What is sociology?
Sociology is the study of how society is organised and how we experience life. Sociology examines how our behavior individually and in groups is influenced by social processes and what that means.
Sociology studies people in their everyday environments at every level. Sociologists study a variety of things including human interaction which means people’s behavior with others in any situation for example, a teacher with their students. These interactions and roles lead to social institutions such as family or mass media. These institutions all form the social structure which is linked to the way in which a whole society is organised. Sociologists have advanced theories about how society works, this is due to the fact that it is a controversial issue where sociologists have different opinions ...view middle of the document...
Max Weber was concerned with studying sociology from the point of view of social actions. Karl Marx believed that everything that happens in society is as a result of economic relationships between people.
Within sociology, there are 3 main areas that are recognised, social structures, social systems and social issues. Structures include the family and education, systems such as culture and identity and issues like crime and unemployment.
There are 4 main theoretical areas within sociology; they are Functionalism, Marxism, Feminism and Interactionism. Functionalists believe that society can be compared to a living organ, in which institutions and people all have a function to play with society. For instance, the function of the family is to socialise children. Emile Durkheim is a functionalist theorist. Marxists believe that a capitalist society is characterised by a class conflict between the bourgeoisie (the owners of capital) and the proletariat (the working-class). In a capitalist economic system such as the UK, the bourgeoisie exploit the proletariat. Marxist theorists include Friedrich Engels and Karl Marx. Feminists argue that society is dominated by men. In this patriarchal society men discriminate against women in order to prevent males and females gaining equal rights. There are various strands of belief within feminism; such as radical feminism, liberal feminism and Marxist feminism. Feminist theorists include Germaine Greer and Ann Oakley. Finally, Interactionism theorists reject the structuralist approaches of both functionalism and Marxism, which argue that social institutes shape all our behaviour. Instead they see people as having a much more positive and active role in shaping social life. This theory starts with people or individuals and not with society.
To conclude, sociology explains human behaviour by studying how the social group’s people belong to influence their actions and beliefs.