Sociology: what is it and what does it do?

Sociology is a discipline we deal with every day. But what exactly does a sociologist do? What is this science about? Let’s find out in this article.

What is the science that helps us better understand the world around us and improve it? It is sociology, a discipline that aims to create a more egalitarian society in terms of gender, religion, immigration, work and many other areas.

The object of study of sociology are social life and groups , as well as what happens (or has happened in the past) in society. A sociologist must show that he has a critical conscience towards society.

What else do we know about this discipline? What methods do you use to carry out your research? What does a sociologist work on? Let’s find out more in this article.

“The field of sociology is extremely broad and ranges from the analysis of ephemeral encounters between individuals on the street to the investigation of global social processes.”

-Anthony Giddens-

What is sociology and what does it do?

Sociology is a science, specifically a social science, whose object of study is society. Therefore, it is responsible for the scientific analysis of human society and the general population.

It analyzes the relationships between human beings, the way people interact in different environments and in response to different problems or challenges (that’s why it has many points in common with social psychology); it also studies how social structures and communities are created.

Among the major authors who have dealt with sociology are Karl Marx, Auguste Comte, Beatrice Webb, Max Weber and Talcott Parsons, among others. But what specifically does sociology study?

It studies all those collective phenomena produced by the social activity of human beings within the historical-cultural context in which they live. In other words, it always takes into account the social, cultural and political context of the society and population it is analyzing.

What do you study specifically?

Sociology studies society and human social behavior. But to what extent? According to Giddens et al. (1991), the study of sociology can range from the “microscopic” level (microsociology), i.e. the one that studies interaction and organizations, to a more macro level, which includes different social systems and structures .

And what topics does sociology deal with? The range is very wide: social class, religion, gender, social deviation, health, economy, penal institutions, internet, education, scientific knowledge… that is, everything that has to do with social behavior in general .

In short, sociology studies all the spheres that directly influence society and the life of human beings on an individual and collective level.

What methodologies do you use?

Like any other science, sociology uses a number of methodologies to investigate its object of study. In this case it uses interdisciplinary research methodologies , i.e. coming from different disciplines and fields.

This in order to analyze and interpret the causes and meanings that motivate the appearance of certain trends in social behavior. Specifically, sociology uses three methodologies to analyze society. These are:

  • Qualitative: according to Babbie (2014), “qualitative properties are the scientific method of observation to collect non-numerical data”.
  • Quantitative: they concern the systematic empirical investigation of observable phenomena through statistical or mathematical techniques.
  • Comparative: studies the correlation between one or more study phenomena.

What is the scope of sociology?

Depending on the specific field of sociology, some scholars conduct research in order to apply the results to social policy and welfare ; others seek to understand social processes. And what about career opportunities? What can a sociologist do?

Professional outlets

A sociologist can work in both the public and private spheres. Furthermore, he is a key figure in the tertiary sector (ie the one concerning NGOs, associations, foundations, etc). What are the career opportunities for a sociologist? Some of these are:

  • Training in organizations and companies.
  • Market studies.
  • Marketing and comunication.
  • Dynamics and social and cultural mediation.
  • Research (in the social and interdisciplinary sciences).
  • Management of public projects.
  • Human resources.

As we can see, sociology is a rather vast field, as well as very versatile , since it covers many areas. It focuses on the study of human society and that involves studying, analyzing and understanding how a society behaves.

Furthermore, it also has the objective of improving the social reality through the understanding of its phenomena. His study and research include areas and elements as diverse as education, work, health, gender roles, stereotypes, fashions, racism, solidarity, etc.

“Sociology allows us to understand the motivations and behaviors of different social groups and to obtain a global view of the world around us.”


by Abdullah Sam
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