Connecting Sociology and YOU!

Chapter 1: Introduction – Understanding Sociology

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sociologythe scientific study of social relationships, institutions, and societies

social institutionsstructures in society providing the framework for governing the behavior of individuals in a community or society, such as family, education, religion, economy, and the government

society, a large group of people associated with a shared culture and social institutions,

a compilation of social forces and influences impacted how you developed into the person you are today.

Sociological Perspectivethe process of understanding and explaining how individuals and groups interact within society

Social Structuresthe distinctive and stable arrangements of social patterns that form the society as a whole

Social Problems: societal conditions that harm segments of society

Sociological Imaginationthe ability to see the details of our own lives in the context of larger social structures as opposed to merely personal choices or personal troubles

Social Changethe forces that change society’s organization and social structures

The discipline of sociology has only existed for approximately 180 years

An eccentric and brilliant Frenchman, Auguste Comte (1798-1857), challenged this idea and stated that society could be studied using the same scientific methods in natural sciences, such as physics, chemistry, and biology.

At age 24, he wrote an essay titled “Plan for the Scientific Work Necessary to Reorganize Society.

He established the term positivism – authentic and valid knowledge of the social world is found only through scientific and empirical pursuit


Comte believed that by using scientific methods to analyze society, sociologists could provide solutions to social problems, such as crime and poverty, that resulted from the Industrial Revolution in Western Europe

Comte thought that sociologists would rule the world due to their knowledge and expertise

sociology was exported from France to the U.S. in the 19th century

ConflictFunctionalist, and Symbolic Interactionism emerged.