what is sociology

This article is designed primarily for those who are completely new to sociology and would like some help and guidance as to the exact nature of the subject-matter of sociology.
However new you are to sociology it is probable that you have an idea, however vague and general, regarding what sociology is supposed to be about. It may be that you have an idea that sociology is’about’ people. And you would be right to think so. We might start then by noting that sociology is one of the human sciences and as such it is a subject to be distinguished from the so-called ‘physical sciences’. Sociology is the study of humanity.
However this description of sociology is only partially correct. To say that sociology is about people and humanity is not enough to distinguish it from the other subjects in the human sciences. For it is equally the case that Psychology, Social Policy, Economics and Social History, amongst others, are all in some sense about people and humanity. Thus the fact that sociology is about people and humanity gets us only part way along the road to a full definition of the subject.
We might also suggest that sociology is ‘about’ society. This helps in so far as it adds another component to our full definition.
But again it is not enough to fully define the subject. For all of the aforementioned human sciences are not only about people and humanity but about society too.
Sociology is also concerned with human culture. A provisional definition of culture used by sociologists is that of ‘ a way of life’. Sociology has always concerned itself with the study of culture and this would fit in with what we already know about sociology; namely it the study of people in society.
Many have suggested that we can define sociology as the subject that deals with and explains social interaction. Here sociology is characterised by the fact that it examines the informal and formal social relationships engaged in by individuals. …

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