What is Sociology – Definition and Overview

What is Sociology



Sociology is the scientific study of society, including patterns of social relationships, social interaction, and culture. It examines how people interact with each other and how they form groups and organizations.

Sociologists investigate the structure and function of societies, social institutions and social interaction. They also examine issues such as inequality, crime, education, family, religion and work.

History of Sociology

The history of sociology is a relatively new field of study. The first sociological theories appeared in the 18th and 19th centuries. However, it was not until the early 20th century that sociology became a formal academic discipline.

The term “sociology” was first coined by French philosopher Auguste Comte in 1839. Comte believed that all societies progress through three distinct stages:

  • Theological Stage
  • Metaphysical Stage
  • Scientific Stage

He believed that sociology would be the science that would allow us to understand and improve upon society.

Other early sociologists include Karl Marx, Emile Durkheim, and Max Weber.

Marx was a German philosopher who developed the idea of historical materialism, which holds that history is determined by economic factors.

Durkheim was a French sociologist who studied how societies functioned and developed theories about crime, suicide, and religion.

Types of Sociology

There are 13 types of Sociology. These are as follows:

  • Theoretical Sociology
  • Historical Sociology
  • Sociology of Knowledge
  • Criminology
  • Sociology of Religion
  • Sociology of Economy
  • Rural Sociology
  • Urban Sociology
  • Political Sociology
  • Sociology of Demography
  • Sociology of Law
  • Industrial Sociology

Theoretical Sociology

Theoretical sociology is the study of social reality from a theoretical perspective. It is the application of theoretical tools to the analysis of social phenomena. Theoretical sociologists aim to build theory that can be used to explain and predict social behavior.

Historical Sociology

Historical sociologists study how societies change over time. They examine how people in the past lived and how they interacted with each other. Historical sociologists also study how social institutions, such as government and religion, have changed over time.

Sociology of Knowledge

Sociology of knowledge is a field of sociology that studies the relationships between human thought and society. It examines how people’s beliefs, values, and concepts of the world are shaped by their social environment.


Criminology is the study of crime, its causes, and its prevention. It is an important field of study that can help us to better understand why people commit crimes and how we can prevent them.

Criminologists use a variety of methods to study crime, including interviews, surveys, observation, and analysis of data. They may also work with law enforcement officials to gain a better understanding of how crimes are committed and investigated.

Sociology of Religion

Sociology of Religion is the study of how religion is used and how it affects societies. It looks at how religion is organized, what social effects it has, and how it changes over time. It also looks at the different types of religious beliefs and practices around the world.

Sociology of Economy

In the sociology of economy, sociologists examine how economic activity is organized and how it affects individuals, groups, and societies. They investigate how people produce, exchange, and use goods and services, and how this affects social relations. Additionally, sociologists of economy study how economic systems change over time and how they are affected by social, political, and cultural factors.

Rural Sociology

Rural sociology is a subfield of sociology that focuses on the study of social, economic, and environmental issues in rural areas. The field emerged in the late 19th century as a way to study the effects of modernization on small communities and has since evolved to encompass a wide range of topics.

Urban Sociology

Urban sociology is the study of social life and human interactions in urban areas. It is a relatively new field of sociology that emerged in the early 20th century, with the rise of cities and the growth of the urban population.

Urban sociologists study a wide range of topics, from housing and homelessness to crime and violence, poverty and inequality, education, health care, and more. They use a variety of research methods, including surveys, interviews, observational studies, and quantitative analysis.

Political Sociology

Political sociology is the study of how societies are organized and how they interact with each other. It looks at how power is distributed in societies, how social change happens, and how different groups within society interact with each other. Political sociology has a long history dating back to the 19th century, when sociologists first began to study how power was distributed in society. Today, political sociology is a thriving field of research with many different subfields and approaches.

Sociology of Demography

The sociology of demography is concerned with studying the social factors that impact population change. This includes things like fertility rates, mortality rates, migration patterns, and marriage and divorce rates. By understanding these factors, sociologists can gain insight into how populations grow and change over time.

Sociology of Law

The Sociology of Law in Sociology is the study of how laws are created and enforced within society. It examines the relationships between law, crime, and deviance, as well as the impact of legal institutions on social order. The sociology of law is a relatively new field within sociology, only emerging as its own distinct area of study in the early 20th century. However, the roots of the sociology of law can be traced back to the work of early sociologists such as Emile Durkheim and Max Weber.

Industrial Sociology

Industrial sociology is the subfield of sociology that studies the social behavior of people in organizations and the workplace.

Industrial sociologists are interested in understanding how people interact with each other in work settings, how work organizations are structured, and how work affects people’s lives outside of work.

Industrial sociology is a relatively new field, having only emerged as a distinct discipline in the early twentieth century. However, its origins can be traced back to the work of early sociologists like Karl Marx and Max Weber.

Sociology Research Methods

The three most common research methods in sociology are:

  • Surveys
  • Experiments
  • Observation


Surveys are used to collect data from a large number of people. They can be used to collect data about people’s opinions, beliefs, and behaviors.


Experiments are used to study cause and effect relationships. They are conducted under controlled conditions to manipulate one or more independent variables while holding all other variables constant.


Observation is a method of collecting data by watching people and recording what they do. It can be used to study both overt and covert behavior.

Purpose of Sociology

The purpose of sociology is to study human social behavior. Sociologists examine the interaction between people and groups, and how these interactions affect society as a whole. They may study topics such as marriage, crime, education, religion, or family. By understanding how people interact with each other, sociologists can help solve social problems.

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Muhammad Hassan

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