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What is Sociology and Why Should You Study It?

The Definition of Sociology

Sociology is a field of science that studies the social behaviour of people, groups, and the organization of societies. It is very common for people to opt for a full-time or an online sociology degree. In this article, we will discuss what exactly sociology is, ways it can help you, and why should you opt for a career in sociology.

It provides two great ways of treating social phenomena. On one hand, it deals with aggregates and social entities. Sociologists try to know what they are, how they work, and how they affect people’s behaviour and well-being. 

Sociology studies family, religion, educational institutions, businesses, administrations, science, etc. It also deals with the features that characterize societies, such as inequality, values ​​and beliefs, cultural manifestations, criminality and migration, among many others, taking into account how these features condition people’s lives. This discipline deals with topics as diverse as the insertion of young people in the labour market, the problems derived from the greater number of older people, the different career paths of women and men, the historical changes of social classes, etc.

On the other hand, sociology deals with the behaviour of people in relation to others and with the set of situations in which they live. It finds out how their actions occur and what consequences they have on our ways of life. In particular, pay attention to the impact that people’s behaviour has on society through their actions and their participation in the processes of change, creating new social forms or transforming existing ones. 

Sociology as a discipline covers, therefore, a great diversity of topics, from the analysis of very specific situations related to the interaction between individuals to social processes on a global scale. Due to the variety and complexity of social reality, sociologists often work specializing in more specific areas of social life. An example of the specialties of Sociology can be seen in the research committees of the FES.

An important characteristic of Sociology is that it values ​​active and critical thinking when it deals with a social fact. Sociological work tries to question assumptions of common sense and popular explanations of social reality that are not based on proven evidence. Therefore, it often reveals situations that question traditional ways of thinking and acting that are often taken for granted. In summary, we are interested in studying the general trends and try to find the latent, non-obvious explanations and motivations that underlie the different social manifestations.

Through its analytical perspective, its theories and its research methods, Sociology is a discipline that expands our understanding and perception of human social relations, cultures, and institutions that shape our lives and the future of societies.

We face an increasingly complex and changing social environment in modern-bureaucratic industrial societies and a sociological study provides the conceptual tools and methods and techniques for understanding the social environment if it is expressed in-group attitudes, values, and behaviours, the political processes of the working class, families, organizations, consumers, and governments.

Why study sociology?

Sociology provides us with the tools and skills needed to take a more active role in the creation, participation, promotion, and management of such groups.

What kind of people may be interested in this profession? How to find out if Sociology is the perfect career for me?

Applicants who wish to enrol in the Bachelor of Sociology must possess: Ability to analyze, reflect and interpret social, political, and economic conflicts; ability to work in a team; interest and willingness for field and documentary research

What kind of work does a professional in the Bachelor of Sociology do? What is the scope of the race?

Those who study Sociology can get to work in different sectors and jobs. A Bachelor’s degree in Sociology can give rise to wide possibilities of getting a job in all of the following areas:

Criminal Justice: In correctional, rehabilitation, police, judicial system, probation system, etc.

Business and Industry: Advertising, human resources, training and human development, leadership training, etc.

Research and Planning: Government and regional planning departments, research companies, research, evaluation of inquiries made about public opinion, etc.

Social Agency Services: Mental health services, adoption, child care, youth services, disability services, etc.

Government: Analysis of the Social Sciences, census office and other government agencies, administration, analysis of personnel policies, national security, etc.

Education: Public and private schools, colleges and universities, administration, student relations, placement offices, educational research, etc.

Defence: Environment, child protection, policies, victims’ rights, labour rights, community organization, etc.

Communications: Writing, newspapers and magazines of technical information, public relations.

As a sociology student, you acquire an invaluable skillset. You learn the ability to work in an independent capacity. You learn how to research, extract, and analyze information and then start a discussion on the basis of it.

All degrees that teach sociology focus on teaching research methods. This allows you to learn to create new information through tools, such as social surveys, that you can interpret through statistics, and you can also analyze the jargons used in the texts of the media, etc. 

You can add yourself to a list of people who have made a “difference”

Saskia Sassen

Dutch by birth, this sociologist is well known for her work on global cities (The Global City). It is not the first nor the best descriptor of globalization, but it is the one that has studied its effects on cities and has had a very high impact beyond Sociology. His work is heard by geographers, politicians, builders and designers. Even if you have not read it, you have heard his name. He has recommended writing on the future of sociology. Sociology of globalization.

Walter Powell 

Known as Woody Powell, this sociologist at Stanford University works with Paul J. DiMaggio, promoter of the new institutionalism. He wonders why the organizations of a sector are so similar and point out that there is an isomorphism, a kind of imitation due, among other things, to cognitive aspects in the training of professionals. When passing through the same institutions, managers develop similar mental schemes that lead them to apply similar strategies. His article “The Iron Cage Revisited “is one of the most cited sociological works.

John Scott 

A British who has dedicated himself to studying elites, power, and social networks. He has shown the mechanisms that elites use to organize and dominate. More than creating famous theories John Scott has dedicated himself to resuscitating studies of power and giving clarity and form to the analysis of social networks. This resurrection of elites and clarity of network analysis have made it widely read and commented on in sociology if you want to investigate elites or networks. 

Manuel Castells 

His main work The Information Age is an anchor on which we start talking about the information society. This Spanish sociologist points out that information is the axis on which contemporary society and countries are structured. He has gained a lot of influence in all social sciences and is very popular for his lectures on social movements and technology.

Erving Goffman 

Canadian by birth, this sociologist is more a classic than a contemporary but is included in this ranking since his work remains current and relevant to study institutions, interactions and behaviour. His key work is the presentation of the person in everyday life, where he says that we wear a mask that we are changing according to the situation. It is one of the most cited books of sociology. In addition, Goffman was held in a psychiatric hospital to understand the total institutions such as hospitals and prisons. If we talk about identity we have to go through Goffman, or if we investigate speeches, communication or social movements using frame analysis we have to read it.

Luc Boltanski 

French sociologist, closely linked to a philosophy like all sociology in France, has developed, together with Laurent Thévenot, the theory that all justification is based on worlds or orders of value. Any argument we use is based on a civic, domestic, industrial, fame, inspiration or market world. His book De la Justification is highly recommended, something complicated to understand in the first reading but it helps you to better understand morals, speeches, books, even advertising and negotiations.

All said we can clearly come to the conclusion that Sociology is indeed a fascinating and excellent career choice that not only helps uplift one’s career but also broadens the horizon of one’s cognitive abilities and behavioural modifications.