Origins of Sociology

Origins of Sociology
Basic Timeline of Sciences
 First intellectual ideas focused on religious
Religious leaders = only literate citizens
 Greeks developed secular schools to train
intellectuals (2500BP)
Philosophy focused - Forerunner to university study
Greeks recorded history
 Religious beliefs often = absolute. Church and
science in conflict
 During Renaissance Humanism …set of ideas and
that looked to humanity for answers flourished
Natural and Social Sciences
Examples of Natural
Examples of Social
 Biology
 Psychology
 Astronomy
 History
 Physics
 Cultural Geography
 Geology
 Anthropology
 Chemistry
 Political Science
 Zoology
 Economics
 Oceanography
 Sociology
Sociology Emerges
 In 18th and 19th century Europe
 Rise of factory-based, industrial economy
 Explosive growth of cities = social problems
 New ideas about democracy, political rights, and individualism
 Combination of other social sciences
 Auguste Comte (1798–1857)
French social thinker who coined the term “sociology” (1838)
 Relied on statistical analysis (positive sociology)
 Sociology as a discipline, viewed as radical and a threat to
power structure
Sociological Approaches, Perspectives or
 Theory
Statement of how and why specific facts are related
 Theoretical approach
Basic image of society that guides thinking and research
Determines questions and study
Goal of study
 Sociology has 3 Major Theoretical Approaches
Structural- Functionalism
Conflict Theory
Symbolic Interactionism
 Basic View: Society is a complex system, parts work together
to promote solidarity and stability ( Macro)
 Individuals are naturally cooperative and accept the social
system as is.
 Too rapid change=broken social ties (dysfunction….a disorder
in society)
Key elements:
 Social structure
 Social function
 Manifest functions
 Latent functions
 Criticisms:
Social-Conflict Approach
•Basic View : Sees society as arena of inequality that
generates conflict and change (Macro)
•Conflict is necessary for equality and change
 Factors such as race, sex, class, and age are linked
to social inequality.
Dominant group vs. disadvantaged group
 Society structured in ways to benefit a few at the
expense of the majority.
gender conflict
race conflict
Social Conflict Approach
 Social-conflict approach used to understand
society and to bring about societal change that
would reduce inequality
 Criticisms:
Symbolic-Interaction Approach
Basic View:
 Focuses on social interactions in specific situations
 Micro approach
 Views society as the product of everyday
interactions of individuals
Key elements:
 Society is shared, dynamic constructed reality
developed through interaction.
Sports: Playing the
Theory Game
 Structural-functional:
Recreation and help social
relationship building.
 Social-conflict: Social
inequality exists in sports.
Gender-conflict: Gender
equality is not evident, especially
in earnings and prestige.
Race-conflict: Racial conflict
still exists.
 Symbolic-interaction:
Understanding varies by
each player