeavoured to unify history, psychology, and economics through the scientific understanding of social life. Writing shortly after the malaise of the
French Revolution The French Revolution ( ) was a period of radical political and societal change in France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a spanning and in the and the , and s. Its ...

French Revolution
, he proposed that social ills could be remedied through sociological
positivism Positivism is a philosophical theory A philosophical theory or philosophical position''Dictionary of Theories'', Jennifer Bothamley is a view that attempts to explain or account for a particular problem in philosophy Philosophy (from ...
, an
epistemological Epistemology (; ) is the Outline of philosophy, branch of philosophy concerned with knowledge. Epistemologists study the nature, origin, and scope of knowledge, epistemic Justification (epistemology), justification, the Reason, rationality o ...

epistemological
approach outlined in the '' Course in Positive Philosophy'' (1830–1842), later included in ''
A General View of Positivism ''A General View of Positivism'' (''Discours sur l'ensemble du positivisme'') was an 1844 book by a French philosopher Auguste Comte Isidore Marie Auguste François Xavier Comte (; 19 January 1798 – 5 September 1857) was a French philosophy, F ...
'' (1848). Comte believed a positivist stage would mark the final era, after conjectural
theological Theology is the systematic study of the nature of the divine and, more broadly, of religious belief. It is taught as an academic discipline An academic discipline or academic field is a subdivision of knowledge Knowledge is a familiarity ...
and
metaphysical Metaphysics is the branch of philosophy that studies the first principles of being, identity and change, space and time, causality, necessity and possibility. It includes questions about the nature of consciousness and the relationship between ...

metaphysical
phases, in the progression of human understanding. In observing the circular dependence of theory and observation in science, and having classified the sciences, Comte may be regarded as the first
philosopher of science A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about Metaphysics, existence, reason, Epistemology, knowledge, Ethics, values, Philosophy of mind, mi ...
in the modern sense of the term.


Marx

Both Comte and
Karl Marx Karl Heinrich Marx (; 5 May 1818 – 14 March 1883) was a German philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, M ...

Karl Marx
set out to develop scientifically justified systems in the wake of European industrialization and
secularization In sociology Sociology is a social science Social science is the branch The branches and leaves of a tree. A branch ( or , ) or tree branch (sometimes referred to in botany Botany, also called , plant biology or phytolo ...
, informed by various key movements in the philosophies of history and science. Marx rejected Comtean positivism but in attempting to develop a "science of society" nevertheless came to be recognized as a founder of sociology as the word gained wider meaning. For
Isaiah Berlin Sir Isaiah Berlin (6 June 1909 – 5 November 1997) was a Latvian-born British social and political theorist, philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy. The term ''philosopher'' comes from the grc, φιλόσοφος, , ...
(1967), even though Marx did not consider himself to be a sociologist, he may be regarded as the "true father" of modern sociology, "in so far as anyone can claim the title."Berlin, Isaiah. 1967
937 Year 937 (Roman numerals, CMXXXVII) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will display the full calendar) of the Julian calendar. Events By place Europe * A Principality of Hungary, Hungarian army invades Burgundy, and burns the ...
''Karl Marx: His Life and Environment'' (3rd ed.). New York: Time Inc Book Division.
To have given clear and unified answers in familiar empirical terms to those theoretical questions which most occupied men's minds at the time, and to have deduced from them clear practical directives without creating obviously artificial links between the two, was the principal achievement of Marx's theory. The sociological treatment of historical and moral problems, which Comte and after him,
Spencer Spencer may refer to: Names *Spencer (surname) **Spencer family, British aristocratic family **List of people with surname Spencer *Spencer (given name), a given name (including a list of people with the name) Places Australia *Spencer, New Sou ...

Spencer
and , had discussed and mapped, became a precise and concrete study only when the attack of militant Marxism made its conclusions a burning issue, and so made the search for evidence more zealous and the attention to method more intense.


Spencer

Herbert Spencer Herbert Spencer (27 April 1820 – 8 December 1903) was an English philosopher, biologist A biologist is a professional who has specialized knowledge in the field of biology, understanding the underlying mechanisms that govern the functio ...

Herbert Spencer
(1820–1903) was one of the most popular and influential 19th-century sociologists. It is estimated that he sold one million books in his lifetime, far more than any other sociologist at the time. So strong was his influence that many other 19th-century thinkers, including
Émile Durkheim David Émile Durkheim ( or ; 15 April 1858 – 15 November 1917) was a French sociologist. He formally established the academic discipline of sociology and is commonly cited as one of the principal architects of modern social science ...

Émile Durkheim
, defined their ideas in relation to his. Durkheim's '' Division of Labour in Society'' is to a large extent an extended debate with Spencer from whose sociology, many commentators now agree, Durkheim borrowed extensively. Also a notable
biologist A biologist is a professional who has specialized knowledge in the field of biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, Mol ...
, Spencer coined the term ''
survival of the fittest "Survival of the fittest" is a phrase that originated from Darwinian Darwinism is a theory A theory is a reason, rational type of abstraction, abstract thinking about a phenomenon, or the results of such thinking. The process of contemp ...
''. While Marxian ideas defined one strand of sociology, Spencer was a critic of socialism as well as a strong advocate for a
laissez-faire ''Laissez-faire'' ( ; from french: laissez faire , ) is an economic system An economic system, or economic order, is a system A system is a group of interacting Interaction is a kind of action that occurs as two or more objects hav ...
style of government. His ideas were closely observed by conservative political circles, especially in the United States and England.


Positivism and antipositivism


Positivism

The overarching
methodological Methodology is "'a contextual framework' for research, a coherent and logical scheme based on views, beliefs, and values, that guides the choices researchers r other usersmake". It comprises the theoretical analysis of the body of methods an ...
principle of
positivism Positivism is a philosophical theory A philosophical theory or philosophical position''Dictionary of Theories'', Jennifer Bothamley is a view that attempts to explain or account for a particular problem in philosophy Philosophy (from ...
is to conduct sociology in broadly the same manner as
natural science Natural science is a branch A branch ( or , ) or tree branch (sometimes referred to in botany Botany, also called , plant biology or phytology, is the science of plant life and a branch of biology. A botanist, plant scientist or ph ...

natural science
. An emphasis on
empiricism In philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about Metaphysics, existence, reason, Epistemology, knowledge, Ethics, values, Philosophy of mind, mind, and Philosophy of language, l ...
and the
scientific method The scientific method is an empirical Empirical evidence for a proposition is evidence, i.e. what supports or counters this proposition, that is constituted by or accessible to sense experience or experimental procedure. Empirical evidence ...

scientific method
is sought to provide a tested foundation for sociological research based on the assumption that the only authentic knowledge is scientific knowledge, and that such knowledge can only arrive by positive affirmation through scientific methodology. The term has long since ceased to carry this meaning; there are no fewer than twelve distinct epistemologies that are referred to as positivism. Many of these approaches do not self-identify as "positivist", some because they themselves arose in opposition to older forms of positivism, and some because the label has over time become a pejorative term by being mistakenly linked with a theoretical
empiricism In philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about Metaphysics, existence, reason, Epistemology, knowledge, Ethics, values, Philosophy of mind, mind, and Philosophy of language, l ...
. The extent of
antipositivist In social science, antipositivism (also interpretivism, negativism or antinaturalism) is a theoretical stance that proposes that the social realm cannot be studied with the scientific method The scientific method is an Empirical evidence, em ...
criticism has also diverged, with many rejecting the scientific method and others only seeking to amend it to reflect 20th-century developments in the philosophy of science. However, positivism (broadly understood as a scientific approach to the study of society) remains dominant in contemporary sociology, especially in the United States. Loïc Wacquant distinguishes three major strains of positivism: Durkheimian, Logical, and Instrumental. None of these are the same as that set forth by Comte, who was unique in advocating such a rigid (and perhaps optimistic) version. While Émile Durkheim rejected much of the detail of Comte's philosophy, he retained and refined its method. Durkheim maintained that the social sciences are a logical continuation of the natural ones into the realm of human activity, and insisted that they should retain the same objectivity, rationalism, and approach to causality. He developed the notion of objective ''sui generis'' "social facts" to serve as unique empirical objects for the science of sociology to study. The variety of positivism that remains dominant today is termed ''instrumental positivism''. This approach eschews epistemological and metaphysical concerns (such as the nature of social facts) in favour of methodological clarity,
replicability Reproducibility, also known as replicability and repeatability, is a major principle underpinning the scientific method The scientific method is an empirical Empirical evidence for a proposition is evidence, i.e. what supports or counter ...
,
reliability Reliability, reliable, or unreliable may refer to: Science, technology, and mathematics Computing * Data reliability (disambiguation), Data reliability, a property of some disk arrays in computer storage * High availability * Reliability (computer ...
and
validity Validity or Valid may refer to: Science/mathematics/statistics: * Validity (logic), a property of a logical argument * Scientific: ** Internal validity, the validity of causal inferences within scientific studies, usually based on experiments ** ...
. This positivism is more or less synonymous with
quantitative research Quantitative research is a research strategy that focuses on quantifying the collection and analysis of data. It is formed from a deductive Deductive reasoning, also deductive logic, is the process of reasoning Reason is the capacity of consc ...

quantitative research
, and so only resembles older positivism in practice. Since it carries no explicit philosophical commitment, its practitioners may not belong to any particular school of thought. Modern sociology of this type is often credited to
Paul Lazarsfeld Paul Felix Lazarsfeld (February 13, 1901August 30, 1976) was an Austrian-American sociologist. The founder of Columbia University Columbia University (also known as Columbia, and officially as Columbia University in the City of New York) is ...
, who pioneered large-scale survey studies and developed statistical techniques for analysing them. This approach lends itself to what
Robert K. Merton Robert King Merton (born Meyer Robert Schkolnick; 4 July 1910 – 23 February 2003) was an American sociologist who is considered a founding father of modern sociology Sociology is the study of society, human social behaviour, patterns o ...
called middle-range theory: abstract statements that generalize from segregated hypotheses and empirical regularities rather than starting with an abstract idea of a social whole.


Anti-positivism

Reactions against social empiricism began when German philosopher
Hegel Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (; ; 27 August 1770 – 14 November 1831) was a German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citi ...

Hegel
voiced opposition to both empiricism, which he rejected as uncritical, and determinism, which he viewed as overly mechanistic.
Karl Marx Karl Heinrich Marx (; 5 May 1818 – 14 March 1883) was a German philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, M ...

