Society is a rather complicated object, so naturally one science if not enough to study it. Distinctive feature of sociology is that it studies society as integrity, as integral functioning and developing social organism while the other social sciences study separate sub-structures or sub-systems of society, separate kinds of relationships. For instance economical, political, juridical sciences study inner regularities of development of different sides, spheres, sub-structures, kinds of social relationships and sociology analyses interaction of basic sides, sub-structures of society, economical, political and law relationships, economics, politics and morality that enables it to reveal peculiarities of society as integrity.
Philosophy and history are characterized by analysis of society as integrity. But they treat integrity in adifferent way. For philosophy integrity means integrity of world and for history - integrity of historical process. Integrity of society in sociology is revealed as concrete reality by means of not only theoretical but also empirical methods. Sociology is not restricted by viewing society as integral formation. It reveals mechanisms of its functioning and development. Integrity in sociology is seen as a system of social mechanisms that cause progress and development of society. Sociology is able to describe behavior of big masses of people and in this case is close to statistics. From the other side inner world of a person is closed for sociology. It is studied by psychology. Social psychology that appeared as the result of collaboration of sociology and psychology describes a human being in his real environment. It touches problems of interaction of people in small group but naturally social psychologist is not able to predict change of ruling regime or the end of political struggle of parties.
He is helped by political science or politology. But from the other side politologists are not able to foresee changes of market conditions, change of demand and supply, change of prices or propose recommendations referring to improvement of tax legislature. These questions are in competence of economics.
Sociology, psychology, social psychology, economics, politology, anthropology and ethnography belong to social sciences. They have much in common, they are closely related to each other and form a peculiar scientific union. They are also related to the other group sciences that are referred to as humanitarian sciences: philosophy, history, study of art, literary criticism. Social sciences operate quantitative (mathematical-statistical) methods and humanitarian sciences qualitative (descriptive-evaluative) ones. Humanitarian sciences cannot be referred to as to behavioral sciences that study human behavior in groups - social institutions, market or political situations and social sciences can be called behavioral sciences.
Apart from social and humanitarian disciplines there are natural and technical ones. For instance physics, chemistry, biology refer to natural sciences revealing structure of material world. Radio electronics, biotechnics and chemistry of polymers present applied technical sciences. Grounding of fundamental knowledge they serve practical aims.
A. Comte who in the 19th ñ built a pyramid of scientific knowledge placed sociology on its top (mathematics - astronomy - physics - chemistry - biology -sociology). Not only Comte but also many other thinkers believed sociology to be one of the most important sciences, because it is higher than other sciences and it uses knowledge collected by other sciences covers society in its every point.
Sociology summarizes development of sociological knowledge studying society -one of the most difficult subjects that have ever existed.
Maybe that can serve as explanation to the question why sociology appeared so late. It waited scientific knowledge to be developed enough to use its results. Young sciences are characterized by constant renewal and enrichment on expense of sciences that were formed earlier. For instance philosophy is older then physics and the last one borrowed from the first one many fundamental notions, such as "mater", "substance", "atom", "cause", "power", etc. Chemistry and biology appeared at times when physics celebrated its 2000th anniversary. Borrowing is an index of further development of borrowed notion in the other sphere. These notions are enriched with new content and widen explanatory possibilities of science. In such a way old notions receive new life and their genealogy becomes longer. Some notions have very old genealogy and are named notions no more but categories.
Such notions-categories as "society", "personality", "values", "individual", "progress", "development" and other came into sociology from philosophy. Notion "role" was borrowed from art sphere, notion "status" - form juridical science. With time sociologists introduced their own terms, such as "socialization", "deviancy", "deviant behavior", "interaction". Maybe in future new notions will exile the old ones.
Sociology differs from other sciences not only in what it studies but also in how it studies. Apart from philosophy sociology studies society through human activity, it reveals problems, interests, value orientations, human activity, their relationships. Society from the point of view of sociology is viewed as a social integrity, as a system of social interaction, as conflict of different interests, orientations, kinds of activity.
Sociological approach to the study of society, i.e. sociological picture of society presents analysis of phenomena and processes in the system of social relationships with its relation to social integrity. Sociological approach helps not only to describe phenomena but also explain them, model them in society. Analysis of processes in their progress helps to catch tendencies of change and formulate prognoses concerning further development of social objects. Only sociological imagination can give understanding of complicated relationships of a man and society.
We have discussed sociology as a discipline that makes us to leave alone our own points of view to take a more careful look at those factors that influence formation of our life and life of other people. Sociology appeared as a separate branch of intellectual activity with the development of modern societies and study of these societies remains its main task. But sociologists also study a wide range of questions that refer to the nature of social interaction and human societies.