The Concepts of Society and Sociology

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Have you ever wondered about the way the world works? Not about the atoms and molecules, or physics behind it but the world of People. For Example have you ever wondered why students go to college? Why do some People like blues, some people like hip-hop and some people like both? Sociology is about learning about yourself and your place in the world. A French philosopher named Auguste Comte in 1800s wanted a systematic way of studying society, a way to investigate and solve its basic problems. Sociology is the scientific study of society and behavior. Sociology is a very big thing. Sociology is the society in whole cities, it’ economy and its politics. A society is just a group of people who share a culture and a territory. And culture is in everything, from the biggest questions in politics to the smallest interactions between people.

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So Society is very big but it is also small. Want to see how? Imagine you’re sitting alone in your room, singing along to your favorite music band at the top of your lungs not another person in sight. Society is not anywhere to be found except that it is. Even if you ignore the house that you’re in and the parents, sibling or roommates you’re probably bothering while you’re singing so horrible there’s still the song that you are singing and the music that goes with it. Those things along with literally all the objects in the room that you didn’t make yourself, are all the products of society. So sociology is incredibly broad. Sociology is looking for patterns – recurring characteristics or events. Sociology looks at all aspects of society and at all scales, from two people talking to the difference between nations. This is what which set sociology apart and it is known as a sociological perspective. And the sociological perspective means two things. It means the general in the particular and it means seeing the strange in the familiar.

Seeing the general in the particular is a way of saying that sociologist tries to understand social behavior by placing it in its wider social context. For example, a sociologist might not care whether or not you, in particular, decide to get married but sociologist might be interested in learning more about a declining marriage rate in your society and what’s causing it and whether it’s having any societal impacts. So sociologist is interested in a general pattern, a pattern composed of a massive number of particular individual choices. Each individual forms a part of the pattern and they keep looking at their individual choices. A sociologist can see elements of the whole pattern, like how a single piece fits into Lego.

Strange in the familiar is the second part of the sociological perspective and it is more complex. To see the strange in the familiar is to approach the everyday world as though you were seeing it for the first time or as if you were an alien. Why do people raise a hand to ask a question in a math class but not at a dinner table? This is an example of seeing the strange in familiar. This is little complex because your own society looks normal to you. As we are socialized into it we are taught a common sense of understanding the society. So to understand sociology we need to look at these things as strange and unfamiliar in order to really understand how they work and to uncover patterns of behavior in culture. And the sociological perspective seeing the general in the particular and strange in the familiar helps us to see the key concepts of the society like social location, marginalization and power and inequality.

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