Karl Marx
's methodology borrowed from
Hegelian dialectic Dialectic or dialectics ( grc-gre, διαλεκτική, ''dialektikḗ''; related to dialogue Dialogue (sometimes spelled dialog in American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometimes called United States English ...
ism but also a rejection of positivism in favour of critical analysis, seeking to supplement the empirical acquisition of "facts" with the elimination of illusions. He maintained that appearances need to be critiqued rather than simply documented. Early hermeneuticians such as
Wilhelm Dilthey Wilhelm Dilthey (; ; 19 November 1833 – 1 October 1911) was a German historian ( 484– 425 BC) was a Greek historian who lived in the 5th century BC and one of the earliest historians whose work survives. A historian is a person who studie ...

Wilhelm Dilthey
pioneered the distinction between natural and social science ('
Geisteswissenschaft ''Geisteswissenschaften'' (, "sciences of mind") is a set of human sciences such as philosophy, history, philology, musicology, linguistics, theater studies, literary studies, media studies, and sometimes even theology and jurisprudence, that are ...
'). Various
neo-Kantian In late modern continental philosophy Continental philosophy is a set of 19th- and 20th-century philosophical Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, existence, knowledge ...
philosophers,
phenomenologists Phenomenology may refer to: * Empirical research, when used to describe measurement methods in some sciences * An empirical relationship or phenomenological model * Phenomenology (architecture), based on the experience of building materials and the ...
and human scientists further theorized how the analysis of the differs to that of the due to the irreducibly complex aspects of human society, culture, and
being In philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about Metaphysics, existence, reason, Epistemology, knowledge, Ethics, values, Philosophy of mind, mind, and Philosophy of language, la ...

being
. In the Italian context of development of social sciences and of sociology in particular, there are oppositions to the first foundation of the discipline, sustained by speculative philosophy in accordance with the antiscientific tendencies matured by critique of positivism and evolutionism, so a tradition Progressist struggles to establish itself. At the turn of the 20th century the first generation of German sociologists formally introduced methodological anti-positivism, proposing that research should concentrate on human cultural
norms Norm, the Norm or NORM may refer to: In academic disciplines * Norm (geology), an estimate of the idealised mineral content of a rock * Norm (philosophy), a standard in normative ethics that is prescriptive rather than a descriptive or explanato ...
,
values In ethics Ethics or moral philosophy is a branch of philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about Metaphysics, existence, reason, Epistemology, knowledge, Ethics, values, Philoso ...
,
symbol A symbol is a mark, sign, or word In linguistics, a word of a spoken language can be defined as the smallest sequence of phonemes that can be uttered in isolation with semantic, objective or pragmatics, practical meaning (linguistics), m ...

symbol
s, and social processes viewed from a resolutely
subjective Subjective may refer to: * Subjectivity, a subject's personal perspective, feelings, beliefs, desires or discovery, as opposed to those made from an independent, objective, point of view ** Subjective experience, the subjective quality of consciou ...
perspective. Max Weber argued that sociology may be loosely described as a science as it is able to identify
causal relationships Causality (also referred to as causation, or cause and effect) is influence by which one event, process, state or object (a ''cause'') contributes to the production of another event, process, state or object (an ''effect'') where the cause is ...
of human "
social action In sociology Sociology is a social science Social science is the Branches of science, branch of science devoted to the study of society, societies and the Social relation, relationships among individuals within those societies. The t ...
"—especially among "
ideal type Ideal type (german: Idealtypus), also known as pure type, is a typological term most closely associated with sociologist Max Weber Maximilian Karl Emil Weber (; ; 21 April 186414 June 1920) was a German Sociology, sociologist, historian, juri ...
s", or hypothetical simplifications of complex social phenomena. As a non-positivist, however, Weber sought relationships that are not as "historical, invariant, or generalisable" as those pursued by natural scientists. Fellow German sociologist,
Ferdinand Tönnies Ferdinand Tönnies (; 26 July 1855 – 9 April 1936) was a German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citizens of Germany, se ...

Ferdinand Tönnies
, theorised on two crucial abstract concepts with his work on " ''gemeinschaft'' and ''gesellschaft''" (). Tönnies marked a sharp line between the realm of concepts and the reality of social action: the first must be treated axiomatically and in a deductive way ("pure sociology"), whereas the second empirically and inductively ("applied sociology"). Both Weber and
Georg Simmel Georg Simmel (; ; 1 March 1858 – 26 September 1918) was a German sociologist, philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about ...

Georg Simmel
pioneered the "''
Verstehen ''Verstehen'' (, ), in the context of German philosophy and social science Social science is the branch The branches and leaves of a tree. A branch ( or , ) or tree branch (sometimes referred to in botany Botany, also called , ...

Verstehen
''" (or 'interpretative') method in social science; a systematic process by which an outside observer attempts to relate to a particular cultural group, or indigenous people, on their own terms and from their own point of view. Through the work of Simmel, in particular, sociology acquired a possible character beyond positivist data-collection or grand, deterministic systems of structural law. Relatively isolated from the sociological academy throughout his lifetime, Simmel presented idiosyncratic analyses of modernity more reminiscent of the phenomenological and
existential Existentialism ( or ) is a form of philosophical inquiry that explores the problem of human existence and centers on the lived experience of the thinking, feeling, acting individual. In the view of the existentialist, the individual's starting ...
writers than of Comte or Durkheim, paying particular concern to the forms of, and possibilities for, social individuality. His sociology engaged in a neo-Kantian inquiry into the limits of perception, asking 'What is society?' in a direct allusion to Kant's question 'What is nature?'


Foundations of the academic discipline

The first formal Department of Sociology in the world was established in 1892 by —from the invitation of
William Rainey Harper William Rainey Harper (July 24, 1856 – January 10, 1906) was an American academic leader, an accomplished semiticist Semitic studies, or Semitology, is the academic field dedicated to the studies of Semitic languages The Semitic languages ...
—at the
University of Chicago The University of Chicago (UChicago) is a private Private or privates may refer to: Music * "In Private "In Private" was the third single in a row to be a charting success for United Kingdom, British singer Dusty Springfield, after an abse ...
. The
American Journal of Sociology The ''American Journal of Sociology'' is a peer-reviewed Peer review is the evaluation of work by one or more people with similar competencies as the producers of the work ( peers). It functions as a form of self-regulation by qualified mem ...
was founded shortly thereafter in 1895 by Small as well. The institutionalization of sociology as an academic discipline, however, was chiefly led by
Émile Durkheim David Émile Durkheim ( or ; 15 April 1858 – 15 November 1917) was a French sociologist. He formally established the academic discipline of sociology and is commonly cited as one of the principal architects of modern social science ...

Émile Durkheim
, who developed
positivism Positivism is a philosophical theory A philosophical theory or philosophical position''Dictionary of Theories'', Jennifer Bothamley is a view that attempts to explain or account for a particular problem in philosophy Philosophy (from ...
as a foundation for practical
social research Social research is a research Research is "creative and systematic work undertaken to increase the stock of knowledge". It involves the collection, organization and analysis of information to increase understanding of a topic or issue ...

social research
. While Durkheim rejected much of the detail of Comte's philosophy, he retained and refined its method, maintaining that the social sciences are a logical continuation of the natural ones into the realm of human activity, and insisting that they may retain the same objectivity, rationalism, and approach to causality. Durkheim set up the first European department of sociology at the
University of Bordeaux The University of Bordeaux ( French: ''Université de Bordeaux'') was founded in 1441 in France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a country primarily located in Western Europe, consist ...
in 1895, publishing his '' Rules of the Sociological Method'' (1895). For Durkheim, sociology could be described as the "science of institutions, their genesis and their functioning." Durkheim's monograph ''
Suicide Suicide is the act of intentionally causing one's own death Death is the permanent, irreversible cessation of all biological functions that sustain a living Living or The Living may refer to: Common meanings *Life, a condition t ...
'' (1897) is considered a seminal work in statistical analysis by contemporary sociologists. ''Suicide'' is a case study of variations in suicide rates among
Catholic The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptised Baptism (from the Greek language, Greek noun βάπτισμα ''báptisma'') is a Christians, Christian ...

Catholic
and
Protestant Protestantism is a form of that originated with the 16th-century , a movement against what its followers perceived to be in the . Protestants originating in the Reformation reject the Roman Catholic doctrine of , but disagree among themselves ...
populations, and served to distinguish sociological analysis from
psychology Psychology is the scientific Science () is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge Knowledge is a familiarity or awareness, of someone or something, such as facts A fact is an occurrence in the real world. ...

psychology
or philosophy. It also marked a major contribution to the theoretical concept of
structural functionalism Structural functionalism, or simply functionalism, is "a framework for building theory that sees society as a complex system A complex system is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act accord ...
. By carefully examining suicide statistics in different police districts, he attempted to demonstrate that Catholic communities have a lower suicide rate than that of Protestants, something he attributed to social (as opposed to individual or
psychological Psychology is the scientific Science () is a systematic enterprise that Scientific method, builds and organizes knowledge in the form of Testability, testable explanations and predictions about the universe."... modern science is ...
) causes. He developed the notion of objective ''
sui generis ''Sui generis'' ( , ) is a Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the ...
,'' "social facts", to delineate a unique empirical object for the science of sociology to study. Through such studies he posited that sociology would be able to determine whether any given society is 'healthy' or 'pathological', and seek social reform to negate organic breakdown or " social anomie". Sociology quickly evolved as an academic response to the perceived challenges of
modernity Modernity, a topic in the humanities and social sciences, is both a historical period (the modern era Human history, or world history, is the narrative of humanity Humanity most commonly refers to: * Human Humans (''Homo sapiens' ...

modernity
, such as industrialization, urbanization,
secularization In sociology Sociology is a social science Social science is the branch The branches and leaves of a tree. A branch ( or , ) or tree branch (sometimes referred to in botany Botany, also called , plant biology or phytolo ...
, and the process of "
rationalization Rationalization may refer to: * Rationalization (economics), an attempt to change an ''ad hoc'' workflow into one based on published rules; also, jargon for a reduction in staff * Rationalisation (mathematics), the process of removing a square root ...
". The field predominated in
continental Europe Continental Europe or mainland Europe is the contiguous continent A continent is any of several large landmass A landmass, or land mass, is a large region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', lite ...

continental Europe
, with British
anthropology Anthropology is the scientific study of human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most abundant and widespread species In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, ...
and statistics generally following on a separate trajectory. By the turn of the 20th century, however, many theorists were active in the
English-speaking world Speakers of English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, which has eventually become the Wo ...
. Few early sociologists were confined strictly to the subject, interacting also with economics,
jurisprudence Jurisprudence, or legal theory, is the theoretical study of the propriety of law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whol ...
, psychology and philosophy, with theories being appropriated in a variety of different fields. Since its inception, sociological epistemology, methods, and frames of inquiry, have significantly expanded and diverged. Durkheim, Marx, and the German theorist
Max Weber Maximilian Karl Emil Weber (; ; 21 April 186414 June 1920) was a German Sociology, sociologist, historian, jurist, and political economy, political economist regarded as among the most important theorists of the development of Modernity, modern ...

