The importance and scope of Sociology, just like other disciplines in social sciences, can be seen both in the field of knowledge as well as in the field of profession. The scope and importance of the young but rapidly growing discipline of Sociology has been presented in the following lines.
Scope of Sociology in the Field of Knowledge
The primary concern of a sociologist is to build up the most reliable body of knowledge about the human relationship. The persons who utilize this knowledge cannot be called sociologists in the strict sense of the term. As primarily, sociological knowledge is for the sake of knowledge alone. However, for direct solution of practical problems, it does not teach us morality or wisdom. Knowledge in itself is an end and not a means to certain ends. A sociologist gathers information about the people living in rural and urban areas, crime and delinquency, population problems, race and ethnic relations, health and sanitary conditions, structure and functioning of social institutions etc. Thus, a sociologist, on the basis of analysis, description, understanding and explanation of the "subject matter," predicts the human behaviour under certain conditions.
The next question which comes to our mind is "knowledge for what"? Is sociological knowledge simply the light-hearer or the fruit-bearer? Sociological knowledge is an end in itself. However, the border-line between means and ends is not very clear. we cannot differentiate between the means and ends in sociological knowledge very clearly on standardized patterns. Thus, the subject matter of sociological knowledge is difficult to separate from the practical solutions of problems. The people interested in sociological knowledge can get benefit from it in the desired manner.
The students of Sociology at the graduate level arc prepared for a career in law, reclamation of the criminals, health education, family planning, social work, general education. journalism, business and public administration, program of social welfare and community development, labour welfare. manpower, social planning, rural and urban development and allied fields.
The students are also provided with the information of–the structure and functioning of human groups within and outside their own society. Such an information on various cultures, societies and personalities helps them to \den the horizon of their knowledge. This type or understanding helps in increasing tolerance and develops a democratic attitude among the students of Sociology in their daily lives. They would be in a better position to understand and solve the problems of their day to day social lives. The sociological knowledge broadens one's general outlook towards social issue, i.e., resulting in a better adjustment of an individual in one's socio-cultural. socio-political and socio-religious environment.
Scope in the Field of Profession
Sociology is not only an intellectual discipline. It is also a profession. Sociologists mainly perform three kinds of professional services, i.e., teaching, research and administration. All the three fields are discussed in detail as under:
Many qualified persons in Sociology have been employed in the teaching profession. who have two main purposes before them, i.e., vocational and cultural. At graduate and post-graduate levels the students are prepared in the field of "methods of research an surveys", "reclamation of criminals", "techniques of social work", "community development" etc. The subject is quite popular among students. Enrollment is increasing significantly every year. More and more teachers of Sociology are being recruited through the Public Service Commission. Besides this, Universities in the country have departments of sociology. Although Sociology is a late arrival on the academic scene as compared to other disciplines. yet the number of sociology teachers and textbooks on Sociology are increasing at a fast rate. The subject is being taught even in the professional institutes and academies. The transmission of culture is also partially done by teaching sociology to the students. However, it should not be taken for granted that all the instructions in Sociology necessarily lead to vocational training. The orientation in Sociology also serves the purpose of general education as other social sciences are contributing to producing educated persons in the country.
The discipline of -Sociology as introduced in our country is basically a research subject. The graduate. in Sociology is made research minded. Majority of qualified persons in Sociology are employed in research organizations engaged in basic or applied research. Such agencies include both governmental and semi-governmental organizations. During the last 45 years there has been a phenomenal increase in the absorption of sociologists in these agencies.
Administration. It is expected that in future, number of sociologists will be employed in the action programmes such as public relations, rural and urban development programmes, government planning, social planning, manpower planning, population planning, public and business administration, local bodies and educational institution to have effective rational cooperative action in various institutions.
The fresh graduates in sociology are given preferences as professional interviewers in bureaucratic and management organizations in public and private sectors.
To sum up, Sociology is the systematic study of the structure and functioning of human groups. The subject matter of Sociology is the study of human groups where an individual has secondary importance. A sociologist is concerned with everything concerning the structure and the functioning of groups in society, irrespective of the fact whether the human activities are good or bad, right or wrong, desired or undesired and normal or abnormal, without passing his own value judgement on the study of human society.