Sociology Essay, Research Paper
QUESTION 1 What is science about and how does sociology fit in it?Sociology is the scientific study of human social activity. In the effort to study human social activity sociologists brake it down into objects of analysis. The three objects of analysis are population, social structure, and the individual. Each can be differentiated but each is also integrally related to the other two. As an object of analysis sociologists defines population as an aggregate of people in a geographical area that has size and longevity. The size has a lower limit of two and no upper maximum. Longevity varies and has a lower limit of zero with no known upper limit. A social system is defined as two or more roles tied together by relationships of interdependence. A role is a patterned repetitive set of behaviors. An example of a role is an occupation. There are various categories of social systems like formal organizations that have goals in mind and attempt to achieve them (ex: nations) or like informal organizations that are less goal oriented as in a community or a family. Human communities provide social systems that serve the function of providing the daily requirements of life to a population. Social systems have four basic types of roles; production of goods and services, distribution of the goods and services, recruitment and training of new members, and control functions.Population affects the roles of the social system. An example of this would be if the birth rate increased then there would be a greater need to train these new people and the recruitment and training role would be affected. The training of an individual to become one of the group is termed socialization and is carried out by church, family, and school, among other sources. Individuals then are Homo Sapiens that vary in sex, age, and lifecycle. Humans have the ability to lay out avenues to achieve a goal and then through thought processes make a choice on which avenue to follow. Humans are differentiated from animals in that all animals can sign (reacting to something) but only humans can symbol (the ability to place meaning into something). To be human you must be able to symbol and to symbol you must have at least two people, which leads to a social system. The result is that in order to be human you must be in a social system. Social systems affect individuals by the process of socialization. Socialization instills the norms of the system into the individual. The norms are all the proscribed and prescribed forms of behavior in the social system. Norms vary in importance from the folkway of wearing a tie to a formal dinner party to the mores of adults not engaging in sexual acts with children. Socialization internalizes these norms in the individual shaping the resulting personality of the individual. Lack of exposure to a social system may result in someone who is not human as in the cases of children who got isolated at birth for many years. These children lacked any ability to speak, smile or even laugh. They lacked all aspects of personality. In effect they were not human as a result of their isolation. However exposure to the social system changed them rapidly toward being human.
In summary: Sociology is the study of social life, social change, and the social causes and consequences of human behavior. Sociologists investigate the structure of groups, organizations, and societies, and how people interact within these contexts. Since all human behavior is social, the subject matter of sociology ranges from the intimate family to the hostile mob; from organized crime to religious cults; from the divisions of race, gender and social class to the shared beliefs of a common culture; and from the sociology of work to the sociology of sports. In fact, few fields have such broad scope and relevance for research, theory, and application of knowledge. Sociology provides many distinctive perspectives on the world, generating new ideas and critiquing the old.