The name sociology was first suggested in the 1830s by the French philosopher Auguste Comte, but for many years it remained only a suggestion. Comte urged others to study, sociology.
It was not until late in the 19th century that we can identify people who called themselves sociologists and whose work contributed to the development of the field. Among these were Herbert Spencer in England who published the first of his three-volume «Principles of Sociology in 1876 and Ferdinand Tonnies in Germany. A decade later, Emile Durkheim published «Suicide.»
The first sociologists studied moral statistics. Their work proved so popular that it led to the rapid expansion of census questions. However, sociology as an academic speciality was imported from Germany. The progressive uncovering of social causes of individual behaviour – in response to the questions raised by moral statistics — produced the field called sociology.
Sociology is one of the related fields known as the social sciences. They share the same subject matter: human behaviour. But sociology is the study of social relations, and its primary subject matter is the group, not the individual.
There is a close connection between sociology and other disciplines such as psychology, economy, anthropology, criminology, political science, and history. But sociologists differ from psychologists because they are not concerned exclusively with the individual, they are interested in what goes on between people. They differ from economists by being less interested in commercial exchanges; they are interested in the exchange of intangibles such as love and affection. Sociologists differ from anthropolbgists primarily because the latter specialize in the study of preliterate and primitive human groups, while sociologists are interested in modern industrial societies. 'Criminologists specialize in illegal behaviour, while sociologists are concerned with the whole range of human behaviour. Similarly, political scientists focus on political organization and activity, while sociologists survey all social organizations. Finally, sociologists share with historians an interest in the past but are equally interested in the present and the future.
Sociology is a broader discipline than the other social sciences. In a sense, the purpose of sociologists is, in general, to find the connections that unite .various social sciences into a comprehensive, integrated science of society.
Sociology consists of two major fields of knowledge: micro sociology and macro sociology. Micro sociologists study the patterns and processes of face-to-face interaction between humans. Macro sociologists attempt to explain the fundamental patterns and processes of large-scale social relations. They concentrate on larger groups, even on whole societies.
Sociologists attempt to use research to discover if certain statements about social life are correct. The basic tools of their research are tests, questionnaires, interviews, surveys, and public opinion polls.
II. Answer the following questions:
1. Who was the first to suggest the name sociology?
2. Who were the first sociologists?
3. What were they mainly interested in?
4. What country was sociology as an academic discipline imported from?
5. What is the subject matter of sociology?
6. What other disciplines is sociology closely connected with ?
7. What differs sociology from psychology and anthropology?
8. What is the goal of sociologists?
9. What fields of knowledge does sociology consist of?
10.What are the basic tools of sociological research?
III. Explain the difference concerning the subject matter between:
a) sociology and economy;
b) sociology and criminology;
c) sociology and history.
IV. Prove by the facts that:
1. Sociology is a social science.
2. Sociology is a broader discipline than the other social sciences.
3. Sociology is made up of micro sociology and macro sociology.
V. Speak on:
1. The origin of sociology.
2. Its subject matter.
3. Differences and similarities of sociology and other social sciences.
4. Major fields of sociology.
5. Basic sociological research methods.
VI. Discuss in the group the following:
1. What do you think: sociology is a field of the arts or the sciences?
2. Can there be a civilization without the social sciences? Will it be a rational and healthy society?
3. Your parents don't want you to study sociology. How would you persuade them that this is your real vocation?
4. In their conversation they concerned a great number of vital problems.
5. His main concern was sociology.
6. They talked much concerning the main points of his report.
7. She was concerned with the problem of social relations at the high level of the society's development.
I. Read and translate the text:
A great part of sociological research consists of quantitative experimenting. The system of techniques used for that purpose is that of statistical methods. These methods are necessary to examine the data, analyse them and draw certain conclusions. The results of the sociological survey are published then.
Sociological research is usually conducted by a working group under the supervision of the leading sociologists of the All-Russian Centre for the Study of Public Opinion. The public opinion poll is a criterion of the current social life within the society. It is the so-called social barometer of the country. In fact our fast-moving life makes it necessary to analyse things. So it is useful to examine the results of sociological surveys.
The public opinion poll is carried out nationwide or in some definite regions, cities, establishments. It may be verbal in the form of an interview. But more often the opinion poll is conducted by means of tests or questionnaires. The questionnaires contain some items to be chosen by the subjects. In other cases the questionnaires present a set of questions to be answered by the respondents in their individual way. The polled may express their own opinions verbally or in writing. The assessments may be optimistic, pessimistic, dramatic, positive, negative. They expose and reassess our ideals and values.
The polls are very popular nowadays throughout the country. In general, they are directed to assess current social and political situation, political figures, the most important events, economic perspectives, our losses and gains and so on. All data are given in percentages.
II. Answer the following questions:
1. What methods are the basic tools in every sociological research?
2. Who conducts sociological research?
3. What is considered to be a social barometer?
4. Where is the public opinion poll carried out?
5. In what form may it be conducted?
6. What are the questionnaires like?
7. How do the polled express their opinions?
8. What do assessments expose?
9. What is the aim of the polls?
10.How are all data given?
III. Ask your groupmate:
—why the statistical methods are used for the sociological survey;
—under whose supervision sociological research is conducted;
—why it is useful to conduct a public opinion poll;
—by what means the poll is carried out;
—who the respondents are;
—if the polls are popular in this country.
IV. Find in the text the facts to prove that:
1. Statistical methods are a useful tool in sociological research.