Max Weber
are typically cited as the three principal architects of sociology.
Herbert Spencer Herbert Spencer (27 April 1820 – 8 December 1903) was an English philosopher, biologist A biologist is a professional who has specialized knowledge in the field of biology, understanding the underlying mechanisms that govern the functio ...

Herbert Spencer
,
William Graham Sumner William Graham Sumner (October 30, 1840 – April 12, 1910) was a classical liberal Classical liberalism is a political ideology and a branch of liberalism Liberalism is a Political philosophy, political and moral philosophy based on li ...

William Graham Sumner
,
Lester F. Ward Lester Frank Ward (June 18, 1841 – April 18, 1913) was an American botanist Botany, also called , plant biology or phytology, is the science of plant life and a branch of biology. A botanist, plant scientist or phytologist is a scientis ...
, W.E.B. Du Bois,
Vilfredo Pareto Vilfredo Federico Damaso Pareto ( , , , ; born Wilfried Fritz Pareto; 15 July 1848 – 19 August 1923) was an Italian civil engineer A civil engineer is a person who practices civil engineering Civil engineering is a professional enginee ...

Vilfredo Pareto
,
Alexis de Tocqueville#REDIRECT Alexis de Tocqueville Alexis Charles Henri Clérel, comte de Tocqueville (; 29 July 180516 April 1859), colloquially known as Tocqueville (), was a French aristocrat, diplomat, political scientist, political philosopher and historia ...

Alexis de Tocqueville
,
Werner Sombart Werner Sombart (; ; 19 January 1863 – 18 May 1941) was a German economist An economist is a practitioner in the social sciences, social science discipline of economics. The individual may also study, develop, and apply theories and concepts ...
,
Thorstein Veblen Thorstein Bunde Veblen (July 30, 1857 – August 3, 1929) was a Norwegian-American economist and sociologist who, during his lifetime, emerged as a well-known critic of capitalism. In his best-known book, ''The Theory of the Leisure Class'' (1 ...
,
Ferdinand Tönnies Ferdinand Tönnies (; 26 July 1855 – 9 April 1936) was a German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citizens of Germany, se ...

Ferdinand Tönnies
,
Georg Simmel Georg Simmel (; ; 1 March 1858 – 26 September 1918) was a German sociologist, philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about ...

Georg Simmel
,
Jane Addams Laura Jane Addams (September 6, 1860 May 21, 1935) was an American Settlement movement, settlement activist, Social reform, reformer, social worker, sociologist, public administrator and author. She was an important leader in the history of so ...

Jane Addams
and
Karl Mannheim Karl Mannheim (born Károly Manheim, 27 March 1893 – 9 January 1947) was an influential German sociology, sociologist during the first half of the 20th century. He is a key figure in classical sociology, as well as one of the founders of the soc ...
are often included on academic curricula as founding theorists. Curricula also may include
Charlotte Perkins Gilman Charlotte Perkins Gilman (; née Perkins; July 3, 1860 – August 17, 1935), also known as Charlotte Perkins Stetson, her first married name, was an American humanist Humanism is a philosophical Philosophy (from , ) is the stu ...

Charlotte Perkins Gilman
, Marianne Weber, Harriet Martineau, and Friedrich Engels as founders of the feminist tradition in sociology. Each key figure is associated with a particular theoretical perspective and orientation.


Further developments

The first college course entitled "Sociology" was taught in the United States at Yale in 1875 by
William Graham Sumner William Graham Sumner (October 30, 1840 – April 12, 1910) was a classical liberal Classical liberalism is a political ideology and a branch of liberalism Liberalism is a Political philosophy, political and moral philosophy based on li ...

William Graham Sumner
. In 1883
Lester F. Ward Lester Frank Ward (June 18, 1841 – April 18, 1913) was an American botanist Botany, also called , plant biology or phytology, is the science of plant life and a branch of biology. A botanist, plant scientist or phytologist is a scientis ...
, who later became the first president of the American Sociological Association (ASA), published ''Dynamic Sociology—Or Applied social science as based upon statical sociology and the less complex sciences'', attacking the laissez-faire sociology of
Herbert Spencer Herbert Spencer (27 April 1820 – 8 December 1903) was an English philosopher, biologist A biologist is a professional who has specialized knowledge in the field of biology, understanding the underlying mechanisms that govern the functio ...

Herbert Spencer
and Sumner. Ward's 1200-page book was used as core material in many early American sociology courses. In 1890, the oldest continuing American course in the modern tradition began at the University of Kansas, lectured by Frank W. Blackmar. The Department of Sociology at the
University of Chicago The University of Chicago (UChicago) is a private Private or privates may refer to: Music * "In Private "In Private" was the third single in a row to be a charting success for United Kingdom, British singer Dusty Springfield, after an abse ...
was established in 1892 by , who also published the first sociology textbook: An introduction to the study of society 1894. George Herbert Mead and Charles Cooley, who had met at the University of Michigan in 1891 (along with John Dewey), moved to Chicago in 1894. Their influence gave rise to social psychology and the symbolic interactionism of the modern Chicago school (sociology), Chicago School. The ''
American Journal of Sociology The ''American Journal of Sociology'' is a peer-reviewed Peer review is the evaluation of work by one or more people with similar competencies as the producers of the work ( peers). It functions as a form of self-regulation by qualified mem ...
'' was founded in 1895, followed by the ASA in 1905. The sociological "canon of classics" with Durkheim and
Max Weber Maximilian Karl Emil Weber (; ; 21 April 186414 June 1920) was a German Sociology, sociologist, historian, jurist, and political economy, political economist regarded as among the most important theorists of the development of Modernity, modern ...

Max Weber
at the top owes in part to Talcott Parsons, who is largely credited with introducing both to American audiences. Parsons consolidated the sociological tradition and set the agenda for American sociology at the point of its fastest disciplinary growth. Sociology in the United States was less historically influenced by Marxism than its European counterpart, and to this day broadly remains more statistical in its approach. The first sociology department to be established in the United Kingdom was at the London School of Economics and Political Science (home of the ''British Journal of Sociology'') in 1904. Leonard Trelawny Hobhouse and Edvard Westermarck became the lecturers in the discipline at the University of London in 1907. Harriet Martineau, an English translator of Comte, has been cited as the first female sociologist. In 1909 the ''Deutsche Gesellschaft für Soziologie'' (German Sociological Association) was founded by
Ferdinand Tönnies Ferdinand Tönnies (; 26 July 1855 – 9 April 1936) was a German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citizens of Germany, se ...

Ferdinand Tönnies
and Max Weber, among others. Weber established the first department in Germany at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich in 1919, having presented an influential new antipositivist sociology. In 1920, Florian Znaniecki set up the first department Sociology in Poland, in Poland. The ''Institute for Social Research'' at the Goethe University Frankfurt, University of Frankfurt (later to become the Frankfurt School of critical theory) was founded in 1923. International co-operation in sociology began in 1893, when René Worms founded the '':fr:René Worms, Institut International de Sociologie'', an institution later eclipsed by the much larger International Sociological Association (ISA), founded in 1949.


Theoretical traditions


Classical theory

The contemporary discipline of sociology is theoretically multi-paradigmatic in line with the contentions of classical social theory. Randall Collins' well-cited survey of sociological theory retroactively labels various theorists as belonging to four theoretical traditions: Functionalism, Conflict, Symbolic Interactionism, and Utilitarianism. Accordingly, modern sociological theory predominantly descends from functionalist (Durkheim) and conflict (Marx and Weber) approaches to social structure, as well as from symbolic-interactionist approaches to social interaction, such as micro-level structural (Georg Simmel, Simmel) and pragmatism, pragmatist (George Herbert Mead, Mead, Charles Cooley, Cooley) perspectives. Utilitarianism (aka rational choice or social exchange), although often associated with economics, is an established tradition within sociological theory. Lastly, as argued by Raewyn Connell, a tradition that is often forgotten is that of Social Darwinism, which applies the logic of Darwinian biological evolution to people and societies. This tradition often aligns with classical functionalism, and was once the dominant theoretical stance in American sociology, from , associated with several founders of sociology, primarily
Herbert Spencer Herbert Spencer (27 April 1820 – 8 December 1903) was an English philosopher, biologist A biologist is a professional who has specialized knowledge in the field of biology, understanding the underlying mechanisms that govern the functio ...

Herbert Spencer
,
Lester F. Ward Lester Frank Ward (June 18, 1841 – April 18, 1913) was an American botanist Botany, also called , plant biology or phytology, is the science of plant life and a branch of biology. A botanist, plant scientist or phytologist is a scientis ...
, and
William Graham Sumner William Graham Sumner (October 30, 1840 – April 12, 1910) was a classical liberal Classical liberalism is a political ideology and a branch of liberalism Liberalism is a Political philosophy, political and moral philosophy based on li ...

William Graham Sumner
. Contemporary sociological theory retains traces of each of these traditions and they are by no means mutually exclusive.


Functionalism

A broad historical paradigm in both sociology and
anthropology Anthropology is the scientific study of human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most abundant and widespread species In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, ...
, functionalism addresses the
social structure In the social sciences Social science is the branch The branches and leaves of a tree. A branch ( or , ) or tree branch (sometimes referred to in botany Botany, also called , plant biology or phytology, is the science of pla ...
—referred to as "social organization" by the classical theorists—with respect to the whole as well as the necessary function of the whole's constituent elements. A common analogy (popularized by
Herbert Spencer Herbert Spencer (27 April 1820 – 8 December 1903) was an English philosopher, biologist A biologist is a professional who has specialized knowledge in the field of biology, understanding the underlying mechanisms that govern the functio ...

Herbert Spencer
) is to regard
norms Norm, the Norm or NORM may refer to: In academic disciplines * Norm (geology), an estimate of the idealised mineral content of a rock * Norm (philosophy), a standard in normative ethics that is prescriptive rather than a descriptive or explanato ...
and institutions as 'organs' that work towards the proper functioning of the entire 'body' of society. The perspective was implicit in the original sociological positivism of Comte but was theorized in full by Durkheim, again with respect to observable, structural laws. Functionalism also has an anthropological basis in the work of theorists such as Marcel Mauss, Bronisław Malinowski, and Radcliffe-Brown. It is in the latter's specific usage that the prefix "structural" emerged. Classical functionalist theory is generally united by its tendency towards biological analogy and notions of social evolutionism, in that the basic form of society would increase in complexity and those forms of social organization that promoted solidarity would eventually overcome social disorganization. As Anthony Giddens, Giddens states:
Functionalist thought, from Comte onwards, has looked particularly towards biology as the science providing the closest and most compatible model for social science. Biology has been taken to provide a guide to conceptualizing the structure and the function of social systems and to analyzing processes of evolution via mechanisms of adaptation. Functionalism strongly emphasizes the pre-eminence of the social world over its individual parts (i.e. its constituent actors, human subjects).


