The world is changing. We live in a society in which change is the rule, rather the exception. Change is increasingly apparent in the family, the church, and state and the school. Modern man is faced with decision that are far more complex than those faced by his grandparents. He must decide what to do with the forces that science has placed at his disposal. He must make up his mind whether he wishes to perish in a third world war or participate in a workable society of nations. He must reconcile the interest of such competing institutions as the state and the corporation. He must learn that ma y of the old ways will no longer work in the brave new world of the nuclear age. He must learn in short, to control the society he has created”. Sociology is the scientific study of society and social human behavior. Thus, it is the subject of sociology which provides man the opportunity to meet the challenges of the modern world.
Meaning of Sociology
The world Sociology was introduced for the first time by Auguste Comte. It has been derived from two words “Socius” and “Logus”. Socius is a Latin word which means association or society which Logus is a Greek word which means science of study. Thus, etymological meaning of sociology is the study or science of human association or society.
Definitions of Sociology
The simplest and briefest definition of sociology is the “Study of societies”. Such a study is of a highly generalized level and nature. The question arises as to what is “society”. Sociological literature contains many definitions of “society”. There is no complete consensus on a single definition of the concept among sociologists themselves. This puts serious limitations on the basic unit of study and analysis in sociology in evolving a single definition of the discipline.
Following are the definitions of sociology by different authors.
- It is the science of society. (Ward and Graham Summer)
- The science of social phenomena. (F.H. Giddings)
- The Science of institutions. (Durkheim)
- The Study of Social Actions. (Weber)
- Sociology is the systematic and planned study of human groups and social life in modern societies. (Ken Brown)
- It is the study of social systems. (William E. Cole)
- A scientific study of human society and social behavior. (Ian Robertson)
Importance of Sociology
In today’s changing world the importance of sociology is growing day by day. In the Era of globalization, the social life of a man is becoming more and more complicated. This subject realizes people to understand the complexities of life and guides them how to tackle the situation. Following are some of the importance.
- It makes a scientific study of society
- It detects and solve social problems
- It helps in planning and development
- It studies role of the institutions in the development of the individuals
- Helps in preservation and growth of culture
- Sociology has make broaden the outlook of man
- It has a great importance in the solution of international problems.
Scope of Sociology
There is a controversy that what exactly the scope of sociology is. Whether, it is too narrow or too wide. If we analyze the arguments of both sides we will conclude that the scope of is neither too limited nor too wide. Undoubtedly very much narrowing down the subject will kill its independent character whereas making that to wide will make it very vague and close the charge that it is only collection of other social sciences.
Sociology studies society but from a purely sociological point of view. Though sociology deals with the economics, political, historical, religious, ethnic and psychological aspects of human social life but it touches these topics from a different angle. In the worlds of Sachdeva and Gupta “It is impossible to deny that sociology has produced a great deal of valuable information about social institutions such as family, property, church and state, about social classes and national and racial groups, about migration and population changes, about changes in social habits, customs and fashions, about poverty, crime and suicide. None of the topics is adequately treated elsewhere.