General sociology can be defined as a general, basic, and theoretical science of human society (from the Latin societas - society, and logos - science). It is also known as the science of forming social systems containing numerous social interactions. The terminology was created in the 19th century as a global reaction of the society to the civil crisis. The term “sociology” was first used by Auguste Comte in his series of texts entitled, “The course of positive philosophy” (1830).

The subject of general sociology

The importance of general sociology became evident with the dawning of huge changes in society. It is one of the youngest sciences, but it studies the most complex phenomena. There are various perceptions about the determination of its subject. Many sociologists have dealt with the definition of the subject, because they themselves determine fields of study. General sociology doesn’t study any particular social phenomenon, which is a problem in defining its main subject. Ultimately, the subject of sociology can be presented as the study of a whole society with all of its parts, interactions, and influences. In addition, the subject of general sociology includes:

  • Social phenomena, in which every behavior of an individual is influenced by the actions of other individuals (social action - active side of man, social behavior - passive side of man, social relations - interaction between people, social creation - social institutions and authorities)
  • Interdependence of various social phenomena
  • Social systems, structures, and general laws of functioning
  • Legality of the formation of a society
  • Legitimacy of the development of human society
  • Interdependence of nature and society

There are two main areas of study regarding society from the aspect of general sociology:

  1. Macrosociology - studying social systems and populations on a large scale, at the level of social structure, as well as the long processes of their changes
  2. Microsociology - studying smaller aspects of society (social groups), and studying interpersonal relationships in everyday life and the behavior of small groups.

The basic parts of general sociology are social statics (studying society) and social dynamics (studying the causes of social change).

The method of general sociology

In addition to using a large number of scientific methods, sociology uses various critical and global analyses, as well as scientific research. Although the methods of research are different, critical thinking is the integral part that connects them.

The method of sociology consists of three parts:

  • General method – this includes two phases: the conceptual phase, which specifies the terms and subjects of analyses, and the hypothetical phase, which is when a hypothesis is being confirmed or rejected
  • Technical methods – these use various research techniques in collecting facts (observation, experiment, survey, interview, testing, comparison, content analysis, measurement techniques, etc.)
  • Method of explanation – this is the most important method. It consists of analysis of research results and scientific explanations which provide a logical explanation using historical, comparative, statistical-mathematical, functional-structural, inductive, deductive methods

The principles and objectives

The principles of general sociology are: objectivity, generality, reliability, and precision.

Primary objectives of sociology are:

  • Discovering social legitimacy
  • Understanding each social group
  • Explanation of social phenomenon
  • Prediction

 General sociology provides a great foundation for studying other science disciplines, and offers the ability for better understanding the phenomena and problems related to other sciences such as psychology, geography and history.

 

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