Sociology

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Sociology is a study of human beings in their social aspect. The term was coined by Auguste Comte, who hoped to unify all studies of mankind--including history, psychology and economics. His own sociological scheme was typical of the 18th century; he believed all human life had passed through the same distinct historical stages and that, if one could grasp this progress, one could prescribe the remedies for social ills.

The Sociology of today is far less grand. It is the study of humankind's organizations and social institutions, largely by a comparative method. It has concentrated on the organization of complex industrial societies; anthropology has studied simpler and more static ones, though there is no intrinsic reason for dividing the subject that way.

A distinction should be made between these and forensic studies within these disciplines, particularly where anatomy is involved. These latter studies might be better named as Forensic psychology.

See also sociologist, Milgram experiment, disabilities, media studies, sociobiology

Influential sociologists: Auguste Comte, Emile Durkheim, Max Weber, W. I. Thomas, Talcott Parsons, Robert K. Merton, Erving Goffman, C. Wright Mills

Influences on sociology: Karl Marx, Georg Simmel, George Herbert Mead, Ferdinand Saussure, Alfred Schutz, Claude Levi-Strauss

Branches of sociology: Sociology of Religion


What are our priorities for writing in this area? To help develop a list of the most basic topics in Sociology, please see Sociology basic topics.

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