Conflict theory

Functionalist theories emphasize "cohesive systems" and are often contrasted with "conflict theories", which critique the overarching socio-political system or emphasize the inequality between particular groups. The following quotes from Durkheim and Marx epitomize the political, as well as theoretical, disparities, between functionalist and conflict thought respectively:


Symbolic Interactionism

Symbolic interaction—often associated with interactionism, Phenomenology (sociology), phenomenology, Dramaturgy (sociology), dramaturgy, Antipositivism, interpretivism—is a sociological approach that places emphasis on subjective meanings and the empirical unfolding of social processes, generally accessed through micro-analysis. This tradition emerged in the Chicago school (sociology), Chicago School of the 1920s and 1930s, which, prior to World War II, "had been ''the'' center of sociological research and graduate study."Fine, Gary Alan, ed. 1995
''A Second Chicago School?: The Development of a Postwar American Sociology''
Chicago: University of Chicago Press. .
The approach focuses on creating a framework for building a theory that sees society as the product of the everyday interactions of individuals. Society is nothing more than the shared reality that people construct as they interact with one another. This approach sees people interacting in countless settings using symbolic communications to accomplish the tasks at hand. Therefore, society is a complex, ever-changing mosaic of subjective meanings.Macionis, John, and Linda Gerber. 2010. ''Sociology'' (7th Canadian ed.). Toronto: Pearson Canada. . Some critics of this approach argue that it only looks at what is happening in a particular social situation, and disregards the effects that culture, race or gender (i.e. social-historical structures) may have in that situation. Some important sociologists associated with this approach include
Max Weber Maximilian Karl Emil Weber (; ; 21 April 186414 June 1920) was a German Sociology, sociologist, historian, jurist, and political economy, political economist regarded as among the most important theorists of the development of Modernity, modern ...

Max Weber
, George Herbert Mead, Erving Goffman, George Homans, and Peter Blau. It is also in this tradition that the radical-empirical approach of ethnomethodology emerges from the work of Harold Garfinkel.


Utilitarianism

Utilitarianism is often referred to as exchange theory or rational choice theory in the context of sociology. This tradition tends to privilege the agency of individual rational actors and assumes that within interactions individuals always seek to maximize their own self-interest. As argued by Josh Whitford, rational actors are assumed to have four basic elements: # "a knowledge of alternatives;" # "a knowledge of, or beliefs about the consequences of the various alternatives;" # "an ordering of preferences over outcomes;" and # "a decision rule, to select among the possible alternatives" Exchange theory is specifically attributed to the work of George C. Homans, Peter Blau and Richard Emerson. Organizational sociologists James G. March and Herbert A. Simon noted that an individual's bounded rationality, rationality is bounded by the context or organizational setting. The utilitarian perspective in sociology was, most notably, revitalized in the late 20th century by the work of former American Sociological Association, ASA president James Samuel Coleman, James Coleman.


20th-century social theory

Following the decline of theories of sociocultural evolution in the United States, the interactionist thought of the Chicago school (sociology), Chicago School dominated American sociology. As Anselm Strauss describes, "we didn't think symbolic interaction was a perspective in sociology; we thought it was sociology." Moreover, philosophical and psychological pragmatism grounded this tradition. After World War II, mainstream sociology shifted to the survey-research of
Paul Lazarsfeld Paul Felix Lazarsfeld (February 13, 1901August 30, 1976) was an Austrian-American sociologist. The founder of Columbia University Columbia University (also known as Columbia, and officially as Columbia University in the City of New York) is ...
at Columbia University and the general theorizing of Pitirim Sorokin, followed by Talcott Parsons at Harvard University. Ultimately, "the failure of the Chicago, Columbia, and Wisconsin [sociology] departments to produce a significant number of graduate students interested in and committed to general theory in the years 1936–45 was to the advantage of the Harvard department." As Parsons began to dominate general theory, his work primarily referenced European sociology—almost entirely omitting citations of both the American tradition of sociocultural-evolution as well as pragmatism. In addition to Parsons' revision of the sociological canon (which included Marshall, Pareto, Weber and Durkheim), the lack of theoretical challenges from other departments nurtured the rise of the Parsonian structural-functionalist movement, which reached its crescendo in the 1950s, but by the 1960s was in rapid decline. By the 1980s, most functionalist perspectives in Europe had broadly been replaced by conflict theory, conflict-oriented approaches, and to many in the discipline, functionalism was considered "as dead as a dodo:" According to Anthony Giddens, Giddens:
The orthodox consensus terminated in the late 1960s and 1970s as the middle ground shared by otherwise competing perspectives gave way and was replaced by a baffling variety of competing perspectives. This third 'generation' of social theory includes phenomenologically inspired approaches, critical theory, ethnomethodology, symbolic interactionism, structuralism, post-structuralism, and theories written in the tradition of hermeneutics and ordinary Philosophy of language, language philosophy.


Pax Wisconsana

While some conflict approaches also gained popularity in the United States, the mainstream of the discipline instead shifted to a variety of empirically oriented Middle range theory (sociology), middle-range theories with no single overarching, or "grand", theoretical orientation. John Levi Martin refers to this "golden age of methodological unity and theoretical calm" as the ''Pax Wisconsana'', as it reflected the composition of the sociology department at the University of Wisconsin–Madison: numerous scholars working on separate projects with little contention. Omar Lizardo describes the ''pax wisconsana'' as "a Midwestern flavored, Robert K. Merton, Mertonian resolution of the theory/method wars in which [sociologists] all agreed on at least two working hypotheses: (1) grand theory is a waste of time; [and] (2) good theory has to be good to think with or goes in the trash bin." Despite the aversion to grand theory in the latter half of the 20th century, several new traditions have emerged that propose various syntheses: structuralism, post-structuralism, cultural sociology and systems theory.


Structuralism

The structural linguistics, structuralist movement originated primarily from the work of Durkheim as interpreted by two European scholars: Anthony Giddens, a sociologist, whose theory of structuration draws on the linguistics, linguistic theory of Ferdinand de Saussure; and Claude Lévi-Strauss, an anthropologist. In this context, 'structure' does not refer to 'social structure', but to the semiotic understanding of human culture as a sign (semiotics), system of signs. One may delineate four central tenets of structuralism: # Structure is what determines the structure of a whole. # Structuralists believe that every system has a structure. # Structuralists are interested in 'structural' laws that deal with coexistence rather than changes. # Structures are the 'real things' beneath the surface or the appearance of meaning. The second tradition of structuralist thought, contemporaneous with Giddens, emerges from the American School of social network analysis in the 1970s and 1980s, spearheaded by the Harvard Department of Social Relations led by Harrison White and his students. This tradition of structuralist thought argues that, rather than semiotics, social structure is networks of patterned social relations. And, rather than Levi-Strauss, this school of thought draws on the notions of structure as theorized by Levi-Strauss' contemporary anthropologist, Radcliffe-Brown. Some refer to this as "network structuralism", and equate it to "British structuralism" as opposed to the "French structuralism" of Levi-Strauss.


Post-structuralism

Post-structuralist thought has tended to antihumanism, reject 'humanist' assumptions in the construction of social theory. Michel Foucault provides an important critique in his ''the Order of Things, Archaeology of the Human Sciences'', though Jürgen Habermas, Habermas (1986) and Richard Rorty, Rorty (1986) have both argued that Foucault merely replaces one such system of thought with another. The dialogue between these intellectuals highlights a trend in recent years for certain schools of sociology and philosophy to intersect. The anti-humanist position has been associated with "postmodernism", a term used in specific contexts to describe an ''era'' or ''phenomena'', but occasionally construed as a ''method''.


Central theoretical problems

Overall, there is a strong consensus regarding the central problems of sociological theory, which are largely inherited from the classical theoretical traditions. This consensus is: how to link, transcend or cope with the following "big three" dichotomies: # subjectivity and objectivity, which deal with ''knowledge''; # structure and agency, which deal with ''action''; # and synchrony and diachrony, which deal with ''time''. Lastly, sociological theory often grapples with the problem of integrating or transcending the divide between micro, meso, and macro-scale social phenomena, which is a subset of all three central problems.


Subjectivity and objectivity

The problem of subjectivity and objectivity can be divided into two parts: a concern over the general possibilities of social actions, and the specific problem of social scientific knowledge. In the former, the subjective is often equated (though not necessarily) with the individual, and the individual's intentions and interpretations of the objective. The objective is often considered any public or external action or outcome, on up to society writ large. A primary question for social theorists, then, is how knowledge reproduces along the chain of subjective-objective-subjective, that is to say: how is ''intersubjectivity'' achieved? While, historically, qualitative methods have attempted to tease out subjective interpretations, quantitative survey methods also attempt to capture individual subjectivities. Also, some qualitative methods take a radical approach to objective description in situ. The latter concern with scientific knowledge results from the fact that a sociologist is part of the very object they seek to explain, as Bourdieu explains:


Structure and agency

Structure and agency, sometimes referred to as determinism versus voluntarism, form an enduring ontological debate in social theory: "Do social structures determine an individual's behaviour or does human agency?" In this context, agency (sociology), ''agency'' refers to the capacity of individuals to act independently and make free choices, whereas social structure, ''structure'' relates to factors that limit or affect the choices and actions of individuals (e.g. social class, religion, gender, ethnicity, etc.). Discussions over the primacy of either structure or agency relate to the core of sociological epistemology (i.e. "what is the social world made of?", "what is a cause in the social world, and what is an effect?"). A perennial question within this debate is that of "social reproduction": how are structures (specifically, structures producing inequality) reproduced through the choices of individuals?


Synchrony and diachrony

Synchrony and diachrony (or statics and dynamics) within social theory are terms that refer to a distinction that emerged through the work of Levi-Strauss who inherited it from the linguistics of Ferdinand de Saussure. Synchrony slices moments of time for analysis, thus it is an analysis of static social reality. Diachrony, on the other hand, attempts to analyse dynamic sequences. Following Saussure, synchrony would refer to social phenomena as a static concept like a ''language'', while diachrony would refer to unfolding processes like actual ''speech''. In Anthony Giddens' introduction to ''Central Problems in Social Theory'', he states that, "in order to show the interdependence of action and structure…we must grasp the time space relations inherent in the constitution of all social interaction." And like structure and agency, time is integral to discussion of social reproduction. In terms of sociology, historical sociology is often better positioned to analyse social life as diachronic, while survey research takes a snapshot of social life and is thus better equipped to understand social life as synchronized. Some argue that the synchrony of social structure is a methodological perspective rather than an ontological claim. Nonetheless, the problem for theory is how to integrate the two manners of recording and thinking about social data.


