What is sociology? Like the other social sciences, Sociology attempts to explain the human condition, but instead of focusing on the individual like in Psychology or the structure of government of human society. Sociology tries to explain the structures, how they form, and how these said structures affect the indiviudal. Sociology is a scientific field that has no one true start date, the “Father of Sociology” Auguste Comte coined the word sociology, back in the nineteenth century when he applied his philosophies to society on a macro-scale. However, it was not until the late nineteenth century that sociology was declared a field of study in Academia. Within the field of study, there are two large and equally different approaches to sociology, there is both the macro and micro approach to each of the theories presented. The macro approach to the field of study is the application of theories to the population at large and focuses on the broad changes in society. On the other hand, instead of focusing on the big picture, the micro approach applies theories to everyday social interaction. No one approach offers a solution to society’s woes instead when both approaches are examined what is produced is a more meaningful solution. As there are two approaches to the theories within sociology, naturally theories fall into one category or the other, few examples are the theories that will be used to analyze the banning of Catcher in the Rye. The Functionalist and Conflict theories attempt to explain society as a whole, hence these two theories would be under the macro approach. Whereas Symbolic Interaction explains the role the individual creates for themselves, and how the symbols and meanings they create influence the individual’s interaction with the world, thus Symbolic-Interaction would be under the micro approach.
Auguste Comte, French philosopher. Photography. Britannica ImageQuest, Encyclopædia Britannica, 25 May 2016.
“Sociology,” Microsoft® Encarta® Online Encyclopedia 2000
“Sociology: Understanding and Changing the Social World.” University of Minnesota Libraries Publishing, University of Minnesota Libraries Publishing Edition, 2016.