What Is Sociologty And How Does It

Differ From Common Sense? Essay, Research Paper

What is Sociology and how does it differ from common sense?

The Chambers dictionary definition of sociology is ?the study of the structure and functioning of human society?. Human society and interactions have fascinated philosophers and social scientists for a very long time.

However, the academic study of sociology is a fairly recent phenomenon. It was first defined by French philosopher Auguste Comte in the 1830?s. He used it to describe his concept of a new science that would discover laws of human society resembling the laws of nature. It wasn?t until the late 1880?s that sociology was recognised as an academic discipline, when Emile Durkheim began teaching sociology at the Universities of Bordeaux and Paris.

The greater interest in the structure of society is thought to have been provoked by increasing industrialisation, and certainly at the turn of the 20th Century, a large portion of sociological study and thought was focused in the USA, where immigration and mass industrialisation created a very interesting and exciting area of study.

Society tends to have prescribed norms, and levels of acceptable behaviour which tend to change over time. Common sense is often how these are described, although most people tend not to acknowledge that our views of what is common sense are ever changing.

For example, it was considered socially undesirable fifty years ago to be a single parent; now the vast majority of children in Britain are being raised in single parent households. It was also considered common sense that a child should be allowed to drink gin in the 19th century; now this is totally unacceptable.

A common misconception is that women are instinctively nurturing, have a natural ability for parenting and are, except in very extreme cases (for example, of mental illness) incapable of violence towards their offspring. This is seen as common sense, with the vast majority of custody cases being granted to the mother, as a matter of course.

However, the statistics show a very different story. In 1993, an American Department of Justice report, ?Murder in Families? stated that mothers were more likely than fathers to be the perpetrators of child homicide. According to the World Health Organisation, infanticide is as common as the killing of adults in most of the industrialised nations. This suggests that there are, in reality, many women killing their children, and who are abusive towards their children.

The myth that women are the natural caretakers of children is quite simply that, a myth. Recent research has shown that the identity of the primary caretaker is irrelevant to an infant, so long as the care is consistent and empathetic.

This is a prime example of how commonly subscribed beliefs and reality often do not meet. Sociology aims to overcome these common sense views, and look at societal issues in a systematic and methodical manner, without a bias. This helps us to understand society, and the people in it on a much wider scale.


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