What are the Factors Affecting the Birth of Sociology?July 2, 2021
We see that the first step of a radical mental, social and political transformation has been taken with the Renaissance and Reformation movements in Europe. As a result of these movements, the sectarian unity and relative political unity that had prevailed during the Middle Ages broke up and Europe entered a new historical period that will last for centuries and which we call modernity today.
During this period, many changes and developments witnessed by Europe directly or indirectly contributed to the birth of sociology: Western enrichment with geographical discoveries and colonialism, capital accumulation and capitalism, 1789 French Revolution, Industrial Revolution, urbanization, migration from rural to urban, etc. Along with these developments, 19th century thinkers focused on the question of how the social order can be re-established in the chaos environment caused by the deterioration of the social order, and “What is society?”, “Why is society structured as it exists now?”, “Why and how do societies change?” They tried to find answers to questions such as (Giddens, 2008:45).
As a result of these events, the main problems that occupied the thinkers of the period emerged; The social structure has been fragmented, social stability has deteriorated and a great concern for the future has begun to prevail among people. In the 19th century, sociological thought was actually shaped by the solutions that the thinkers of the period tried to develop for these problems.
With the developments in natural sciences since the sixteenth century, the laws of nature were discovered. Enlightenment philosophy increased confidence in reason in Europe, and the ideas of individuality and freedom in society were exalted and supported. The radical social and economic changes experienced in Europe with the Industrial Revolution led to the dissolution of the traditional social structure of Europe, leading to the emergence of industrialized modern cities and thus the formation of the working class. The social impact brought about by the French Revolution spread to the whole of Europe and even to the world, and its political and social structure was destroyed. All these components necessitated the birth of sociology in a way, and sociology began its development as a treatment tool for these problems and continued this development throughout history.
FACTORS AFFECTING THE BIRTH OF SOCIOLOGY
Renaissance, which is used to express the developments and innovations in literature, fine arts and science, which started in Italy in the 15th and 16th centuries and spread throughout Europe, means “rebirth”. The developments in the natural sciences and the spread of the scientific method and the revealing of the laws of nature have revealed the understanding that the questions created by the social transformations can be answered by using the scientific method. In addition, the spread of positive thinking based on experimentation and observation led to scientific and technical developments and the advancement of industry, which paved the way for the beginning of reform movements by destroying the medieval scholastic thought.
It is an anti-church movement that affected all of Europe during the 16th century. It is the continuation of the Renaissance movement in the field of religion, which aims to liberate cultural life from the yoke. Reform movements first started in Germany with Martin Luther. Luther reacted to the excessive enrichment and corruption of the church, its monopoly on religion, its increased interest in politics and worldly affairs, and this reaction spread all over Europe in a short time. By rejecting the intermediary position of the church and the clergy between God and the servant, Luther enabled the individual to be more free. In the West, a new understanding of religion has developed in accordance with the Renaissance movement. Protestantism, one of the three main sects of Christianity, was born as a result of reform movements.
3. 1789 French Revolution
It is a movement accepted as the symbol of political transformations in our age, in which the social order governed by absolute monarchy and church authority was destroyed and a new social order based on the principles of equality, freedom and fraternity was established. B. de Montesquieu’s (Monteskü, 1689-1755) ideas on the social foundations of political order; Voltaire’s (Volteir, 1694-1788) concern about freedom of thought; D. Hume’s (Yum, 1711-1776) concept of the “universality of human nature” and J.J. Rousseau’s (Russo, 1712-1778) concept of “social contract” formed the basis of the French Revolution. With this revolution, the existing social and political structure was destroyed and chaos and disorder occurred. With the desire to explain and destroy this chaos, the effort to be effective on the changes in the society has increased the interest in the society.
4. Industrial Revolution
It refers to the fundamental change in the mode of production. With industrialization, that is, industrialization, the basic form of social production has changed from agricultural production to industrial production, and human and animal power has been replaced by machines working based on motor power. As a result of this, the transition to mass production, especially the economic and industrial structure, family, education, stratification