the sociology (technical term from latin socius “companion” and the Greek λóγος, lógos “word”) describes and examines the structure, function and development connections of the society.

It is a social science, itself not on specific topic areas (as for instance those Political science or the economic science specified), but the requirement raises to investigate and describe with a set of sociological methods social living together in communities and societies in principle. In addition the sociology asks for the sense and the structures social acting (theory of action) as well as according to the associated standards. It examines on the one hand the society as a whole, on the other hand their subranges: Social systems, institutions, groups or organizations. She raises her view at the same timedensozialen Wandel, dem diese unterliegen.

Le Bal outer Moulin de la Galette (1876) of Pierre-Auguste Renoir

the scientific requirement of the sociology comes into max of weber definition of an understanding and at the same time explaining sociology (§ 1, economics and society)to the expression. Therefore sociology is “a science, which social acting wants to understand interpreting and explain thus in its expiration and its effects causally “. A high-complex task - one understands and explains only once the shown rendition of social actionson the painting Renoirs (right) - whole apart from the questions, which betrays the fact over social living together that it was painted, issued and admired .

Concrete topics, with which the sociology concerns itself, are for example social structure, Work, migration, sex, social networks, media, Sexualität, everyday life and environment. For many of these topics special sociologies were established (see below), others -- as for instance the general question about the reciprocal effects of acting and Structure -- is topic of the general sociology. Also the sociological questions here often overlap with those the social psychology, with other social sciences and philosophy.

Table of contents

history of the sociology

for a representation in more detail see history of the sociology.

As its own science there is the “sociology” only since end 19. Century. Their developing history is closely with the development of the civil society in Europe 19. Century as well as connected with the progressive industrialization. Their name-giving founder is Augusts Comte. The sociology in the today's sense becomes on max weber and Émile Durkheim however in particular back led.

Forerunners of the sociology are in the science of history, the political economy, to see in addition, in the journalism and in the Policeywissenschaften. Direct forerunners of the sociology such as Karl Marx are likewise understood today as sociological classical authors.

But had alreadyolder authors of works of a strongly sociological character written, about Xenophón, Polýbios, Ibn Khaldun, Giambattista Vico and Adolph baron Knigge.

arrangements of the sociology

sociological theories

sociology is never a science with onlya paradigm been. Thus several large beginnings can be differentiated with respect to the today's (2005) German-language sociology.

  • That rationally Choice - beginning (well-known representative of this direction: Hartmut Esser), also as methodologischer individualism designation, leads aggregate phenomena on the decisions and the corresponding Acts individual individuals back and assumes here rational elections are discoverable. Between RC-beginning, quantitative methodology and economic theory certain affinities prevail forwards.
  • Further influential the critical theory is, those in the meantime by a proximity to (French) the Poststrukturalismus is characterized.
  • As a third large and school influential in the German-speaking countries the sociological system theory as a result of Talcott Parsons leaves itself in particular (see. to it structure functionalism) and NIC-read Luhmann calls. Sociology of modern societies becomes here not asa science understood, which regards individual acting. Society is cut rather to communications and non--communications in social subsystems.
  • The process sociology was revived as society theory by Norbert Elias. It is with it not only a civilization theory, but it formsa Gegenkonzept to the system theory: It directs its perception toward social processes (“Figurationen “). It took up thereby older beginnings new, already - with other derivatives - on the social change had concentrated (Karl Marx, Ludwig Gumplovicz, Ralf Dahrendorf).
  • To call finally is a multiplicity of work, which qualitative rekonstruktiven itself roughly an interpretive and paradigm assign lets. On the basis of Phänomenologie and Pragmatismus here subjective sense qualities and the reconstruction of the developing conditions, processes stand andConsequences of social practices in the foreground.

arrangement to the level of social phenomena

a partitioning of the sociology frequently which can be found differentiates between

  • the view of societies (macro sociology)
  • view of intermediate levels, the called Mesosoziologie, (e.g. Organizations, inthat acting and social systems meet)
  • the view of individual acting and interactions (micro sociology).

micro sociology (individual, interaction, acting)


macro sociology (collective, society, system, structure)

sociological methods

around one the sociology appropriate methodology becamesince the beginnings of the discipline in the method controversy so mentioned struggled. The methodical equipment of the sociology can be arranged as follows:

general ones andspecial sociologies

finally can be also differentiated ranges of topics of the sociology according to it, whether they are to be added to the general sociology, thus general validity to stress, or whether it concerns thereby topics of a special sociology.

