<< Chapter < Page Chapter >> Page >
  • Explain why sociology emerged when it did
  • Describe how sociology became a separate academic discipline
Figure (a) shows two ancient Greeks. Figure (b) shows an ancient Chinese man. Figure (c) shows a statue of a man. Figure (d) shows a portrait of a Frenchman.
People have been thinking like sociologists long before sociology became a separate academic discipline: Plato and Aristotle, Confucius, Khaldun, and Voltaire all set the stage for modern sociology. (Photos (a),(b),(d) courtesy of Wikimedia Commons; Photo (c) courtesy of Moumou82/Wikimedia Commons)

Since ancient times, people have been fascinated by the relationship between individuals and the societies to which they belong. Many topics studied in modern sociology were also studied by ancient philosophers in their desire to describe an ideal society, including theories of social conflict, economics, social cohesion, and power (Hannoum 2003).

In the thirteenth century, Ma Tuan-Lin, a Chinese historian, first recognized social dynamics as an underlying component of historical development in his seminal encyclopedia, General Study of Literary Remains . The next century saw the emergence of the historian some consider to be the world’s first sociologist: Ibn Khaldun (1332–1406) of Tunisia. He wrote about many topics of interest today, setting a foundation for both modern sociology and economics, including a theory of social conflict, a comparison of nomadic and sedentary life, a description of political economy, and a study connecting a tribe’s social cohesion to its capacity for power (Hannoum 2003).

In the eighteenth century, Age of Enlightenment philosophers developed general principles that could be used to explain social life. Thinkers such as John Locke, Voltaire, Immanuel Kant, and Thomas Hobbes responded to what they saw as social ills by writing on topics that they hoped would lead to social reform. Mary Wollstonecraft (1759–1797) wrote about women’s conditions in society. Her works were long ignored by the male academic structure, but since the 1970s, Wollstonecraft has been widely considered the first feminist thinker of consequence.

The early nineteenth century saw great changes with the Industrial Revolution, increased mobility, and new kinds of employment. It was also a time of great social and political upheaval with the rise of empires that exposed many people—for the first time—to societies and cultures other than their own. Millions of people moved into cities and many people turned away from their traditional religious beliefs.

Creating a discipline

Auguste comte (1798–1857)

A portrait of August Comte.
Auguste Comte played an important role in the development of sociology as a recognized discipline. (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

The term sociology was first coined in 1780 by the French essayist Emmanuel-Joseph Sieyès (1748–1836) in an unpublished manuscript (Fauré et al. 1999). In 1838, the term was reinvented by Auguste Comte (1798–1857). Comte originally studied to be an engineer, but later became a pupil of social philosopher Claude Henri de Rouvroy Comte de Saint-Simon (1760–1825). They both thought that social scientists could study society using the same scientific methods utilized in natural sciences. Comte also believed in the potential of social scientists to work toward the betterment of society. He held that once scholars identified the laws that governed society, sociologists could address problems such as poor education and poverty (Abercrombie et al. 2000).

Questions & Answers

how is sociology questions are set up
Linda Reply
how the sociology help to change people behaviour in society.
All Reply
And interaction of people culture
Aliyu Reply
what is socioty chang?
Rahim
define personality
Ndugu
society is where a group of people live and interact
Ndugu
sir with detail.
Rahim
it includes culture, that maybe religion, peoples beliefs, organizations ways of life and others
Ndugu
what is sociology
NICOLA Reply
it is the study of society or web of human intraction and relationship
Hope
sociology is the study of group or society, and how they interact
Abigail
wat is social change
Mumi Reply
Social change refers to the transformation of culture, behavior, social institutions, and social structure over time.
Baffa
the term social change has muti dimensions other words.it means change that takes place in society quantitatively and qualitatively .it is the alternative of not only the social structure but also the behavior and attitudes of the members of the society
Evelyn
refers to the transformation of culture
Abigail
what are the components of sociology
Beauty
is a human being a social product
Rukudzo Reply
how can sociological theories be beneficial when studying various groups in a society
Life Reply
what are the important of social stratification
HASSAN Reply
Social control Social interaction Employment Control poverty Social Institution's
Qamar
Hello
masimba
hi
NICOLA
Is sociology ur main programm?
masimba
Yes
NICOLA
what are the uses and application of sociology as a discipline
Nnenna Reply
for people to view themselves. as ahaving a place in the world in different groups by way of there interests and priorities in life
howard
thanks
Nnenna
do you have antropology books we badly need for our class discussion. Our topic is all about Variation in gender hierarchy.
Andrea Reply
no..
Khushboo
hlo
Tariq
hi
Khushboo
how are you
Tariq
Kon ji
Shahzad
hii guys
Andrea
hello to you.
junil
hi.
Altaf
that sounds really interesting
MJ
hi
Altaf
hello
Munni
how are you
Munni
hii
Rima
yes
Jamuna
what is social change?
Sandra Reply
the nature of social change
Sandra
what is the nature of social change?
Gizzie
Social change is way human interactions and relationships transform cultural and social institutions over time .
example of social group ?
Maria
pressure group
Ann
chage in social structure called social change
Muhammad
sooner or later the course rural sociology be out of place
Bulama Reply
what are the effects of isolation to the development of social self?
Richard Reply
demonstrate the relevance of the knowledge of culture socialization to the nursing practice?
Richard
what are the key concept of socialization?
Richard Reply
gender roles
Onias
according to haralambus textbook of sociology, sociologist identified; high culture, folk culture, mass culture, popular culture, subculture and global culture as the types of culture. How legit is this?
Ojewande Reply

Get Jobilize Job Search Mobile App in your pocket Now!

Get it on Google Play Download on the App Store Now




Source:  OpenStax, Introduction to sociology 2e. OpenStax CNX. Jan 20, 2016 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11762/1.6
Google Play and the Google Play logo are trademarks of Google Inc.

Notification Switch

Would you like to follow the 'Introduction to sociology 2e' conversation and receive update notifications?

Ask