Subject Matter of Sociology
or Major Concerns of Sociology
There are various views regarding the subject matter of sociology. In fact, sociology borrows its subject matter from other social sciences and gives a completely new form by using its own tools and techniques.
Along with time, sociologists are exploring and expanding their study on wide new aspects of society, therefore there is no limitation of the subject matter of sociology. However, the subject matter of sociology is the society (i.e. social groups, institutions, social interactions, social change) rather than the individual.
But, ever since the emergence of sociology as a discipline, sociologists have shown a great concern in human social behavior and in the dynamics of society. It means that they have been engaging themselves in analyzing human society and culture. While trying to study and analyze society, sociologists have developed different perspectives and approaches from time to time.
The subject matters of sociology are as follows:
The major concern of sociology is sociological analysis. It means the sociologist seeks to provide an analysis of human society and culture with a sociological perspective and an attempt is made to analyze the factors or forces underlying the historical transformation of society.
Study of Primary Units of Social Life
Sociology has given sufficient attention to the study of primary units of social life such as social acts and social relationships i.e. love and care, individual personality, groups (including ethnic, class, etc.), communities (urban and rural), associations, organizations, population, etc.
Study of Basic Social Institutions
Sociology is an attempt to understand the development, structure, and function of a wide variety of basic social institutions such as marriage, family, a kinship which are micro-social institutions and religion, economy, polity, education, recreational and welfare institutions, etc. are macro-social institutions.
Study of Social Process
Sociology has a due concern to fundamental social processes such as cooperation, competition, differentiation and stratification, accommodation and assimilation, social conflict, socialization, deviance (crime, suicide, etc.), social control, social change, social integration, social evaluation (study of values), etc.
Formulation of Concepts, Propositions, and Theories
In order to understand social phenomena, the sociological study tries to formulate concepts, propositions, and theories which, in turn, help in conducting further study.
Method of Research
In order to conduct scientific sociological research, various methods like observation, questionnaire, interview, case study, etc. are applied and considered vital. That is why contemporary sociology has tended to become more and more rational and empirical rather than philosophical and idealistic.
Specialization in Study
In trying to resolve the problem-specific social aspects, sociology tries to carry out its study on a specific area of social life. For example, Sociology of Religion, Urban Sociology, Rural Sociology, Industrial Sociology, etc. can help find out the specific nature of the social life of people living in a different area of society.