6 Pioneers of Modern Sociology

Sociology is a science that studies people’s life. Thus, the social dynamics that develop in people’s lives in line with the development of science and technology and the development of industrialization greatly influence the development of sociology.


Of course, the social dynamics and their consequences, both positive and negative, will always attract the attention of sociologists. Some problems such as the emergence of social classes, the development of crime, the development of urbanization, the development of poverty, and so on, have received serious attention by sociologists through research activities.


Such continuous research activities are what encourage the development of sociology. The development of sociology has never been separated from the influence of the thoughts of several important figures such as Auguste Comte and friends. So, on this occasion we will learn about six pioneering figures in the development of sociology and their complete explanations. Please listen carefully.


  1. Auguste Comte (1798  – 1857)

This sociology figure is known as the father of sociology. One of the contributions of his thoughts to sociology is the law of the progress of society’s culture which is divided into three eras, namely: first, the theological age   is an era in which people have magical beliefs, believe in spirits, amulets and religions, the world moves towards the afterlife, towards the worship of grandmothers. ancestors, leading to a world where the dead governed the living.

Second, the metaphysical age,   namely the era of society in which human thinking is still shackled by abstract and universal philosophical concepts. Third, the positivist era,   which is a period in which all explanations of social and natural phenomena are carried out by referring to scientific descriptions (scientific laws). Because he introduced the positivist method, Comte is considered a pioneer of positivism.


The characteristics of the positivist method are objects that are studied in the form of facts, are useful, and lead to certainty and accuracy. Another important contribution of thought is the idea of ​​a new religion, namely the religion of humanity which is based on humanity. According to Comte, the intellect which is built by humans must be based on a morality.


For Comte, welfare, happiness and social progress depend on the development of altruistic feelings and the implementation of the task of enhancing humanity so that an orderly, advanced and modern society can be realized. However, Comte did not preach the religion of humanity as a new religion for the world community because in 1957, Comte died.


Auguste Comte’s thinking which is the basis of sociological thinking, among others, is as follows.

  • Distinguishing sociology into social statistics and social dynamics.
  • The development of the three stages of human thought (theological, metaphysical and positive stages) which characterize the development of human knowledge and society.
  • Social phenomena can be studied scientifically through observational methods, experiments, comparisons and history.
  • Historical and societal collective facts are bound by certain laws and not by human will.


  1. Karl Marx (1818 1883)

Born in Germany in 1818 into a Jewish clergy family. In 1814 he ended his studies at the University of Berlin. Because of his association with people who were considered radical, he was forced to give up his intention to become a teacher at the University and throw himself into the political arena. Marx’s main contribution to sociology lies in his theory of social class as stated in his article entitled  The Communist Manifest,  which was co-authored with Friedrich Engels.

Marx held the view that the history of human society is a history of class struggle. According to Marx, the development of the division of labor in capitalism gave rise to two distinct classes, namely as follows.

■ The proletariat  is a class consisting of people who do not have the means of production and capital so that they are exploited for the benefit of the capitalists.

■ The bourgeoisie  (capitalists) is a class consisting of people who control the means of production and capital.


According to Marx, one day the proletariat will realize the common interest by carrying out a revolt and creating a classless society. Even though Marx’s predictions never came true, ideas about stratification and social conflict still influenced the development of sociology, especially in relation to capitalism.


3. Herbert Spencer (1820 – 1903)

Also Read:

  • 5 Important Figures in the History of the Birth of Modern Sociology
  • 6 Pioneers of Modern Sociology + Pictures and Complete Explanations
  • History of the Development of Sociology in Europe & Indonesia

Herbert Spencer, the Englishman, in 1876 put forward a theory of “social evolution”, which is still adhered to today even though there are changes here and there. He applies Darwin’s theory of “theory of evolution” analogously to human society. He believed that society underwent an evolution from a primitive society to an industrial one.

Spencer divides three aspects in the evolutionary process, namely structural differentiation, functional specialization, and increased integration. Then Spencer divided the structures, parts, or systems that arose in the evolution of society into three.

