Sociology is a social science that is concerned with the study of the structure and functioning of human society and its social problems. Human social behavior is factored in the study of the organization, origin, institutions and developments in human society. Sociology seeks to dig deeper into human interactions, patterns of social relationships, culture and the processes that preserve change in human activities. The practice of sociology is wide and studies connections from two people to the complex relationships in nations and multinational corporations. Sociology further describes the social processes that govern human thinking, feelings, actions and behaviors to shape the social forces they come across in their daily activities (DiMaggio et al 583). Sociology takes three perspectives: interactionist, functionalist and conflict. All these perceptions explain how social relationships and society affect and influence people both positively and negatively. The given discipline also answers questions such as why we act as we do, how we are the same as others and how we are different from others. There are several concepts that describe the sociology discipline, with culture, social forces and inequality being the most essential because they define the goals of sociology in the best way.
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Culture is the characteristics, behaviors, knowledge and way of living of an individual or a given group. Culture includes values, rules, norms, morals, institutions and belief systems that make given practices. Through culture, people are able to define themselves and conform to the shared values in society. Additionally, culture helps in the study of sociology, which is the study of society and human behavior. Culture is the basis that helps individuals to understand how to improve and better their own life and other behavioral connections associated to sociology. Culture is the best concept in describing the goals of sociology such as the examination of social categories and social systems. Some of the social systems include gender, sexuality, age, class and race, which are the core structures that govern social actions and create human diversity (DiMaggio et al 583). Through the systems that define culture, one is able to understand people and their behaviors, therefore making it easy to study sociology. Sociology seeks to study how individuals fit into given cultures that produce them and recreate over time.Theconstruction of culture is a massive social practice that gives rise to the collection of interrelated efforts, which involves all members of the society therefore this makes it an essential aspect in studying sociology. Additionally, cultural elements such as language and values are avenues that can be used to learn the social interests and practices of a given society. Language helps to enhance social interaction among individuals and hence influencing how people conceive objects and concepts. Language can also be used as a tool ofinteraction and integration, which can easily lead to exchange of ideas and values that can possibly change or alter social beliefs of a given culture. Another example of culture is artifacts and religion, which borrow heavily from the beliefs and practices of a society. Artifacts are the historical representation that pass practices from one generation to another, and are used to define the previous social norms of the given society to learn the sociological features in the present respective society. Religion is also an important aspect that portrayspractices and sets of beliefs that defines human beings. Therefore, this makes culture one of the most essential concepts in sociology.
Social forces are the consent given by a sufficient number of people relevant in society and meant to create social action or change in a given way. Social force is a great component in sociology because it is the basic driver of motives, which leads to associations and other relationship formations. There are several examples of social change in society depending on the choices that are made by a majority of members of the society. Some of the examples of social forces include changes in laws, changes in customs and a change in any style of social practices in the society. These forces influence or force people to act, behave and interact with others in a specified way. Social forces are very important in sociology because they are factors that shape the ways of living of any given society (Wilkinson 132). Additionally, social forces tend to give people guidelines on how to relate with others. The forces change the way people act and behave making it an important concept in studying human social concepts. In understanding the social concepts better, social forces act as links that depict the influences of a given human characteristics and way of doing things. Another purpose of sociology is to find how the environment and other social structures that people relate to shape human consciousness. In this context, the environment is one of the forces that form human character and behavior through a standardized set of instructions. This illustrates that when people are born, they are exposed to certain environmental ideas, values and concepts that have been structured in a given way, which demands correspondence and conformity because they are thought to be ideal. It is therefore clear that social forces describe and address the major goals of sociology such as the examination of class and citizenship status, which creates human diversity. Therefore, it is evident that without social forces the understanding of the several purposes of sociology would be hard considering the fact that social action and social change are components that define humans from others.
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Social inequality is the existence of unequal distribution of opportunities for different social statuses in a given society. Inequality is created by organizations in society based on class, gender and race, which alter the equal distribution of human rights and other essential resources. Social inequality creates inequitable individual and group relations, which is characterized by dominant and non-dominant interactions in society. From this concept, people tend to behave in a given way, which relates to their class or social status due to the influence and society forces (DiPrete 615). Sociology seeks to understand human actions and behavior, therefore, inequality helps in describing why a given group in society does things in a different way from others. Inequality creates ranks or strata in society that is based on aspects such as poverty, which dictates how people should act in themselves and to others. Poor people tend to behave with humility and respect while the rich act with pride and practice a sophisticated lifestyle. Therefore, inequality places people in a different class and status in society that best defines their social characteristics and why they act so, which best describes the goals of sociology. Inequality is also the best concept in sociology because it is the basis of understanding the origin of social elements such as class, race and status in society.
In conclusion, it is evident that sociology is a study that seeks to find out the functioning and structure of human society and its social problems. In line with human society, there are three concepts that best define sociology, and they include social forces, culture and inequality. Culture as described is the way of living of a given society or group of people, therefore, presents a good ground to study and understand individuals, which is a major goal of sociology. Social force is the consent that the majority of people create as a social action to influence in a given way. Social force can also be defined as ideal set standards that form people’s characteristics and behavior in a certain setting, and through the forces, one is able to understand sociology purposes such as social class and environmental factors that affect behavior. From the study, inequality is unequal distribution of opportunities in society. It is also clear that inequality is created by factors such as gender, race and social class, which also affects the individual and group relationships due to dominant and non-dominant interactions. From the above study, it is clear that all these factors are in many ways essential in defining and describing sociology goals.
- DiPrete, Thomas A. “What has sociology to contribute to the study of inequality trends? A Historical and Comparative Perspective.” American Behavioral Scientist, vol. 05, no.5, 2007, pp. 603-618.
- DiMaggio, Paul, Manish Nag, and David Blei. “Exploiting Affinities Between Topic Modeling And the Sociological Perspective on Culture: Application to newspaper coverage of US government arts funding.” Poetics, vol. 41, no. 6, 2013, pp. 570-606.
- Wilkinson, Iain. “The Problem of Suffering as A Driving Force Of Rationalization And Social Change.” The British Journal of Sociology, vol. 64, no. 1, 2013, pp. 123-141.