What is Sociology? Sociology is the scientific and systematic study of human social interaction. The best way of looking at it if you think of the world around you, you have the natural world which comes from all of those natural sciences such as Physics, Biology, Chemistry and then we have the social world, which looks at humans interacting with one another – that social interaction, and that is what sociologists study; you know how ideas are created within society, and then how values and beliefs reinforce those ideas, and then how behavior becomes habit and we just take our culture for granted because we have been raised to believe in those values and beliefs that tie in to those ideas. That is Sociology in a nutshell.
The most basic definition is that Sociology is the study of society. But, in a Sociology course we tend to deepen that definition a little bit and we look at some of the science behind how society is studied. It is not just a matter of someone sitting in their armchair like me here making pronouncements about how the world works, but it is about a regimented, careful, well documented approach to observing and analyzing various social processes.
One of the central ideas of Sociology is understanding diversity, because race, class, gender, ethnicity, age, all of these shape our beliefs, and our behavior and experiences. For example, if someone who is a female immigrant who is in poverty; her life experiences would be very different from a male who is upper middle class going to private schools etc.
What is sociology to me? I’d like to take the cue from the author of the new textbook that I am using in class and I like the way he puts it and so I am going to steal his phrase. He says Sociology is all about making the familiar strange. Looking at the things that we take for granted that in a new way that contributes to a deeper understanding.