Research methodology

Many people divide sociological research methods into two broad categories, although many others see research methods as a continuum: * Qualitative research, Qualitative designs emphasize understanding of social phenomena through direct observation, communication with participants, or analysis of texts, and may stress contextual and subjective accuracy over generality. * Quantitative method, Quantitative designs approach social phenomena through quantifiable evidence, and often rely on statistical analysis of many cases (or across intentionally designed treatments in an experiment) to establish valid and reliable general claims. Sociologists are often divided into camps of support for particular research techniques. These disputes relate to the epistemological debates at the historical core of social theory. While very different in many aspects, both qualitative and quantitative approaches involve a systematic interaction between social theory, theory and data. Quantitative methodologies hold the dominant position in sociology, especially in the United States. In the discipline's two most cited journals, quantitative articles have historically outnumbered qualitative ones by a factor of two. (Most articles published in the largest British journal, on the other hand, are Qualitative research, qualitative.) Most textbooks on the methodology of social research are written from the quantitative perspective, and the very term "methodology" is often used synonymously with "statistics". Practically all sociology PhD programmes in the United States require training in statistical methods. The work produced by quantitative researchers is also deemed more 'trustworthy' and 'unbiased' by the general public, though this judgment continues to be challenged by antipositivists. The choice of method often depends largely on what the researcher intends to investigate. For example, a researcher concerned with drawing a statistical generalization across an entire population may administer a Survey research, survey questionnaire to a representative sample population. By contrast, a researcher who seeks full contextual understanding of an individual's social actions may choose ethnographic participant observation or open-ended interviews. Studies will commonly combine, or triangulation (social science), 'triangulate', quantitative ''and'' qualitative methods as part of a 'multi-strategy' design. For instance, a quantitative study may be performed to obtain statistical patterns on a target sample, and then combined with a qualitative interview to determine the play of Agency (sociology), agency.


Sampling

Quantitative methods are often used to ask questions about a population that is very large, making a census or a complete enumeration of all the members in that population infeasible. A 'sample' then forms a manageable subset of a Statistical population, population. In quantitative research, statistics are used to draw inferences from this sample regarding the population as a whole. The process of selecting a sample is referred to as sampling (statistics), 'sampling'. While it is usually best to random sampling, sample randomly, concern with differences between specific subpopulations sometimes calls for stratified sampling. Conversely, the impossibility of random sampling sometimes necessitates nonprobability sampling, such as convenience sampling or snowball sampling.


Methods

''The following list of research methods is neither exclusive nor exhaustive:'' * Archival research (or the Historical method): Draws upon the secondary data located in historical archives and records, such as biographies, memoirs, journals, and so on. * Content analysis: The content of interviews and other texts is systematically analysed. Often data is 'coded' as a part of the 'grounded theory' approach using qualitative data analysis (QDA) software, such as Atlas.ti, MAXQDA, NVivo, or QDA Miner. * Experimental research: The researcher isolates a single social process and reproduces it in a laboratory (for example, by creating a situation where unconscious sexist judgements are possible), seeking to determine whether or not certain social Dependent and independent variables, variables can cause, or depend upon, other variables (for instance, seeing if people's feelings about traditional gender roles can be manipulated by the activation of contrasting gender stereotypes). Participants are Random assignment, randomly assigned to different groups that either serve as Scientific control, controls—acting as reference points because they are tested with regard to the dependent variable, albeit without having been exposed to any independent variables of interest—or receive one or more treatments. Randomization allows the researcher to be sure that any resulting differences between groups are the result of the treatment. * Longitudinal study: An extensive examination of a specific person or group over a long period of time. * Observation: Using data from the senses, the researcher records information about social phenomenon or behaviour. Observation techniques may or may not feature participation. In participant observation, the researcher goes into the field (e.g. a community or a place of work), and participates in the activities of the field for a prolonged period of time in order to acquire a deep understanding of it. Data acquired through these techniques may be analysed either quantitatively or qualitatively. In the observation research, a sociologist might study global warming in some part of the world that is less populated. * Program Evaluation is a systematic method for collecting, analyzing, and using information to answer questions about projects, policies and programs, particularly about their effectiveness and efficiency. In both the public and private sectors, stakeholders often want to know whether the programs they are funding, implementing, voting for, or objecting to are producing the intended effect. While program evaluation first focuses on this definition, important considerations often include how much the program costs per participant, how the program could be improved, whether the program is worthwhile, whether there are better alternatives, if there are unintended outcomes, and whether the program goals are appropriate and useful. * Survey research: The researcher gathers data using interviews, questionnaires, or similar feedback from a set of people sampled from a particular population of interest. Survey items from an interview or questionnaire may be open-ended or closed-ended. Data from surveys is usually analysed statistically on a computer.


Computational sociology

Sociologists increasingly draw upon computationally intensive methods to analyse and model social phenomena.William Sims Bainbridge, Bainbridge, William Sims 2007.
Computational Sociology
" In ''Blackwell Encyclopedia of Sociology'', edited by George Ritzer, G. Ritzer. Blackwell Reference Online. . .
Using computer simulations, artificial intelligence, text mining, complex statistical methods, and new analytic approaches like
social network A social network is a social structure made up of a set of social actors (such as individuals or organizations), sets of Dyad (sociology), dyadic ties, and other Social relation, social interactions between actors. The social network perspectiv ...

social network
analysis and social sequence analysis, computational sociology develops and tests theories of complex social processes through bottom-up modelling of social interactions. Although the subject matter and methodologies in social science differ from those in natural science or computer science, several of the approaches used in contemporary social simulation originated from fields such as physics and artificial intelligence. By the same token, some of the approaches that originated in computational sociology have been imported into the natural sciences, such as measures of centrality, network centrality from the fields of social network analysis and network science. In relevant literature, computational sociology is often related to the study of social complexity. Social complexity concepts such as complex systems, non-linear interconnection among macro and micro process, and emergence, have entered the vocabulary of computational sociology. A practical and well-known example is the construction of a computational model in the form of an "artificial society", by which researchers can analyse the structure of a social system.


Subfields


Culture

Sociologists' approach to culture can be divided into "''sociology of culture''" and "''cultural sociology''"—terms which are similar, though not entirely interchangeable. Sociology of culture is an older term, and considers some topics and objects as more or less "cultural" than others. Conversely, cultural sociology sees all social phenomena as inherently cultural. Sociology of culture often attempts to explain certain cultural phenomena as a product of social processes, while cultural sociology sees culture as a potential explanation of social phenomena. For Georg Simmel, Simmel, culture referred to "the cultivation of individuals through the agency of external forms which have been objectified in the course of history." While early theorists such as Durkheim and Marcel Mauss, Mauss were influential in cultural anthropology, sociologists of culture are generally distinguished by their concern for Modernity, modern (rather than Primitive culture, primitive or ancient) society. Cultural sociology often involves the
hermeneutic Hermeneutics () is the theory and methodology of interpretation, especially the interpretation of Biblical hermeneutics, biblical texts, wisdom literature, and Philosophy, philosophical texts. Hermeneutics is more than interpretative principles ...
analysis of words, artefacts and symbols, or ethnographic interviews. However, some sociologists employ historical-comparative or quantitative techniques in the analysis of culture, Weber and Bourdieu for instance. The subfield is sometimes allied with critical theory in the vein of Theodor W. Adorno, Walter Benjamin, and other members of the Frankfurt School. Loosely distinct from the sociology of culture is the field of cultural studies. Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies, Birmingham School theorists such as Richard Hoggart and Stuart Hall (cultural theorist), Stuart Hall questioned the division between "producers" and "consumers" evident in earlier theory, emphasizing the reciprocity in the production of texts. Cultural Studies aims to examine its subject matter in terms of cultural practices and their relation to power. For example, a study of a subculture (e.g. white working class youth in London) would consider the social practices of the group as they relate to the dominant class. The " cultural turn" of the 1960s ultimately placed culture much higher on the sociological agenda.


Art, music and literature

Sociology of literature, film, and art is a subset of the sociology of culture. This field studies the social production of artistic objects and its social implications. A notable example is Pierre Bourdieu's ''Les Règles de L'Art: Genèse et Structure du Champ Littéraire'' (1992). None of the founding fathers of sociology produced a detailed study of art, but they did develop ideas that were subsequently applied to literature by others. Marx's theory of ideology was directed at literature by Pierre Macherey, Terry Eagleton and Fredric Jameson. Weber's theory of modernity as cultural rationalization, which he applied to music, was later applied to all the arts, literature included, by Frankfurt School writers such as Theodor W. Adorno, Theodor Adorno and Jürgen Habermas. Durkheim's view of sociology as the study of externally defined social facts was redirected towards literature by Robert Escarpit. Bourdieu's own work is clearly indebted to Marx, Weber and Durkheim.


Criminality, deviance, law and punishment

Criminologists analyse the nature, causes, and control of criminal activity, drawing upon methods across sociology,
psychology Psychology is the scientific Science () is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge Knowledge is a familiarity or awareness, of someone or something, such as facts A fact is an occurrence in the real world. ...

psychology
, and the behavioural sciences. The sociology of deviance focuses on actions or behaviours that violate
norms Norm, the Norm or NORM may refer to: In academic disciplines * Norm (geology), an estimate of the idealised mineral content of a rock * Norm (philosophy), a standard in normative ethics that is prescriptive rather than a descriptive or explanato ...
, including both infringements of formally enacted rules (e.g., crime) and informal violations of cultural norms. It is the remit of sociologists to study why these norms exist; how they change over time; and how they are enforced. The concept of social disorganization is when the broader social systems leads to violations of norms. For instance,
Robert K. Merton Robert King Merton (born Meyer Robert Schkolnick; 4 July 1910 – 23 February 2003) was an American sociologist who is considered a founding father of modern sociology Sociology is the study of society, human social behaviour, patterns o ...
produced a Robert K. Merton#Merton's theory of deviance, typology of deviance, which includes both individual and system level causal explanations of deviance.


