The term sociology was first used by Frenchman Auguste Comte (Founding father of sociology) in Karl Marx, Max Weber, Emile Durkheim and Herbert Spencer (Four pillars of sociology).Sociology is the systematic study of human society (Macionis, 2011). It is the study of human social life, groups and societies. Sociology is the study of social functions and social system. It is the scientific study of society, including patterns of social relationships, social interaction, and culture.

Etymologically, the term sociology is the combination of two words: one latin word-‘ societus’ or ‘socius’ and another Greek word- ‘logos’, in which ‘societus’ means society and ‘logos’ means study or science. In this way etymological meaning of sociology is the study of the society or science of the society. It is the scientific study of the individual and group behavior within society.

According to Emile Durkheim “ Sociology is the scientific description and explanation of society as a whole”

According to Max Weber “ Sociology is the science which attempts the interpretive understanding of social action”

“ The scientific and more particularly, the positivistic, study of society”   -Auguste Comte

Social structure, social institutions, social interaction, social process and social change are included in the subject matter of sociology.

Finally, sociology is the systematic and scientific study of human society, which is interested in the study of social relationship between people in group context.

Nature Of Sociology

  • Sociology is an Independent science
  • Sociology is a social science and not a physical science
  • Sociology is a categorical and not a normative discipline
  • Sociology is a pure science and not an applied science
  • Sociology is relatively an abstract science and not a concrete science
  • Sociology is a generalizing and not a particularizing or individualizing science
  • Sociology is a general science and not a special social science
  • Finally, Sociology is both a rational and empirical science

Emergence Of Sociology

Sociology as a scholarly discipline emerged primarily out of the Enlightenment thought, shortly after the French Revolution, as a positivist science of society. The emergence of sociology as a discipline of academic interest is of recent origin. Its emergence as a discipline can be attributed to the vast changes that took place in the nineteenth  century. Sociology as an academic science was thus born in 19th century (its formal establishment year being 1838) in Great Britain and Western Europe, especially in France and German, and it greatly advanced throughout 19th and 20th  .                          

Scope Of Sociology

The scope of sociological study is extremely wide, ranging from the analysis of passing encounters between global social processes. There are two main schools of thought regarding the scope of sociology:

  1. The specialist or Formalistic school
  2. The synthetic school

The specialist or Formalistic school

This school of thought is led by the German sociologist George Simmel. The other main advocates of this school are Max Weber, Smell and Tonnies. Simmmel and others are of the opinion that sociology is a pure science and an independent science. As a pure science .it has a limited scope. Sociology should study confine itself to the study of certain aspects of human relationship only.

The synthetic school

The synthetic school of thought conceives of sociology as a synthesis of social science. It wants to make sociology a general social science. Emile Durkheim and Sorokin has been the chief exponents of this school. The main argument of this school is that all parts of social life are intimately inter-related. Hence sociology should study social life as a whole.