  • Regulatory system , functions to maintain relationships with other communities and regulate the relationships that occur between its members.
  • Support system , serves to meet the needs for the resilience of community members.
  • Divider system , serves to transport goods from one system to another.


The stages in the process of social evolution with the types of society are divided by Spencer into three parts as follows.

■ Primitive Type of Society

In primitive societies it is said that there is no functional differentiation and specialization. The division of labor is still small. The power relationship is not yet clear. This type of society is very dependent on the environment. Collaboration has occurred spontaneously and is supported by kinship.


■ Type of Military Society

In this militant society, heterogeneity has started to increase either because of an increase in population or because of conquest. What is important is the coordination of specific tasks, carried out by force. This method requires self-regulating systems or parts. This involuntary cooperation is guaranteed by a leader, then by the state nationally. Control by the state is limited to production, distribution and to areas of life.


■ Type of Industrial Society

Industrial society is characterized by a very high level of complexity, which is no longer controlled by state power. As a substitute, society controls itself, such as the right to self-determination, voluntary cooperation, and the balance of various interests. This condition resulted in individualization which was marked by reduced interference by the local government.


  1. Emile Durkheim (1858 1917)

Is a scientist who is very productive. His main works include  Rules of The Sociological Method ,  The Division of Labor in Society Suicide ,  Moral Education , and  The Elementary Forms of The Religious Life . Durkheim sees that every human society needs solidarity by distinguishing two main types of solidarity, namely mechanical solidarity and organic solidarity.

■ Mechanical Solidarity

A type of solidarity based on equations. It can be found in societies that are still simple and have a segmenter social structure. The social structure consists of segments that are homogeneous and show less cohesiveness. In this society, all members have the same collective consciousness. If one segment is lost then this loss has no effect on the overall structure of society.


■ Solidaritas Organis

Is an integrated system in organisms based on a variety of functions for the benefit of the whole. Each organ has its own characteristics that cannot be taken over by other organs. In an organic solidarity society there is a great interdependence that necessitates cooperation.


In subsequent developments, Durkheim used five methods to study sociology, namely:

  • Sociology must be scientific, in which social phenomena must be studied objectively and show their causality.
  • Sociology must show its own characteristics that are different from other sciences.
  • Describe pathological abnormalities.
  • Explain social problems in a  ‘ social ‘ way .
  • Use systematic comparative methods. This method has been applied in a study about the symptoms of suicide that hit European society at that time with the title “Suicide”.


  1. Max Weber (1864 1920)

Max Weber was born in Erfurt in 1864. He completed studies in law, economics, history, philosophy, theology and taught these disciplines at various universities in Germany. As well as continuously disseminating the formation of sociology which was still young at that time.

An important work from Weber  entitled The Protestant Ethic and The Spirit of Capitalism  which contains the relationship between Protestant Ethics in this case the Calvinism Sect with the emergence of the development of capitalism. According to Weber, the teachings of Calvinism require people to work hard in the hope of leading them to heaven on the condition that the profits from the results of hard work are not allowed for leisure or other forms of consumption.


Living a simple life and prohibiting all forms of luxury makes the adherents of this religion more prosperous because the profits generated are reinvested into capital. From here, according to Weber, capitalism in Europe developed rapidly.


  1. Charles Horton Cooley

Charles Horton Cooley developed a conception of reciprocity and the inseparable relationship between individuals and society. When humans are under the domination of the main group, namely the family, play groups and neighborhood groups, humans will know each other between their citizens and have close personal cooperation. This personal cooperation is the fusion of individuals in one group so that individual goals also become the goals of the group.


by Abdullah Sam
I’m a teacher, researcher and writer. I write about study subjects to improve the learning of college and university students. I write top Quality study notes Mostly, Tech, Games, Education, And Solutions/Tips and Tricks. I am a person who helps students to acquire knowledge, competence or virtue.

Leave a Comment