What i Learned in Sociology
This personal reflection will summarize key learnings from a sociology course. It will cover insights into social behaviors, societal structures, cultural norms, and their impact on individual lives. The piece will discuss how sociology helps understand complex social issues and the dynamics of human interaction within society. Additionally, PapersOwl presents more free essays samples linked to Behavior.
How it works
Sociology can be thought of in different ways. The easiest way is to imagine a long row of library shelves filled to overflowing with books. In the title, or in the subtitle, or at least in the table of contents of all books, there is the word
“Sociology” (which is why the librarian put them in one row). The books bear the names of authors who call themselves sociologists, i.e. are sociologists by their official position as teachers or researchers. Imagining for oneself these books and their authors, one can imagine a certain body of knowledge accumulated over many years of research and teaching sociology. Thus, one can think of sociology as a connecting tradition – a certain set of information that every new convert to this science must absorb, digest and assimilate, regardless of whether he wants to become a practical sociologist or just wants to get acquainted with what sociology offers. … Better yet, think of sociology as an endless number of converts — new books are constantly being added to the shelves. Then sociology is a continuous activity: an inquisitive interest, a constant test of the acquired knowledge in new experience, an incessant replenishment of accumulated knowledge and its modification in this process.
Sociologists study societies, culture, figuration, and social facts using the sociological imagination, a concept used to better understand how we relate to one another throughout history and a societal structure composed by pioneer sociologist C. Wright Mills. Individual and society are inseparable, it is impossible to study one without the other. These studies have been conducted since the ancient centuries, understanding changes in societies brought on by the industrial revolution in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. John Locke, Voltaire, Immanuel Kant, and Thomas Hobbes were great thinkers who pushed for social reform. The debate between using scientific methodologies or not to study societies and individuals’ roles in society’s still being represented in sociology today. Over time sociologists have developed theories and hypotheses, it is an attempt to better explain why things work the way they do. Grand theories and paradigms are different forms of understanding, these theories and frameworks are constantly evolving me sociological theories build upon the work of their predecessors and add to them.(Calhoun 2002) Sociologist Karl Marx (1818-1883) saw society as being made up of individuals in different social classes, competing for social material and political resources, also known as the conflict theory. I believe this theory to be relevant in today’s society, it seems everyone is trying to climb up the social ladder, wanting what their neighbor has, either working hard to get there, or taking a criminal route and stealing from others to get it. German sociologist Max Weber also agreed with Marx but added economic inequalities, political power, and social structure conflict. Another issue is seen in over society today, with our president and diplomats. A huge question to ask in this class is, why study sociology?
How it works
The main knowledge I learned in sociology is that it has shaped the world for the better, giving those seen as “inferior” to others fair and equal rights. The work done by Kenneth and Mamie Clark changed the course of our country and gave equal rights to ?those being discriminated against. Thanks to those sociologists, the “separate but equal” racial segregation in schools came to an end. “There is a deceptive simplicity and obviousness about some sociological investigations. One reads them, nods at the familiar scene, remarks that one has heard all this before and don’t people have better things to do than waste their time on truisms- until one is suddenly brought up against an insight that radically questions everything one had previously assumed about this familiar scene. This is the point at which one begins to sense the excitement of sociology.”(Peter L. Berger 1963) The workings of society had been viewed as black and white, until one day someone challenged that way of living, looking at it from another perspective and it opened up a whole new door, changing the lives of so many people. Studying individuals and society on a micro and macro level helps us understand social issues and action on how to change them. Research methods are a huge part of studying sociology, they must be very careful and thorough.
The Hawthorne Effect is when people change their behavior because they know they are being studied. In some studies, they can remain unknown but most of the time there plan and presence is known. Surveys field research, experiment, and secondary data analysis are four of the most used methods of social investigation. In high school I conducted surveys with classes, ages throughout our grade, I’m sure almost everyone has participated in a survey in their life, there all around us, they have shaped our world into better understanding it and finding solutions to small scale and nationwide problems. It is one of the most used methods for scientific research, it allows anonymity to express personal ideas and collect better more accurate results. Qualitative and quantitative data are major forms of questionnaires, quantitative is simple yes or no, while qualitative is harder to organize, each person’s individual thought. Another familiar style is conducting interviews, one-on-one conversations, specific questions to be asked but the subject is free to answer however they feel. I find it interesting that some researchers will become the role they are researching. John and Helen Lynd joined several organizations, groups, and jobs in different societies. Witnessing people’s natural behavior that is a raw way to get the sociological perspective. “Recording interviews and using surveys to gather data, the Lynd family did not sugarcoat or idealize U.S. life. They objectively stated what they observed.” I believe this is key to getting a better understanding of how societies work, stating things exactly the way they are.
In doing all this research all sociologists must follow a code of ethics, a formal guideline for conducting research, and procedures for filing. Investigating, and resolving complaints of unethical conduct. “Knowledge is a powerful tool that can be used toward positive change.” The American Sociological Association strictly follows these rules of conduct, founded in 1905 and located in Washington D.C. They have a team of 14,000 researchers with a mission “to articulate policy and implement programs likely to have the broadest possible impact for sociology.” From what I’ve learned in these first few chapters is there are a lot of questions to be asked in studying sociology. What is it? What is the history? Why the study is? After those questions comes the research, planning, approaches, ethical concerns, and code of conduct to apply to these studies. It is really amazing we have answers to nationwide issues thanks to research that began with one individual asking another what is going on in their head and reasons behind their actions, then continuing to apply that until we have macro-level analysis of large groups and societies.