Why sociology is not a science Let me emphasize from the outset that by branding sociology as non-science, I am by no means claiming that it is useless, just as designating medicine and technology as non-science, I am not dismissing their usefulness. When a company studies the traffic pattern of an intersection to determine if a traffic light is needed on that intersection, it is potentially saving lives. And when a sociologist studies a gang-infested urban neighborhood, s he may come up with recommendations that could save dozens of lives. The procedure of gaining knowledge outlined in what is science has been forced by nature itself, and every time it was artificially interjected into a discipline by humans, it has failed.
Indeed, the ubiquity… Historical development of sociology Though sociology draws on the Western tradition of Sociology and 20th century essay example inquiry established by the ancient Greeks, it is specifically the offspring of 18th- and 19th-century philosophy and has been viewed, along with economics and political science, as a reaction against speculative philosophy and folklore.
Consequently, sociology separated from moral philosophy to become a specialized discipline. While he is not credited with the founding of the discipline of sociology, French philosopher Auguste Comte is recognized for having coined the term sociology.
The founders of sociology spent decades searching for the proper direction of the new discipline. They tried several highly divergent pathways, some driven by methods and contents borrowed from other sciences, others invented by the scholars themselves.
To better view the various turns the discipline has taken, the development of sociology may be divided into four periods: Founding the discipline Some of the earliest sociologists developed an approach based on Darwinian evolutionary theory.
In their attempts to establish a scientifically based academic discipline, a line of creative thinkers, including Herbert SpencerBenjamin Kidd, Lewis H. Tylorand L. Hobhousedeveloped analogies between human society and the biological organism.
They introduced into sociological theory such biological concepts as variance, natural selectionand inheritance—asserting that these evolutionary factors resulted in the progress of societies from stages of savagery and barbarism to civilization by virtue of the survival of the fittest.
Some writers believed that these stages of society could be seen in the developmental stages of each individual. Although the popularity of social Darwinism waned in the 20th century, the ideas on competition and analogies from biological ecology were appropriated by the Chicago School of sociology a University of Chicago program focusing on urban studies, founded by Albion Small in to form the theory of human ecology that endures as a viable study approach.
Replacing Darwinist determinism Since the initial interest in evolutionary theory, sociologists have considered four deterministic theories to replace social Darwinism.
This search for new approaches began prior to World War I as emphasis shifted from economic theory to geographic, psychological, and cultural theory—roughly in that order.
Economic determinism The first theory, economic determinism, reflects the interest many sociologists had in the thought of Karl Marxsuch as the idea that social differentiation and class conflict resulted from economic factors.
This approach had its greatest popularity in Europe, where it remained a strong influence on some sociologists until the s. It did not gain a significant foothold in the United Statesbecause American society was thought to be socially mobile, classless, and oriented to the individual.
This neglect of Marxism by American sociologists, however, was not due to scholarly ignorance. Sociologists of all periods had read Marx as well as Charles A. Instead, in the s, neo-Marxism—an amalgam of theories of stratification by Marx and Max Weber —gained strong support among a minority of sociologists.
Their enthusiasm lasted about 30 years, ebbing with the breakup of the Soviet system and the introduction of postindustrial doctrines that linked class systems to a bygone industrial era.
The persistence of social and economic inequality is now explained as a complex outcome of factors, including gender, race, and region, as well as global trade and national politics. Human ecology Representing the second theoretical area, human geographers— Ellsworth HuntingtonEllen SempleFriedrich RatzelPaul Vidal de La BlacheJean Brunhes, and others—emphasized the impact of climate and geography on the evolution of those societies that flourished in temperate zones.
Their theories found no place in mainstream sociological thought, however, except for a brief period in the s when human ecology sought to explain social change by linking environmental conditions with demographicorganizational, and technological factors.
Human ecology remains a small but vital part of sociology today. Social psychology Psychological theories emphasized instincts, drives, motives, temperament, intelligence, and human sociability in social behaviour and societal evolution.
Social psychology modifies these concepts to explain the broader phenomena of social interaction or small group behaviour. Although American sociology even today retains an individualistic and therefore psychological bias, by the s sociologists had concluded that psychological factors alone could not explain the behaviour of larger groups and societies.
Cultural theory Finally, cultural theories of the s emphasized human ability to innovate, accumulate, and diffuse culture.
Heavily influenced by social and cultural anthropologymany sociologists concluded that culture was the most important factor in accounting for its own evolution and that of society. By cultural and social explanations of societal growth and change were accepted, with economic, geographic, and biopsychological factors playing subsidiary roles.
Early schools of thought Early functionalism Scholars who established sociology as a legitimate social science were careful to distinguish it from biology and psychology, fields that had also begun to generalize about human behaviour. They did this by developing specific methods for the study of society.Introduction to Sociology.
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Since its inception through the early decades of the 20th century, the discipline of sociology was essentially monolithic in perspective, representing a rather .
An examination of the possibilities for libertarian feminism, taking the feminist thought of the 19th century radical individualists as an example and a guide. We find that the radical libertarian critique of statism and the radical feminist critique of patriarchy are complementary, not contradictory, and we discuss some of the confusions that lead many libertarians--including many libertarian.