The word social refers to society or things pertaining to the public, group, or collective. The social sciences are academic disciplines concerned with the study of human society and social relationships. Sociology is the study of social behavior, including social life, social change, and the social causes and consequences of human behavior.
Sociology uses systematic methods of investigation, data collection, and critical analysis to gather knowledge about social structures and activities. Sociologists analyze this information to understand social phenomena, including gender, race, culture, social class, social networks, and historical change.
One focus of sociology is the set of social institutions that shape the actions of a society. A social institution is a complex set of interdependent social forces that meet basic needs and serve to reproduce patterns of behavior. For example, the media is a social institution that influences the way information is presented. The law and politics are social institutions that impact the definitions of what is right and moral. The social institutions of the economy and education affect social status, career, and wealth. Family is a social institution that shapes ideas about gender, sex, partnership, work, marriage, and child-rearing. Other social institutions include medicine and religion. Social institutions shape society and impact the lived experience of individuals.
Sociology is an academic field but is also used in a number of nonacademic professions. Some sociologists are researchers and teachers. Their focus is theoretical sociology, the study and analysis of society, social groups, and social behaviors. Politicians, government workers, marketers, and others often use sociological research in their work. Social workers apply this research in order to address social problems. They practice applied sociology, the use of research about social behavior to create solutions to specific social issues or for specific client needs, such as food, housing, and health care.
|Durkheim's Mechanical versus Organic Solidarity|
|Mechanical Solidarity||Organic Solidarity|