Sociology of law

The study of law played a significant role in the formation of classical sociology. Durkheim famously described law as the "visible symbol" of social solidarity. The sociology of law refers to both a sub-discipline of sociology and an approach within the field of legal studies. Sociology of law is a diverse field of study that examines the interaction of law with other aspects of society, such as the development of legal institutions and the effect of laws on social change and vice versa. For example, an influential recent work in the field relies on statistical analyses to argue that the increase in incarceration in the US over the last 30 years is due to changes in law and policing and not to an increase in crime; and that this increase has significantly contributed to the persistence of racial Social stratification, stratification.


Communications and information technologies

The sociology of communications and information technologies includes "the social aspects of computing, the Internet, new media, computer networks, and other communication and information technologies."


Internet and digital media

The Internet is of interest to sociologists in various ways; most practically as a tool for social research, research and as a discussion platform. The sociology of the Internet in the broad sense concerns the analysis of online communities (e.g. newsgroups, social networking sites) and virtual worlds, meaning that there is often overlap with community sociology. Online communities may be studied statistically through social network, network analysis or interpreted qualitatively through virtual ethnography. Moreover, organizational change is catalysed through new media, thereby influencing social change at-large, perhaps forming the framework for a transformation from an industrial society, industrial to an informational society. One notable text is Manuel Castells' ''The Internet Galaxy''—the title of which forms an inter-textual reference to Marshall McLuhan's ''The Gutenberg Galaxy''. Closely related to the sociology of the Internet is digital sociology, which expands the scope of study to address not only the internet but also the impact of the other digital media and devices that have emerged since the first decade of the twenty-first century.


Media

As with cultural studies, media study is a distinct discipline that owes to the convergence of sociology and other social sciences and humanities, in particular, literary criticism and critical theory. Though neither the production process nor the critique of aesthetic forms is in the remit of sociologists, analyses of socialization, socializing factors, such as ideology, ideological effects and audience reception, stem from sociological theory and method. Thus the 'sociology of the media' is not a subdiscipline ''per se'', but the media is a common and often indispensable topic.


Economic sociology

The term "economic sociology" was first used by William Stanley Jevons in 1879, later to be coined in the works of Durkheim, Weber, and Simmel between 1890 and 1920. Economic sociology arose as a new approach to the analysis of economic phenomena, emphasizing class relations and
modernity Modernity, a topic in the humanities and social sciences, is both a historical period (the modern era Human history, or world history, is the narrative of humanity Humanity most commonly refers to: * Human Humans (''Homo sapiens' ...

modernity
as a philosophical concept. The relationship between capitalism and
modernity Modernity, a topic in the humanities and social sciences, is both a historical period (the modern era Human history, or world history, is the narrative of humanity Humanity most commonly refers to: * Human Humans (''Homo sapiens' ...

modernity
is a salient issue, perhaps best demonstrated in Weber's ''The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism'' (1905) and Simmel's ''The Philosophy of Money'' (1900). The contemporary period of economic sociology, also known as ''new economic sociology'', was consolidated by the 1985 work of Mark Granovetter titled "Economic Action and Social Structure: The Problem of Embeddedness". This work elaborated the concept of embeddedness, which states that economic relations between individuals or firms take place within existing social relations (and are thus structured by these relations as well as the greater social structures of which those relations are a part). Social network analysis has been the primary methodology for studying this phenomenon. Granovetter's theory of the Mark Granovetter#The strength of weak ties, strength of weak ties and Ronald Burt's concept of structural holes are two of the best known theoretical contributions of this field.


Work, employment, and industry

The sociology of work, or industrial sociology, examines "the direction and implications of trends in technological change, globalization, labour markets, work organization, managerial practices and division of labour, employment relations to the extent to which these trends are intimately related to changing patterns of inequality in modern societies and to the changing experiences of individuals and families the ways in which workers challenge, resist and make their own contributions to the patterning of work and shaping of work institutions."


Education

The sociology of education is the study of how educational institutions determine social structures, experiences, and other outcomes. It is particularly concerned with the schooling systems of modern industrial societies. A classic 1966 study in this field by James Samuel Coleman, James Coleman, known as the "Coleman Report", analysed the performance of over 150,000 students and found that student background and socioeconomic status are much more important in determining educational outcomes than are measured differences in school resources (i.e. per pupil spending). The controversy over "school effects" ignited by that study has continued to this day. The study also found that socially disadvantaged black students profited from schooling in racially mixed classrooms, and thus served as a catalyst for desegregation busing in American public schools.


Environment

Environmental sociology is the study of human interactions with the natural environment, typically emphasizing human dimensions of environmental problems, social impacts of those problems, and efforts to resolve them. As with other sub-fields of sociology, scholarship in environmental sociology may be at one or multiple levels of analysis, from global (e.g. world-systems) to local, societal to individual. Attention is paid also to the processes by which environmental problems become ''defined'' and ''known'' to humans. As argued by notable environmental sociologist John Bellamy Foster, the predecessor to modern environmental sociology is Marx's analysis of the metabolic rift, which influenced contemporary thought on sustainability. Environmental sociology is often interdisciplinary and overlaps with the sociology of risk, rural sociology and the sociology of disaster.


Human ecology

Human ecology deals with interdisciplinary study of the relationship between humans and their natural, social, and built environments. In addition to Environmental sociology, this field overlaps with architectural sociology, urban sociology, and to some extent visual sociology. In turn, visual sociology—which is concerned with all visual dimensions of social life—overlaps with media studies in that it uses photography, film and other technologies of media.


Social pre-wiring

Social pre-wiring deals with the study of fetal social behavior and social interactions in a multi-fetal environment. Specifically, social pre-wiring refers to the ontogeny of social relation, social interaction. Also informally referred to as, "wired to be social". The theory questions whether there is a propensity to social actions, socially oriented action already present ''before'' birth. Research in the theory concludes that newborns are born into the world with a unique genetics, genetic wiring to be social.Castiello, Umberto, Cristina Becchio, Stefania Zoia, Cristian Nelini, et al. 2010.
Wired to be Social: The Ontogeny of Human Interaction
" ''PLOS One'' 5(10). . . – via National Center for Biotechnology Information, United States National Library of Medicine, U.S. National Library of Medicine.
Circumstantial evidence supporting the social pre-wiring hypothesis can be revealed when examining newborns' behavior. Newborns, not even hours after birth, have been found to display a preparedness for social relation, social interaction. This preparedness is expressed in ways such as their imitation of facial gestures. This observed behavior cannot be contributed to any current form of socialization or social construction. Rather, newborns most likely heredity, inherit to some extent social behavior and identity (social science), identity through genetics. Principal evidence of this theory is uncovered by examining Twin pregnancies. The main argument is, if there are social behaviors that are heredity, inherited and developed before birth, then one should expect twin foetuses to engage in some form of social relation, social interaction before they are born. Thus, ten foetuses were analyzed over a period of time using ultrasound techniques. Using kinematic analysis, the results of the experiment were that the twin foetuses would interact with each other for longer periods and more often as the pregnancies went on. Researchers were able to conclude that the performance of movements between the co-twins were not accidental but specifically aimed. The social pre-wiring hypothesis was proved correct:
The central advance of this study is the demonstration that 'social actions' are already performed in the second trimester of gestational age, gestation. Starting from the 14th week of gestational age, gestation twin foetuses plan and execute movements specifically aimed at the co-twin. These findings force us to predate the emergence of social behavior: when the context enables it, as in the case of twin foetuses, other-directed actions are not only possible but predominant over self-directed actions.


Family, gender, and sexuality

Family, gender and sexuality form a broad area of inquiry studied in many sub-fields of sociology. A family is a group of people who are related by kinship ties :- Relations of blood / marriage / civil partnership or adoption. The family unit is one of the most important social institutions found in some form in nearly all known societies. It is the basic unit of social organization and plays a key role in socializing children into the culture of their society. The sociology of the family examines the family, as an institution and unit of socialization, with special concern for the comparatively modern historical emergence of the nuclear family and its distinct gender roles. The notion of "childhood" is also significant. As one of the more basic institutions to which one may apply sociological perspectives, the sociology of the family is a common component on introductory academic curricula. Feminist sociology, on the other hand, is a normative sub-field that observes and critiques the cultural categories of gender and sexuality, particularly with respect to power and inequality. The primary concern of feminist theory is the patriarchy and the systematic oppression of women apparent in many societies, both at the level of small-scale interaction and in terms of the broader social structure. Feminist sociology also analyses how gender interlocks with race and class to produce and perpetuate social inequalities. "How to account for the differences in definitions of femininity and masculinity and in sex role across different societies and historical periods" is also a concern.


Health, illness, and the body

The sociology of health and illness focuses on the social effects of, and public attitudes toward, illnesses, diseases, mental health and disabilities. This sub-field also overlaps with gerontology and the study of the ageing process. Medical sociology, by contrast, focuses on the inner-workings of medical organizations and clinical institutions. In Britain, sociology was introduced into the medical curriculum following the ''Goodenough Report'' (1944). The Sociology of the body and embodiment takes a broad perspective on the idea of "the body" and includes "a wide range of embodied dynamics including human and non-human bodies, morphology, human reproduction, anatomy, body fluids, biotechnology, genetics. This often intersects with health and illness, but also theories of bodies as political, social, cultural, economic and ideological productions. The International Sociological Association, ISA maintains a Research Committee devoted to "the Body in the Social Sciences".


Death, dying, bereavement

A subfield of the sociology of health and illness that overlaps with cultural sociology is the study of death, dying and bereavement, sometimes referred to broadly as the Thanatology, sociology of death. This topic is exemplified by the work of Douglas Davies and Michael C. Kearl.


Knowledge and science

The sociology of knowledge is the study of the relationship between human thought and the social context within which it arises, and of the effects prevailing ideas have on societies. The term first came into widespread use in the 1920s, when a number of German-speaking theorists, most notably Max Scheler, and
Karl Mannheim Karl Mannheim (born Károly Manheim, 27 March 1893 – 9 January 1947) was an influential German sociology, sociologist during the first half of the 20th century. He is a key figure in classical sociology, as well as one of the founders of the soc ...
, wrote extensively on it. With the dominance of Structural functionalism, functionalism through the middle years of the 20th century, the sociology of knowledge tended to remain on the periphery of mainstream sociological thought. It was largely reinvented and applied much more closely to everyday life in the 1960s, particularly by Peter L. Berger and Thomas Luckmann in ''The Social Construction of Reality'' (1966) and is still central for methods dealing with qualitative understanding of human society (compare ''socially constructed reality''). The "archaeological" and "genealogical" studies of Michel Foucault are of considerable contemporary influence. The sociology of science involves the study of science as a social activity, especially dealing "with the social conditions and effects of science, and with the social structures and processes of scientific activity." Important theorists in the sociology of science include
Robert K. Merton Robert King Merton (born Meyer Robert Schkolnick; 4 July 1910 – 23 February 2003) was an American sociologist who is considered a founding father of modern sociology Sociology is the study of society, human social behaviour, patterns o ...
and Bruno Latour. These branches of sociology have contributed to the formation of science and technology studies. Both the American Sociological Association, ASA and the British Sociological Association, BSA have sections devoted to the subfield of Science, Knowledge and Technology. The International Sociological Association, ISA maintains a Research Committee on Science and Technology.


