These sociologists also used a research technique known asmapping, in which theycollecteddemographic datasuch as age, gender, and socioeconomic status,geographically distributed this information, and then analyzed the distribution. Afteridentifying problems and devising a social‐action policy based on available data, theywould organize community members and lobby political leaders to solve the problem. Addams, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1931, played a major part in establishinggovernment safety and health standards and regulations, as well as founding importantgovernment programs, including Social Security, Workers' Compensation, and theChildren's Bureau.For about the first 40 years of the 20th century, most American sociologists emphasized thepractical aspects of the field, especially in terms of initiating various social reforms. That is, theyviewed sociology as an appliedsocial science (applying their knowledge to create practicalsolutions to societal problems). Later, when sociologists became more interested in developinggeneral theories of how society works, many viewed sociology as a basicsocial science,(seeking knowledge for the sake of knowledge only). Along with the ideal of knowledge for itsown sake came the notion that sociology should be “pure” and objective—without values,opinions, or agendas for social reform. As a result, between 1940 and 1960, sociologistsdeveloped and applied rigorous and sophisticated scientific methods to the study of socialbehavior and societies.In the 1960s,however, people began to challenge sociology's objective and value‐freeapproach to social knowledge. An increased awareness of and interest in such social illsas racial unrest, gender inequity, poverty, and controversy over the Vietnam War led
society once again to look for the practical solutions associated with sociology as anapplied science.At the dawn of the 21st century, sociology in America is a social science that is bothapplied and basic, subjective and objective. In addition, the discipline has divided into many specialties and subspecialties—from industrial sociology(the application of sociological principles to solving industrialand business problems) to ethnomethodology(the scientific study of common sense)to clinical sociology(the application of sociological principles to solving humanproblems and effecting social change). Today, the number of sociologists stands at about20000.It is significant that interest in sociology arose in the United States just after the Civil War.Ithas been suggested that the War left this country with many problems which challenged theattention of men. It had rocked the social structure of our people to its foundations. It hadchallenged thinking men to a reconsideration of the fundamental problems of government andsocial relation ships. Like every important war, the Civil War and its after-results disturbed thesettled status of classes and raised questions concerning settled opinions, and to thinking mindspresented the challenge of re-examining some of our fundamental notions. It was a time when
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