Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Sociology: A Discipline Part 1


Sociology is one of the easiest subjects in terms of giving it as an optional but when it comes to writing, it becomes quite intricate to do the same. In this series, I am going to discuss about the strategy that I have adopted for clearing sociology. No one can follow the same strategy and therefore I recommend you to follow their own strategy and I’ll tell you about what I the way to proceed to different topics that appear in sociology.
Sociology as a discipline deals with studying the society both from macro and micro-perspective. First thing that a person is supposed to understand is that there is nothing good or bad; right or wrong in sociology. You can write anything in an answer if it is not with respect to a particular sociologist. You will definitely not going to get zero marks for writing anything. So always try to write anything you know about the topic, even the things you yourself have observed. You can be as much critical as you can and thus it tends to fetch you more marks. However, in the end, one must be optimistic and give a balanced view on a positive note.
Now coming to the strategy for the first chapter, which is only an introductory part of the syllabus. It mainly deals with three things
  1.       How sociology emerged from European Modernity
  2.           How it is related to various disciplines
  3.       How it is related to common sense.

I am going to discuss first part here which is emergence of sociology from European modernity. It was construed that people were highly irrational at the initial stages of social development. There thinking was based on subjective knowledge (knowledge driven by beliefs, customs and which cannot be proved theoretically). Like why earth rotates around sun. Some people have these religious beliefs about gods rotating planets.
But later to bring men out of this irrationality, many philosophers came out and there was intellectual growth. They talked about separating the men from religion and think rationally (means apply your mind, put a logic and prove it). This led to the thinking that human destiny is not in the hand of God rather human destiny is in the hand of human themselves. Further, king, monarchy, churches controlled everything about how one should conduct himself/herself in the society, the education and marriage as well. Thus humans were sort of bonded. Thus many intellectuals like Veblem, Lurther king, Rousseau, Aristotle, Plato came out with the kind of society they dreamt. Humas were given free space to think and speak ad do whatever they like. Thus there was an intellectual growth.
  •       Thus the First Point is Intellectual/Ideological Growth- Renaissance

Now when there is intellectual growth, there was renunciation of the institution of church, monarchy and concepts like state, religion as personal affair have developed. Education was made on objective lines and control of church and kings were removed. The people got enlightenment and they boycotted all these traditional things. Religion became a personal affair, new schools have been opened, occupation was made open to all and creation of the concept of state and democracy as institutions developed.
  • This is known as Institutional Growth

When there was intellectual growth supported by new institutions like education, democracy, occupation, there was growth of industry among other this. Thus more use of science and scientific knowledge led to growth of new technology that had changed the whole picture of Europe. There was growth of industrial towns and new job opportunities. New concepts like large scale migration, poor-rich divide, growth of slums, increase in population led various thinkers to see and understand this change.
  • This is known as Technological Growth

All these factors led to the European modernity. This means that complete transformation of life of people in terms of their ideas, thinking, cultural practices and way of life. Thus there was growth of modern Europe.
Now this European modernity has both positive and negatives. Thinkers went on to study these changes in the society differently. Those who were particularly studied the changes in a field were called as economists, political scientists, biologists, anthropologists etc.
However, many scholars and thinkers studied the changes in the society as a whole and adopted different strategies.
  • Comparative: They compared the society in the past with the society in the present and studied the changes thereto and thus brought them in theories like august Comte/Durkheim advocated for comparative sociology. They were not concerned whether the changes are good or bad. They were only concerned about studying the changes.
  • Supporter: They supported European Modernity as it brought good changes. They saw the increase in better demographic profile, better education, easy ways of communications among other things.
  • Critics: They criticized modernity for the fact that it has given rise to frustration, disillusionment and alienation among fellow beings. This school include De-Bonald and De-Maistre


Coming to other schools basically, there were two schools of thought that later developed.
  • Positivist
  • Anti – Positivist

The former believed that any changes in the society must be studied from scientific perspective. That means that the way science studies various phenomenon’s, the same way one can study social phenomenon. Any change can be studied like the way we study biology, physics etc. While the later school considered that man is rational but he is also affected by customs, beliefs and his mind cannot be quantified into pieces. Further, mind of a person is dynamic and he can think anything which cannot be studies from scientific methods and thus they reject positivists. They were called criticals
Later many schools developed like Non-Positivists (who took a middle path of these two approaches). Anti-positivist school expanded and new thinkers came who were called as phenomenology, interaction etc.

So, in a nutshell, there are mainly 3 schools of thoughts

1. Positivist (Science and scientific methods only, quantification- Comte, Simon, Durkheim)

2. Non Positivist (Subjective analysis of objective data collection means that data shall be collected through scientific methods but interpretation of that data shall be in terms of history, culture etc- Weber, Horkheimer, Heiddeger and George Simmel, Also known as hermunetic and interpretative method)

3. Anti positivist (Reflexive means that they are liberating sociology from the bondage of methods. They think that a person shall be given enough freedom to chart out his problem and method of studying that problem. This school includes- critical, phenomenology, interaction etc. there is no methodology and you can study the various social aspect according to youself. Reflexive actually means that there is more flexibility rather than rigidity and more liberal).




1 comment:

  1. It's amazing Sahil. Keep up the good work. It's a great karma you have been doing for the needy ones out there.

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