Leisure

Sociology of leisure is the study of how humans organize their free time. Leisure includes a broad array of activities, such as Sociology of sport, sport, tourism, and the playing of games. The sociology of leisure is closely tied to the sociology of work, as each explores a different side of the work–leisure relationship. More recent studies in the field move away from the work–leisure relationship and focus on the relation between leisure and culture. This area of sociology began with
Thorstein Veblen Thorstein Bunde Veblen (July 30, 1857 – August 3, 1929) was a Norwegian-American economist and sociologist who, during his lifetime, emerged as a well-known critic of capitalism. In his best-known book, ''The Theory of the Leisure Class'' (1 ...
's ''Theory of the Leisure Class''.


Peace, war, and conflict

This subfield of sociology studies, broadly, the dynamics of war, conflict resolution, peace movements, war refugees, conflict resolution and military institutions. As a subset of this subfield, military sociology aims towards the systematic study of the military as a social group rather than as an Military organization, organization. It is a highly specialized sub-field which examines issues related to service personnel as a distinct social group, group with coerced collective action based on shared Advocacy group, interests linked to survival in vocation and combat, with purposes and
values In ethics Ethics or moral philosophy is a branch of philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about Metaphysics, existence, reason, Epistemology, knowledge, Ethics, values, Philoso ...
that are more defined and narrow than within civil society. Military sociology also concerns civilian-military relations and interactions between other groups or governmental agencies. Topics include the dominant assumptions held by those in the military, changes in military members' willingness to fight, military unionization, military professionalism, the increased utilization of women, the military industrial-academic complex, the military's dependence on research, and the institutional and organizational structure of military.


Political sociology

Historically, political sociology concerned the relations between political organization and society. A typical research question in this area might be: "Why do so few American citizens choose to vote?" In this respect questions of political opinion formation brought about some of the pioneering uses of statistical survey research by
Paul Lazarsfeld Paul Felix Lazarsfeld (February 13, 1901August 30, 1976) was an Austrian-American sociologist. The founder of Columbia University Columbia University (also known as Columbia, and officially as Columbia University in the City of New York) is ...
. A major subfield of political sociology developed in relation to such questions, which draws on comparative history to analyse socio-political trends. The field developed from the work of Max Weber and Moisey Ostrogorsky. Contemporary political sociology includes these areas of research, but it has been opened up to wider questions of power and politics. Today political sociologists are as likely to be concerned with how identities are formed that contribute to structural domination by one group over another; the politics of who knows how and with what authority; and questions of how power is contested in social interactions in such a way as to bring about widespread cultural and social change. Such questions are more likely to be studied qualitatively. The study of social movements and their effects has been especially important in relation to these wider definitions of politics and power. Political sociology has also moved beyond methodological nationalism and analysed the role of non-governmental organizations, the diffusion of the nation-state throughout the Earth as a social construct, and the role of Statelessness, stateless entities in the modern world society. Contemporary political sociologists also study inter-state interactions and human rights.


Population and demography

Demographers or sociologists of population study the size, composition and change over time of a given population. Demographers study how these characteristics impact, or are impacted by, various social, economic or political systems. The study of population is also closely related to human ecology and environmental sociology, which studies a populations relationship with the surrounding environment and often overlaps with urban or rural sociology. Researchers in this field may study the movement of populations: transportation, migrations, diaspora, etc., which falls into the subfield known as Mobilities studies and is closely related to human geography. Demographers may also study spread of disease within a given population or epidemiology.


Public sociology

Public sociology refers to an approach to the discipline which seeks to transcend the academy in order to engage with wider audiences. It is perhaps best understood as a style of sociology rather than a particular method, theory, or set of political values. This approach is primarily associated with Michael Burawoy who contrasted it with professional sociology, a form of academic sociology that is concerned primarily with addressing other professional sociologists. Public sociology is also part of the broader field of science communication or science journalism.


Race and ethnic relations

The sociology of race and of ethnic relations is the area of the discipline that studies the Social relation, social, political, and economic relations between Race (classification of human beings), races and ethnicities at all levels of society. This area encompasses the study of racism, residential segregation, and other complex social processes between different racial and ethnic groups. This research frequently interacts with other areas of sociology such as Social stratification, stratification and Social psychology (sociology), social psychology, as well as with postcolonial theory. At the level of political policy, ethnic relations are discussed in terms of either assimilationism or multiculturalism. Anti-racism forms another style of policy, particularly popular in the 1960s and 1970s.


Religion

The sociology of religion concerns the practices, historical backgrounds, developments, universal themes and roles of religion in society. There is particular emphasis on the recurring role of religion in all societies and throughout recorded history. The sociology of religion is distinguished from the philosophy of religion in that sociologists do not set out to assess the validity of religious truth-claims, instead assuming what Peter L. Berger has described as a position of "methodological atheism". It may be said that the modern formal discipline of sociology ''began'' with the analysis of religion in Durkheim's 1897 suicide (Durkheim book), study of suicide rates among Roman Catholic and
Protestant Protestantism is a form of that originated with the 16th-century , a movement against what its followers perceived to be in the . Protestants originating in the Reformation reject the Roman Catholic doctrine of , but disagree among themselves ...
populations. Max Weber published four major texts on religion in a context of economic sociology and
social stratification Social stratification refers to a society's categorization Categorization is the human ability and activity of recognizing shared features or similarities between the elements of the experience Experience refers to conscious , an English ...
: ''The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism'' (1905), ''The Religion of China: Confucianism and Taoism'' (1915), ''The Religion of India: The Sociology of Hinduism and Buddhism'' (1915), and ''Ancient Judaism (book), Ancient Judaism'' (1920). Contemporary debates often centre on topics such as
secularization In sociology Sociology is a social science Social science is the branch The branches and leaves of a tree. A branch ( or , ) or tree branch (sometimes referred to in botany Botany, also called , plant biology or phytolo ...
, civil religion, the intersection of religion and economics and the role of religion in a context of globalization and multiculturalism.


Social change and development

The sociology of change and development attempts to understand how societies develop and how they can be changed. This includes studying many different aspects of society, for example demographic trends, political or technological trends, or changes in culture. Within this field, sociologists often use macrosociology, macrosociological methods or Comparative historical research, historical-comparative methods. In contemporary studies of social change, there are overlaps with international development or community development. However, most of the founders of sociology had theories of social change based on their study of history. For instance, Marx contended that the material circumstances of society ultimately caused the ideal or cultural aspects of society, while Max Weber, Weber argued that it was in fact the cultural mores of Protestantism that ushered in a transformation of material circumstances. In contrast to both, Durkheim argued that societies moved from simple to complex through a process of sociocultural evolution. Sociologists in this field also study processes of globalization and imperialism. Most notably, Immanuel Wallerstein extends Marx's theoretical frame to include large spans of time and the entire globe in what is known as world systems theory. Development sociology is also heavily influenced by post-colonialism. In recent years, Raewyn Connell issued a critique of the bias in sociological research towards countries in the Global North. She argues that this bias blinds sociologists to the lived experiences of the Global South, specifically, so-called, "Northern Theory" lacks an adequate theory of imperialism and colonialism. There are many organizations studying social change, including the Fernand Braudel Center for the Study of Economies, Historical Systems, and Civilizations, and the Global Social Change Research Project.


Social networks

A social network is a
social structure In the social sciences Social science is the branch The branches and leaves of a tree. A branch ( or , ) or tree branch (sometimes referred to in botany Botany, also called , plant biology or phytology, is the science of pla ...
composed of individuals (or organizations) called "nodes", which are tied (connected) by one or more specific types of interdependency, such as friendship, kinship, financial exchange, dislike, sexual network, sexual relationships, or relationships of beliefs, knowledge or prestige. Social networks operate on many levels, from families up to the level of nations, and play a critical role in determining the way problems are solved, organizations are run, and the degree to which individuals succeed in achieving their goals. An underlying theoretical assumption of social network analysis is that groups are not necessarily the building blocks of society: the approach is open to studying less-bounded social systems, from non-local communities to networks of exchange. Drawing theoretically from relational sociology, social network analysis avoids treating individuals (persons, organizations, states) as discrete units of analysis, it focuses instead on how the structure of ties affects and constitutes individuals and their relationships. In contrast to analyses that assume that socialization into norms determines behaviour, network analysis looks to see the extent to which the structure and composition of ties affect norms. On the other hand, recent research by Omar Lizardo also demonstrates that network ties are shaped and created by previously existing cultural tastes. Social network theory is usually defined in Mathematical sociology, formal mathematics and may include integration of geographical data into Sociomapping.


Social psychology

Sociological social psychology focuses on micro-scale social actions. This area may be described as adhering to "sociological miniaturism", examining whole societies through the study of individual thoughts and emotions as well as behaviour of small groups. One special concern to psychological sociologists is how to explain a variety of demographic, social, and cultural facts in terms of human social interaction. Some of the major topics in this field are social inequality, group dynamics, prejudice, aggression, social perception, group behaviour, social change, non-verbal behaviour, socialization, conformity, leadership, and social identity. Social psychology may be taught with Social psychology (psychology), psychological emphasis. In sociology, researchers in this field are the most prominent users of the experimental method (however, unlike their psychological counterparts, they also frequently employ other methodologies). Social psychology looks at social influences, as well as social perception and social interaction.


