What is sociology for?

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What is sociology for? In a simplistic answer, we can say that it is a science that study society. As we delve deeper into this area of ​​study, we discover that sociology is a complex science that makes up the area of ​​social sciences and studies human relations in society.

with the anthropology and to political science, it is sociology that can discover the mechanisms of functioning of human societies, in order to understand them and even offer models of social intervention for the applied social sciences, such as the legal sciences.

See too: Power – a concept widely studied in the areas of philosophy and sociology

Origin of sociology

As we trace a long path in the history of the West, we already perceive in the philosophy gives Classic antiquity fundamental traits for the development of sociology that would, in fact, only occur in the nineteenth century of the Christian era. Socrates, Plato and Aristotle, the three great classical Greek philosophers, sought to understand social functioning, indirectly, through the politics and ethic.

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Sociology is a science that studies society in its different aspects.
Sociology is a science that studies society in its different aspects.

At the Rebirth, the philosopher and political theorist Nicholas Machiavelli proposed new models for political understanding, which resulted in a new vision of society through the eyes of the ruler. During the French Enlightenment, philosophers like Montesquieu and Voltaire were concerned about a new model of politics that would put down the old ideals of the Ancien Regime and erect newideals, this time more libertarian and democratic.

To do so, they made philosophical abstractions on the current social model and the ideal social model. Finally happened to French Revolution, and with it, the political chaos of a few decades followed in France. Attempts at republican and socialist governments followed until the rise of the Napoleonic empire.

Outside France, the situation was also chaotic. THE risegivesbourgeoisie since the 15th century and its great enrichment after the Industrial Revolution made the eyes of the common European startle the strong social inequality that installed itself. From the end of the 18th century, with the growth of the number of industries in the cities, there was an intense and sudden rural exodus, still intense in the 19th century. THE population explosion in the cities contributed to the political chaos, which has also become social.

The cities, crammed with unemployed people (due to the demographic explosion, a large part of the population could not find jobs in the factories) and living in the misery, they have become a veritable stronghold of disease, hunger and violence. Sanitary conditions were terrible, with localized outbreaks of diseases such as cholera and syphilis, in addition to the poor population's lack of access to medical care.

The hunger affected the factory workers, who had terrible working conditions and they received so little that they could hardly be fed. More severely, hunger still affected the unemployed. This context of political chaos (in France) and social chaos (in France and especially in England) brought about an unprecedented wave of violence.

Auguste Comte, the “father” of sociology.
Auguste Comte, the “father” of sociology.

This whole situation, which led the European continent (especially France) to ruin, led the French philosopher Auguste Comte to postulate the need for a science capable of understanding society and propose ways to interfere in social development, always achieving progress.

For Comte, the natural sciences had the rigor and methodical precision necessary for the human sciences. His intellectual proposal was to create a system, called positivism, based on a science that was dubbed social physics and later called sociology by Comte.

Auguste Comte is considered the “father” of sociology, and it would serve to understand society and guide positivism, which, through social order, militarism and scientism, would guarantee social progress and it would put Europe on the tracks of development again.

Although Auguste Comte was considered the first author of sociology, the scientist to be considered, in fact, the first sociologist, was the French philosopher, sociologist and jurist Emile Durkheim. Durkheim took advantage of Comte's studies, but criticized his predecessor. In his view, this one wanted to go beyond a stage of philosophical abstraction in thinking by sociology, but remained in it. Durkheim, then, creates a method for sociology, for it to operate autonomously and as a well-founded science. This method is the officialdom.

Before Durkheim, German studies Karl Marx they had proven to be an effective methodological source for the human sciences, especially for sociology. The method proposed by Marx was the dialectical historical materialism. Another important author for this beginning of sociology was the German Max Weber.

Durkheim, Marx and Weber make up the so-called triad of classical sociology. To learn more about the origin and consolidation of this area of ​​knowledge, read: Emergence of sociology.

What sociology studies

The general object of study in sociology is, of course, society. However, when specifying our understanding of this science, we realize that there are axes of sociological studies that help us understand what its goals are.

First, we can highlight that sociology can study and try to understand society in its widest and most varied aspects. Second, and more specifically, we can say that she try to understand human behavior in group, in social relationships and based on their individual relationship with the environment and with the social institutions.

Émile Durkheim, the first sociologist.
Émile Durkheim, the first sociologist.

Based on this, we can establish precise fields of study in sociology that cover the most varied areas of human societies and human interaction with the environment. there is the social demography, which studies the interactions of populations in the social environment; the political sociology, which studies issues relating to political power and political elements such as the State and government; The sociology of education, which tries to understand the social processes of teaching; rural sociology; and urban sociology.

Any field in which there is human action at the level of society, community and institution, sociology can study.

Read too: Alterity - recognition of the difference between cultures and societies

The importance of sociology

Understanding society, human relations and the role of social institutions is extremely important for social development. Sociology therefore acts as a source of data on the factors that influence and shape social relationships. In this sense, it is sociology that provides the basis for practical action aimed at improvement of social sectors, such as public safety, education, health and human development in general.

If one of the great urban problems experienced in Brazil is violence, sociology can provide statistical data and critical intervention proposals for the authorities responsible for public safety to act effectively. It can also act together with education, playing a preventive role, so that the lower layers of the population (generally linked to crime by factors such as lack of access to public services and quality education and direct contact with crime) can find other alternatives to development.

Sociology can also act in the understanding population dynamics, analyzing life in the countryside and in the city, in order to visualize the complex population dynamics we have today. This is extremely important for governments to design social intervention policies that, in fact, can improve the lives of the population in general.

by Francisco Porfirio
Sociology Professor 

Source: Brazil School - https://brasilescola.uol.com.br/sociologia/sociologia2.htm

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