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Essay: Sociology as a Science

Sociology, being a dynamic science, captures all the past and contemporary trends, which find their reflection in all spheres of our life. The most significant excitement in sociology for me is the way how the social ties affect the behavior of an individual and what consequences may follow.

Primarily, I would like to comment on some scientific methods used in sociology for that they comprise a particular interest for me. The research is an integral part of any sociological study because observations and statistics play the crucial role in gaining the knowledge in sociologic science. Besides the typical research methods used for centuries, the new ones emerge now and make up the visual sociology, a branch of the science reinforced by the development of technology.

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According to Macionis (2009), images and photography help either to study the individuals described on these images or understand people’s points and opinions on the topic highlighted with these visual aids. The film industry also contributed significantly to the development of sociology. Now it is possible to make conclusions about the social life of the people even on other continents, and I view this as a specific step toward global integration and improvement in communication. The Even better in-depth view is achieved by the film directors who manage to disclose the functioning of a particular social unit or institution from the inside emphasizing on both individual challenges and social hierarchy. We refer to such works as documentaries.

An outstanding collision occurs between two sociological theories: positivism and humanism. As for me, it is arguably why both are almost equally relevant. One may see that positivism rests upon objectivity that is the basis of any research. The positivistic studies deal with observing natural processes and declaring the outcomes. Each scientist pursues no personal goals in doing research, that’s why the issue is supposed to be unbiased and credible. On the other hand, humanistic stance appears to be more individual for each researcher and contradicts the idea of objectivity at the whole. At the same time, the scientist may not be enough objective if he or she does not participate in social processes which are the center of the study. Participant observation is highly valuable in sociologic studies. Besides, Macionis (2009) mentions that scientific methods are only tools to complete the research, while the explanation generated by the researcher who has to apply knowledge and creativity as well as to gather the data I order to come up with a relevant conclusion or solution.

So that I have mentioned some research tools, I would like to switch now to the global approach. It is evident that the historical background plays an essential role in sociological findings. When observing the societies, we proceed through the development of the human race from the primitive level and up to the highly organized communities with infrastructure, technical advancement and social security. Biological sciences only distinguish the steps of human development calling it evolution, while sociology classifies the same according to different principles (Macionis, 2009). One of the most outstanding definitions of society according to the Oxford English Dictionary suggests in the absence of choice for a human when staying with other individuals. That is how we conclude that a person does not have much influence on the society – on the contrary, mostly the community with its culture chooses for the person. The next case presents addition opinion for this idea.

In the modern world, diverse cultures usually co-exist even regarding one country or one region. Nowadays our society is not as biased and prejudiced as it was in the previous centuries, though some cultural phenomena still take place in the contemporary culture. Theodor W. Adorno makes an interesting suggestion in his ‘critical theory’ (Adorno, 1976), which also finds its reflection in the book of Macionis, J. (2009). The theory studies the ways how individuals are subjected to the intrusion of ideology concerning their society. According to the method, the culture obtains certain traits that apply to all members of the culture without exceptions, so an individual is not able to refuse the cultural ideology or suggest on his own. Each is just a part of such system and lacks self-regulation. I would say that this may be inherent to any culture through its definition of a large-scale involvement.

Finally, I never thought of the suicide from the perspective of a social phenomenon. While some people consider this an entirely personal decision, the statistical data impress: more than twice more people in the world for the last fifty years committed suicide, and much more people had unsuccessful attempts (Macionis, 2009). The most comprehensive profile for a person who is about to take his life for the last century is a young male individual who usually possesses economic freedom and the freedom of choice. It results in the loss of connections with the society, so nothing keeps the person from self-murder. Previously I had a suggestion that young girls are more subjected to suicide due to high sensitivity and psychological disorders as a consequence.

As a conclusion, I would like to mention that sociology is a useful tool not only in studying the anthropogenic processes but also in leading and even manipulating the masses. Precise observation may show how tightly it is interconnected with political, legal, economic, technological and even ecological factors from our everyday life.

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