Stratification, poverty and inequality

Social stratification is the hierarchical arrangement of individuals into social classes, castes, and divisions within a society. Modern Western culture, Western societies stratification traditionally relates to cultural and economic classes arranged in three main layers: upper class, middle class, and Working class, lower class, but each class may be further subdivided into smaller classes (e.g. occupational prestige, occupational). Social stratification is interpreted in radically different ways within sociology. Proponents of
structural functionalism Structural functionalism, or simply functionalism, is "a framework for building theory that sees society as a complex system A complex system is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act accord ...
suggest that, since the stratification of classes and castes is evident in all societies, hierarchy must be beneficial in stabilizing their existence. Conflict theory, Conflict theorists, by contrast, critique the inaccessibility of resources and lack of
social mobility Social mobility is the movement of individuals, families, households, or other categories of people within or between Social stratification, social strata in a society. It is a change in social status relative to one's current social location ...
in stratified societies. Karl Marx distinguished social classes by their connection to the means of production in the capitalist system: the bourgeoisie own the means, but this effectively includes the proletariat itself as the workers can only sell their own labour power (forming the base and superstructure, material base of the cultural superstructure). Max Weber critiqued Marxist economic determinism, arguing that social stratification is not based purely on economic inequalities, but on other status and power differentials (e.g. patriarchy). According to Weber, stratification may occur among at least three complex variables: # Property (class): A person's economic position in a society, based on birth and individual achievement. Weber differs from Marx in that he does not see this as the supreme factor in stratification. Weber noted how managers of corporations or industries control firms they do not own; Marx would have placed such a person in the proletariat. # Prestige (status): A person's prestige, or popularity in a society. This could be determined by the kind of job this person does or wealth. # Power (political party): A person's ability to get their way despite the resistance of others. For example, individuals in state jobs, such as an employee of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, or a member of the United States Congress, may hold little property or status but they still hold immense power. Pierre Bourdieu provides a modern example in the concepts of cultural capital, cultural and symbolic capital. Theorists such as Ralf Dahrendorf have noted the tendency towards an enlarged middle-class in modern Western societies, particularly in relation to the necessity of an educated work force in technological or service-based economies. Perspectives concerning globalization, such as dependency theory, suggest this effect owes to the shift of workers to the Developing country, developing countries.


Urban and rural sociology

Urban sociology involves the analysis of social life and human interaction in metropolitan areas. It is a discipline seeking to provide advice for planning and policy making. After the industrial revolution, works such as
Georg Simmel Georg Simmel (; ; 1 March 1858 – 26 September 1918) was a German sociologist, philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about ...

Georg Simmel
's ''The Metropolis and Mental Life'' (1903) focused on urbanization and the effect it had on alienation and anonymity. In the 1920s and 1930s The Chicago school (sociology), Chicago School produced a major body of theory on the nature of the city, important to both urban sociology and criminology, utilizing symbolic interactionism as a method of field research. Contemporary research is commonly placed in a context of globalization, for instance, in Saskia Sassen's study of the "Global city". Rural sociology, by contrast, is the analysis of non-metropolitan areas. As agriculture and wilderness tend to be a more prominent social fact in rural regions, rural sociologists often overlap with environmental sociologists.


Community sociology

Often grouped with urban and rural sociology is that of community sociology or the sociology of community. Taking various communities—including online communities—as the unit of analysis, community sociologists study the origin and effects of different associations of people. For instance, German sociologist
Ferdinand Tönnies Ferdinand Tönnies (; 26 July 1855 – 9 April 1936) was a German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citizens of Germany, se ...

Ferdinand Tönnies
distinguished between two types of human association: ''gemeinschaft'' (usually translated as "community") and ''gesellschaft'' ("society" or "association"). In his 1887 work, ''Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft'', Tönnies argued that ''Gemeinschaft'' is perceived to be a tighter and more cohesive social entity, due to the presence of a "unity of will". The 'development' or 'health' of a community is also a central concern of community sociologists also engage in development sociology, exemplified by the literature surrounding the concept of
social capital Social capital is "the networks of relationships among people who live and work in a particular society, enabling that society to function effectively". It involves the effective functioning of social group In the social science Soc ...
.


Other academic disciplines

Sociology overlaps with a variety of disciplines that study society, in particular
anthropology Anthropology is the scientific study of human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most abundant and widespread species In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, ...
, political science, economics, social work and social philosophy. Many comparatively new fields such as communication studies, cultural studies, demography and literary theory, draw upon methods that originated in sociology. The terms "
social science Social science is the branch A branch ( or , ) or tree branch (sometimes referred to in botany Botany, also called , plant biology or phytology, is the science of plant life and a branch of biology. A botanist, plant scientist o ...

social science
" and "
social research Social research is a research Research is "creative and systematic work undertaken to increase the stock of knowledge". It involves the collection, organization and analysis of information to increase understanding of a topic or issue ...

social research
" have both gained a degree of autonomy since their origination in classical sociology. The distinct field of social anthropology or anthroposociology is the dominant constituent of anthropology throughout the United Kingdom and Commonwealth and much of Europe (France in particular), where it is distinguished from cultural anthropology. In the United States, social anthropology is commonly subsumed within cultural anthropology (or under the relatively new designation of sociocultural anthropology). Sociology and applied sociology are connected to the professional and academic discipline of social work. Both disciplines study social interactions, community and the effect of various systems (i.e. family, school, community, laws, political sphere) on the individual. However, social work is generally more focused on practical strategies to alleviate social dysfunctions; sociology in general provides a thorough examination of the root causes of these problems. For example, a sociologist might study ''why'' a community is plagued with poverty. The applied sociology, applied sociologist would be more focused on practical strategies on ''what'' needs to be done to alleviate this burden. The social worker would be focused on ''action''; implementing theses strategies clinical social work, "directly" or Community practice, "indirectly" by means of mental health therapy, counseling, counselling, advocacy, community organization or community mobilization. Social anthropology is the branch of
anthropology Anthropology is the scientific study of human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most abundant and widespread species In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, ...
that studies how contemporary living human beings behave in social groups. Practitioners of social anthropology, like sociologists, investigate various facets of social organization. Traditionally, social anthropologists analysed non-industrial and non-Western societies, whereas sociologists focused on industrialized societies in the Western world. In recent years, however, social anthropology has expanded its focus to modern Western societies, meaning that the two disciplines increasingly converge. Sociocultural anthropology, which include linguistic anthropology, is concerned with the problem of difference and similarity within and between human populations. The discipline arose concomitantly with the expansion of European colonial empires, and its practices and theories have been questioned and reformulated along with processes of decolonization. Such issues have re-emerged as transnational processes have challenged the centrality of the Nation state, nation-state to theorizations about culture and Power (social and political), power. New challenges have emerged as public debates about multiculturalism, and the increasing use of the culture concept outside of the academy and among peoples studied by anthropology. These times are not "business-as-usual" in the academy, in anthropology, or in the world, if ever there were such times. Irving Louis Horowitz, in his ''The Decomposition of Sociology'' (1994), has argued that the discipline, while arriving from a "distinguished lineage and tradition", is in decline due to deeply ideological theory and a lack of relevance to policy making: "The decomposition of sociology began when this great tradition became subject to ideological thinking, and an inferior tradition surfaced in the wake of totalitarian triumphs." Furthermore: "A problem yet unmentioned is that sociology's malaise has left all the social sciences vulnerable to pure positivism—to an empiricism lacking any theoretical basis. Talented individuals who might, in an earlier time, have gone into sociology are seeking intellectual stimulation in business, law, the natural sciences, and even creative writing; this drains sociology of much needed potential." Horowitz cites the lack of a 'core discipline' as exacerbating the problem. Randall Collins, the Dorothy Swaine Thomas Professor in Sociology at the University of Pennsylvania and a member of the Advisory Editors Council of the Social Evolution & History journal, has voiced similar sentiments: "we have lost all coherence as a discipline, we are breaking up into a conglomerate of specialities, each going on its own way and with none too high regard for each other."Collins, Randall as cited in Horowitz, Irving. 1994. ''The Decomposition of Sociology.'' Oxford University Press. pp. 3–9. In 2007, ''Times Higher Education, The Times Higher Education Guide'' published a list of 'The most cited authors of books in the Humanities' (including philosophy and psychology). Seven of the top ten are listed as sociologists: Michel Foucault (1), Pierre Bourdieu (2), Anthony Giddens (5), Erving Goffman (6), Jürgen Habermas (7),
Max Weber Maximilian Karl Emil Weber (; ; 21 April 186414 June 1920) was a German Sociology, sociologist, historian, jurist, and political economy, political economist regarded as among the most important theorists of the development of Modernity, modern ...

Max Weber
(8), and Bruno Latour (10).


Journals

The most highly ranked general journals which publish original research in the field of sociology are the ''
American Journal of Sociology The ''American Journal of Sociology'' is a peer-reviewed Peer review is the evaluation of work by one or more people with similar competencies as the producers of the work ( peers). It functions as a form of self-regulation by qualified mem ...
'' and the ''American Sociological Review''. The ''Annual Review of Sociology'', which publishes original review essays, is also highly ranked. Many other generalist and specialized journals exist.


See also

* Bibliography of sociology *Critical juncture theory *Culture theory, Cultural theory * Engaged theory * History of the social sciences *List of sociologists * Outline of sociology *Political sociology *Post-industrial society *Social theory *Sociological Francoism


Notes


References


Citations


Sources

* Aby, Stephen H. 2005. ''Sociology: A Guide to Reference and Information Sources'' (3rd ed.). Littleton, CO: Libraries Unlimited Inc. * Earl Babbie, Babbie, Earl R.. 2003. ''The Practice of Social Research'' (10th ed.). Wadsworth: Thomson Learning. *
C. Wright Mills, Intellectual Craftsmanship Advices how to Work for young Sociologist
' * Randall Collins, Collins, Randall. 1994. ''Four Sociological Traditions.'' Oxford: Oxford University Press. * Lewis A. Coser, Coser, Lewis A.. 1971. ''Masters of Sociological Thought: Ideas in Historical and Social Context''. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. . * Anthony Giddens, Giddens, Anthony. 2006. ''Sociology'' (5th ed.). Cambridge: Polity Press. * * Seymour Martin Lipset, Lipset, Seymour Martin and Everett Carll Ladd. "The Politics of American Sociologists," ''American Journal of Sociology'' (1972) 78#1 pp. 67–104 * * Robert K. Merton, Merton, Robert K.. 1959. ''Social Theory and Social Structure. Toward the codification of theory and research'' (revised & enlarged ed.). Glencoe, IL. * Mills, C. Wright. 1959.
The Sociological Imagination
' * * Robert A. Nisbet, Nisbet, Robert A. 1967. ''The Sociological Tradition'', London, Heinemann Educational Books. * George Ritzer, Ritzer, George, and Douglas J. Goodman. 2004. ''Sociological Theory'' (6th ed.). McGraw-Hill. * Scott, John, and Gordon Marshall, eds. 2005. ''A Dictionary of Sociology'' (3rd ed.). Oxford University Press. , * * Wallace, Ruth A., and Alison Wolf. 1995. ''Contemporary Sociological Theory: Continuing the Classical Tradition'' (4th ed.). Prentice-Hall. * Harrison White, White, Harrison C.. 2008. ''Identity and Control. How Social Formations Emerge'' (2nd ed.). Princeton: Princeton University Press. * Willis, Evan. 1996. ''The Sociological Quest: An introduction to the study of social life''. New Brunswick, New Jersey, New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.


External links


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Guide to the University of Chicago Department of Sociology Interviews 1972
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