What does social phenomenon mean in sociology

What is “Sociology”?

Even if “sociological” thoughts, ideas and questions have always moved people and have been treated by well-known scientists, sociology itself as an independent discipline is a relatively young science (compared to other sciences), ie it is only around 150 to 200 years old. We do not want to throw a spotlight on the history of sociology, but rather explain what “sociology” actually means.

To the subject

The term “sociology” is an artificial word coined by one of the “founding fathers” of the subject, the French Auguste Comte, from the Latin word “socius” (common, companion) and the Greek word “logos” (speech, word, meaning) Has. So sociology means something like "The meaning of the common" or more freely and more modernly translated: "The doctrine of the social".

The term already outlines what it aims at: the scientific research of all “social” occurrences, i.e. all those phenomena that have to do with the interaction of at least two people. Derived from this, there are a number of partly different definitions of what sociology actually is. One of the most concise and one of the most widely accepted is that of Max Weber (from: "Economy and Society", 1920):

“Sociology should mean: a science which Understand social action in an interpreting way and thereby in his procedure and his Explain the cause of the effects want. ”[emphasis placed on us].

Accordingly, sociology deals with the origin and development of human coexistence within and within a society. All forms in which individuals act interactively, i.e. in relation to one another, are included: entire societies, states, organizations, schools, groups, families, economic cycles, partnerships and much more.

And what does that mean?

Simply put, sociology moves between that observation, description, interpretation and analysis human Coexistence. The requirement of sociology always stands in the room, that theoretical knowledge also with empirical methods can be checked, confirmed or discarded. Sociology aims at recognizing empirically verifiable Regularities and laws from.

One discipline - many sub-areas

Since sociology refers to very different and very complex phenomena, there are also different ways of categorizing sociology. On the one hand, one can distinguish whether a social phenomenon is being investigated in which - to put it simply - the individual people could theoretically still be identified, i.e. rather few individuals are involved. This perspective is also "MicrosociologyThe focus of the study is on social relationships between individual individuals or groups, for example on the family, the school class or the socialization processes. Questions arise about specific actions of individual individuals and how interaction works in certain "settings" .

On the other hand, the focus in sociology can be on “the big picture” and, for example, focus on society as a whole in Germany or the entire education system. While microsociology focuses on the relationship between the individual and society and emphasizes the actor level, this aims "Macrosociology"rather on general similarities and differences in large social structures. It is therefore a question of certain regularities according to which parts of society function as a whole, for example cultural peculiarities.

As a link, so to speak, the so-called "Mesosociology“Delimit the middle levels between the individual and society as a whole, for example organizations and associations.

In addition, sociological research includes so-called "hyphen-"or"Special sociologies". It is emphasized that certain areas or topics are in the foreground in the respective sociological investigation, for example "youth sociology", "educational sociology", "urban sociology", "economic sociology", "political sociology", "knowledge sociology", "family sociology" and many more .

Sociology vs. “neighboring” sciences

As a typical social science, sociology shares the same or at least similar topics with some other scientific disciplines. However, while these neighboring sciences only have a specific focus, sociology tries to take all these perspectives into account and to grasp the corresponding interactions.




Here you go on to the topics:

→ "Sociology at the PH - Why?"

→ "Course content" during studies at the PH

→ "Recommended reading"

→ "Further links"