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An overview

Prepared by John N. Abletis

Society and Culture

Societies are self-perpetuating groups of people who occupy a given territory and interact with one another on the basis of shared culture (Bryjak & Soroka, 2001, p. 65) Culture is a peoples way of life or social heritage and includes values, norms, institutions, and artifacts that are passed from generation to generation by learning alone (Ibid, p. 31) Sociocultural System The field of culture is the primary concern of Anthropology, yet the experience of sociological discovery could be described as culture shock minus geographical displacement (Berger, 1963,

Social Structures

patterned, recurring social relationships Small groups [primary concern of social psychology] Formal organizations Social institutions Society

Social Institutions

[They] are orderly, enduring, and established ways of arranging human behavior and doing things. Social relationships in institutions are structured for the purpose of performing some task(s) and accomplishing some specific goal. (Bryjak & Soroka, 2001, p. 193)
Family Education Religion State (Polity) [primary concern of Political Science] Economy [primary concern of Economics] Mass Media [primary concern of Media Studies]

Social Facts

they consist of manners of acting, thinking, and feeling external to the individual, which are invested with a coercive power by virtue of which they exercise control over him. Emile Durkheim (1895, p. 52) We are located in society not only in space but in time. Our society is a historical entity that extends temporally beyond any individual biography. Society antedates us and it will survive us. It was there before we were born and it will be there after we are dead. Our lives are but episodes in its majestic march through time. In sum, society is the

Research Areas in Sociology

According to the International Sociological Association, the following are the primary research areas of sociologists worldwide:
Aging Agriculture

and Food Alienation Theory and Research Armed Forces and Conflict Resolution Arts Biography and Society Body in the Social Sciences Childhood

Research Areas in Sociology


Sociology Communication, Knowledge and Culture Community Research Comparative Sociology Conceptual and Terminological Analysis Deviance and Social Control Disasters Economy and Society Education Environment and Society Family Research

Research Areas in Sociology




of Sociology Housing and Built Environment Labor Movements Language and Society Law Leisure Logic and Methodology Mental Health and Illness Migration

Research Areas in Sociology



Organizational Democracy and Self-

Management Political Sociology Population Poverty, Social Welfare and Social Policty Professional Groups Racism, Nationalism and Ethnic Relations Rational Choice Regional and Urban Development Religion

Research Areas in Sociology


and Technology Social Classes and Social Movements Social Movements, Collective Action and Social Change Social Psychology Social Indicators Social Transformations and Sociology of Development Sociocybernetics Sociotechnics, Sociological Practice Sport

Research Areas in Sociology


Internationl Women in Society Work Youth

source: http://www.isa-sociology.org/rc.htm

Sociological Imagination

the quality of mind essential to grasp the interplay of man and society, of biography and history, of self and world. C. Wright Mills (1959, p. 10) personal troubles vs. public issues It is now the social scientists foremost political and intellectual task to make clear the elements of contemporary uneasiness and indifference. (Ibid, p. 20) By such means the personal uneasiness of individuals is focused upon explicit troubles and the indifference of publics is transformed into

Sociology is a debunking science

Peter Berger (1963) argued that dimensions of sociological consciousness have four characteristics:
Debunking Unrespectability Relativizing Cosmopolitan

Sociology is more like a passion. The sociological perspective is more like a demon that possesses one, that drives one compellingly, again and again, to the questions that are its own. An introduction to sociology


Berger, P. (1963). Invitation to Sociology, NY: Double Day Bryjak, G. J. & Soroka, M. P. (2001). Sociology: Changing Societies in a Diverse World, 4th ed., MA: Allyn and Bacon Durkheim, E. (1895). The Rules of Sociological Method [Excerpts]. Retrieved April 18, 2012 from http://durkheim.uchicago.edu/Summaries/rules.ht ml International Sociological Association (n.d.). Research Committees. Retrieved April 18, 2012 from http://www.isa-sociology.org/rc.htm Mills, C. W. (1959). The Sociological Imagination, NY: Penguin Books