Sociology – historical Development and definitions


Historical Development of Sociology –“From all ages and times, east and west of mankind, ever since the righteous and restless species appeared on earth, mankind has lived with others of the same kind in so-called societies. Whatever the chapter, whether primitive Polynesia or ancient Egypt, classical China or modern Russia, medieval England or modern America, they all share common elements and certain characteristics that give society shape and form. It is the general sociology that discovers these constants, explains them using the economics of terms, and shows their interrelationships.

Sociology is the science of society. No other science attempts to fully study it. Economics studies humans as accumulators and distributors of wealth and explores the relationship between wealth and welfare. History deals with the human past according to the order of time.

Cultural anthropology studies humans, especially primitive humans, with an emphasis on primitive communities and their cultures. Psychology examines humans as behavioral individuals. Social psychology, as a branch of psychology, deals with how individuals respond to social situations. Political science studies people as nations, as rulers, and as subjects. Religion treats humans as spiritual beings and questions their belief in supernatural powers.

The “focus” of other social sciences is not the same as that of sociology, because only sociology studies social relations, society itself. In fact, what distinguishes one social science from another is the focus of interest. Sociology is interested in social relations not because they are economic, political, religious, legal or educational, but because they are social at the same time.

As MacIver says, “is the marvelously intricate and ever-changing pattern of the totality of these relationships” Moreover, sociology does not study everything that happens “in society” or under social conditions. But we study culture only because it sheds light on social relations, for example. Nor do we study religion as religion, art as art, or invention as invention.

We explore social relationships, their particular forms, variations and patterns. We explore how relationships are connected, how we build systems, small or large, and how we respond to changes and changing requirements and needs. Our social studies are therefore analytical in nature.
definition of sociology

“Sociology”, once regarded as social and historical philosophy, developed itself as a social science in the 19th century. Frenchman Auguste Comte is traditionally regarded as the father of sociology. Comte is credited with coining the term sociology (1839). “Sociology” is his two words. “Socius” means companion or collaborator. And “logos” means science and research. Hence, the etymological meaning of “sociology” is the science of society. John Stuart Mill, also his 19th-century social thinker and philosopher, proposed the term ethology for this new science. Herbert Spencer developed a systematic study of society and adopted the term “sociology” in his work.

Definitions of sociology

The question “What is sociology?” is actually a question about the definition of sociology. No student can justifiably be expected to engage in an entirely undefined or unrestricted field of study. At the same time, setting clear boundaries for research areas is not an easy task. This also applies to sociology. It is therefore difficult to define sociology concisely and comprehensively.

Sociology is defined in different ways by different sociologists. To Validate, no single definition has been accepted as completely satisfactory.

In fact, there are as many definitions of sociology as there are sociologists.

  • Kingsley Davis says that “Sociology is a general science of society”.
  • Auguste Comte, 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”.
  • Emile Durkheim defines sociology as the “science of social institutions”.
  • Harry M. Johnson opines that “sociology is the science that deals with social groups”,
  • Small defines sociology as “the science of social relations”.
  • Marshal Jones defines sociology as “the study of man-in-relationship-to-men”.
  • Park regards sociology as “the science of collective behaviour”.

A careful examination of the various definitions cited above reveals that sociologists have differing opinions on the definition of sociology. Their different views on the definition of sociology only reveal their different approaches to sociological research. Underlying all the above definitions, however, is the common idea that sociology concerns humans, their social relationships, and society.

Related Post

Define sociology.

Kingsley Davis says that “Sociology is a general science of society

Reference Books

  • Introduction to Sociology by Anthony Giddens
  • C.N. Shankar Rao – Principle of sociology with an introduction to social thoughts
  • A Dictionary of Sociology by John Scott
  • Handbook of Indian Sociology by Veena Das
  • Sociological Theory by George Ritzer
  • Social Change in Modern India by M N Srinivas


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