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Write a 500-word essay in response to the following question: What is historical sociology,
including its main principles?
Source requirements
At least 5 (five) academic sources must be used and referenced in your
You must incorporate the Week 1 to 3 required readings.
You must demonstrate knowledge and comprehension of the Week 1 to
3 lectures. Do not cite lectures. Instead, cite references provided in the
lectures where they are applicable to your assignment.
Do not use/cite inappropriate websites or social media. Appropriate sites
include universities, governments, the United Nations, and reputable NGOs.
Check with the subject coordinator if you are unsure about a website's
Historical sociology is the interdisciplinary combination of history and sociology to identify significant
events of societal change in history and how these influences have shaped the modern world
(Macionis & Plummer, 2012; Saucier, 2008). This area of study is heavily reliant on historical data
through primary and secondary sources and how it reveals the impact of human influence. Primary
sources give first hand information on an event or time period and includes letters, journals, maps
photographs and drawings. Secondary sources provide information that has been interpreted,
gathered or formed after the event by an external party and can include interviews, books,
biographies and articles. Both sources of evidence can be valuable in historical sociology as it can
demonstrate different points of view and can be pieced together to form theoretical hypotheses of
societies in specific time periods.
Every society has an overall social structure that determines the dominant norms and values of the
community at that time and place influencing thought, behaviour, experience, and choices. This
emerges over time through waves of human agency promoting alternative behaviour, and social
constructs. Individuals and social groups have promoted and extended social change through
influence in promoting a sometimes unpopular and non-reciprocal view of the dominant structure.
This leads to conflict in the balance of power as social phenomena intersects between structure and
agency throughout time and place of our history.
Social phenomena categorises individuals and groups based on characteristics including religion,
nationality, gender and age to demonstrate the significant impact and comparison between the
classifications as they pertain to social entities of a certain time. For example, the gender bias was a
significant factor in the feminist movement of the 1970s which outlined the inequities and prompted
societal change. The social construction of the comparative framework shows a greater prominence
of the significance of groupings in making social and historical change.
Historical sociology principles:
Principles: • Social structure and human agency are in a reciprocal relationship
• Diverse forms of social power (structural and agency) intersect to create multiple causes of social
Principle: Diverse forms of social power intersect across time and space
Macionis, J. J., & Plummer, K. (2012). Sociology: a global introduction (5th ed.). Harlow, UK: Pearson
Saucier Lundy, K. (2008). Historical methods. In Given, L. M. (ed). The Sage encyclopedia of
qualitative research methods. Sage, London. (pp. 395-399)