general sociology

that General sociology become the theoretical beginnings and also subjects important for the subject like the relationship of participant and society and/or. Person and social system, as well as the structure and the change added by societies/social systems. Topics of the general sociology are among other thingssocial acting, social interaction, social exchange, social change, social mobility, social structure , social inequality, power, rule, elite, groups, social roles, class, Sozialisation, methods of the empirical research.

special sociologies

special sociologies - informally also hyphen sociologies mentioned - are concerned with the structures and processes of social subsystems or institutional ranges of the society. To the most important special sociologies work sociology , family sociology , political sociology belongs. By the increasing differentiation also constantly further special sociologies form for the sociology like e.g. the music sociology, which is occupied with it, as musical Sozialisation takes place.

A detailed listing gives the list of special sociologies.

Applied sociology

the success of a sociological theory direction depends not only on its intellectual capability and scientific meaning, but -- science-sociologically seen -- quite also of the demand for sociological consultation by the market and/or by the policy, rarelyalso by social movements.

Here in the sociology at most within the ranges the market becomes - and choice research earned, which favours the development of the quantitative methods (statistics) and the theory beginnings leaned against the natural sciences relatively -the questions are usually reduced and to the very next future related. Here it (first in the USA, for the late 1940er years also in Germany ) came to the establishment of inquiry companies and polling institutes.

With the effects of social processeson the regional structure the city sociology is concerned (see. also social area); frequently also with methods of geography one works.

Some special sociologies (military -, medicine -, sport - and disaster sociology) are adjusted also to consultation,no more moved the industrial sociology, since starting from the 1970er years the subject in Germany from “economics and sociological ones the faculties (specialist areas) into the philosophical ones over there; the organization sociology is pursued particularly in the USA.

An advisoryFunction comes often also to the right sociology , those among other things in the apron of planned laws effect and evaluation research operate. It can provide also within ranges with “more softly” legal relations for a structuring.

Dictatorships have particularly before the mentality of the population consideringand over it information giving sociology fear; with special (then often secret) consulting need they permit occasionally sociological questions (very typical in the GDR within the range of the city - and youth sociology).

Einführende of books into the sociology

  • Endruweit, Günter, and Gisela Trommsdorff, Hgg.Dictionary of the sociology. 2. Aufl. Stuttgart: Lucius&Lucius, 2002. A well-informed and at present (2004) also the newest overview in the manual character with numerous coworker/inne/n. But also the other available sociological dictionaries remain recommendable.
  • Essbach, Wolfgang. Study sociology. Paderborn: Finch (UTB), 1996. Overview of the developing history of the sociology, its current application fields, the sociology study and important fundamental ideas.
  • Giddens, Anthony. Sociology. 2. Aufl. Graz: Nausner&Nausner, 1999. (Over. from D. English) ISBN 3-901402-22-5 standard work in the English-language area.
  • Kaesler, Dirk, Hg. Classical author of the sociology. 2 Bde. 4. Aufl. Munich: Beck, 2003. ISBN 3-406-420885-6 and ISBN 3-406-42089-3 show a recent generation of sociologists in the context from in each case 20 sides, who cum grano salis the classical authors are. 31 ofare represented to them first of all in their life and the contemporary context, secondly in their work and their most important terms and thirdly in their effect on that contemporary sociological thinking and on the present international sociology. These two volumes help, thoseTo recapitulate classical author briefly and locate into a history.
  • Kaesler, Dirk, Hg. Current theories of the sociology. Munich: Beck, 2005. ISBN 3-406-52822-8 founded overview of the current development of sociological theories.
  • Treibel, Annette. Introduction to sociological theories of the present.6. Aufl. Wiesbaden: VS publishing house (UTB), 2004.Part the rate of issue into the sociology in four volumes. In this volume the sociological theories in their structure are regenerated and introduced. At the same time the authoress connecting lines pulls, around the network of the different beginningsto make more transparent.

Web on the left of

a representative of the critical-rational social sciences is Hans's Albert:

Wikibooks: Study leader Hans Albert - learning and teaching materials

see also

Wiktionary: Sociology - word origin, synonyms and translations

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