DEFINITION OF SOCIOLOGY
Tuesday, March 24, 2009 | Posted by Nimesh Suranga (නිමේෂ් සුරංග) |
'Sociology' which had once been treated as social philosophy, or the philosophy of the history, emerged as an independent social science in 19th century. Auguste Comte, a Frenchman, is traditionally considered to be the father of sociology. Comte is accredited with the coining of the term sociology (in 1839). "Sociology" is composed of two words : socius, meaning companion or associate; and 'logos', meaning science or study. The etymological meaning of "sociology" is thus the science of society. John Stuart Mill, another social thinker and philosopher of the 19th century, proposed the word ethology for this new science. Herbert Spencer developed his systematic study of society and adopted the word "sociology" in his works. With the contributions of Spencer and others it (sociology) became the permanent ...view middle of the document...
In fact, there are lot of definitions of sociology as there are sociologists. For our purpose of study a few definitions may be cited here.
Auguste Comete, the founding father of sociology, defines sociology as the science of social phenomena "subject to natural and invariable laws, the discovery of which is the object of investigation".
Kingsley Davis says that "Sociology is a general science of society".
Harry M. Johnson opines that "sociology is the science that deals with social groups".
Emile Durkheim: "Science of social institutions".
Park regards sociology as "the science of collective behavior".
Small defines sociology as "the science of social relationships".
Marshal Jones defines sociology as "the study of man-in-relationship-to-men".
Ogburn and Nimkoff : "Sociology is the scientific study of social life".
Franklin Henry Giddings defines sociology as "the science of social phenomena".
Henry Fairchild: "Sociology is the study of man and his human environment in their relations to each other".
Max Weber defines sociology as " the science which attempts the interpretative understanding of social action in order thereby to arrive at a casual explanation of its course and effects".
Alex Inkeles says, "Sociology is the study of systems of social action and of their inter-relations".
Kimball Young and Raymond W. Mack say, "Sociology is the scientific study of social aspects of human life".
Morris Ginsberg: of the various definitions of sociology the one given by Morris Ginsberg seems to be more satisfactory and comprehensive. He defines sociology in the following way: "In the broadest sense, sociology is the study of human interactions and inter-relations, their conditions and consequences".
A careful examination of various definitions cited above, makes it evident that sociologists differ in their opinion about definition of sociology. Their divergent views about the definition of sociology only reveal their distinct approaches to its study. However, the common idea underlying all the definitions mentioned above is that sociology is concerned with man, his social relations and his society.