What are the General Features of Sociology? General Characteristics of SociologyJuly 2, 2021
The development of sociology depends on the basic idea that social phenomena can also be studied with the methods used by natural sciences. This idea is at the root of Comte’s concept of “social physics” and Durkheim’s formula, which states that “the events he uses socially should be treated as objects”.
At that time, it was believed that sociology, like the natural sciences, was a science to the extent that it could describe events as they were and thus develop “fact judgments rather than value judgments.”
This attitude produced a real intellectual revolution.
What are the General Features of Sociology?
Sociology deals with the problems of society, not the problems of individual individuals. For example, sociology deals with the social dimension of “suicide”, which is perceived as an individual problem at first glance. • Sociologist examines social events objectively, without being influenced by their own values and tastes.
Sociology studies things as they are. It does not set rules on how individuals should behave, such as morality, law, religion. In this sense, sociology is not prescriptive, that is, normative. For example, sociology does not consider not helping behavior as good or bad. It addresses the causes and consequences of this behavior.
Sociology is not an experimental science like the natural sciences. Because it is not possible to observe and direct the constantly changing social events and social environment in laboratory conditions.
Sociology examines the changes in the structures and functions of social institutions (family, religion, education, economy, politics, law) within the historical development process. For example, the changes in the function of the political institution with the proclamation of the Republic fall within the scope of sociology.
Sociology seeks the causes of social phenomena not in individuals but in other social phenomena. For example, a sociologist who studies the phenomenon of rural-urban migration does not explain this phenomenon with individual preferences. The reason for migration is the use of tractors in agriculture, the absence of irrigated agriculture, the fragmentation of lands by inheritance, etc. relates to other social phenomena, such as
Sociology studies the social structure as a whole. Other social sciences examine different aspects of social life separately. For example, social anthropologist cultural structure; economy, production, distribution and consumption of goods and services; Sociology, on the other hand, has to know the cultural elements, economic relations and geographical location in the social structure. Therefore, sociologists constantly feel the need to refer to other social sciences.
Aristotle, Machiavelli (Machiavelli), Jean Bodin (Gin Bodin), and especially Montesquieu (Montescu), social phenomena were mainly studied from a philosophical and moral point of view, with the exception of a few previous extraordinary people.
It was tried to define what the society should be according to some religious and metaphysical beliefs about human nature and the purpose of human life, not what society is, in other words, value judgments were made. Even the idea that man and society could be studied scientifically “as objects” was seen as sacrilege.
Durkheim and Marx thought that sociology was a science. Is it really possible to study human social life scientifically? To answer this question, we must know what the word means.
What is science? Science is the use of systematic methods of empirical investigation, data analysis, theoretical thought, and logical evaluation of reasoning to produce a body of knowledge about a specific topic.
According to this definition, sociology is a scientific endeavor. Sociology includes systematic methods of empirical study, data analysis, and evaluation of theories in the light of evidence and logical reasoning.
But studying people is different from observing events in the physical world, and sociology should not be seen as a straightforward natural science. Unlike objects in nature, people are self-conscious beings who add meaning and purpose to their actions.
First of all, people cannot accurately describe the social world without understanding the concepts they adopt in their own behavior.
For example, describing a death as a suicide means knowing what the person in question was intending to do at the time. Suicide can only happen when the thought of self-destruction is actually in an individual’s mind. It cannot be said that a person who accidentally jumps in front of a car and dies commits suicide.
The fact that we cannot study people exactly as objects in nature is in some ways an advantage for sociology.
Sociology researchers can pose direct questions to what they study—other people.
In other respects, sociology presents difficulties that natural scientists do not face.
People who know that their activities are frequently watched closely do not normally act as usual