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Sociology is not, cannot be, and should not be a science

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Introduction

'Sociology is not, cannot be, and should not be a science.' The oxford dictionary's definition of a science is 'The systematic study of the structure and behaviour of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment'. Positivists and interpretivists have very different views on this. Positivists believe that sociology is a science and interpretivists believe that sociology is not a science. One of the reasons as to why positivists believe sociology is a science is because they use quantitative data so they come out with specific outcomes with an objective view, unlike the interpretivists which use qualitative data which can then be interpreted in a subjective way. ...read more.

Middle

Durkheim believed that the levels of integration and regulation affect the chances if an individual committing suicide. This is because the more a person is integrated into society the more society has an influence over them and then the norms and beliefs that suicide is 'wrong' is imprinted onto them. By conducting this experiment the way he did, sociology can be seen as a science. As it is a study of behaviour of the natural world through observation and experiment. Which fits with the description of science from the oxford dictionary. But on the other hand interpretivists believe that science deals with chemicals and atoms and that science does a totally different thing to what sociologists do. ...read more.

Conclusion

There are many other ways of looking at sociology as a science such as realism and postmodernism. Realism believes that it is possible that sociology is a science. Sociologists such as Popper believe that science can and cannot be a science. Popper rejected many sociological theories a being unscientific because their hypotheses could be falsified. This means that they could be proved wrong. But Popper then discovered that is was possible for 'social sciences' in general and sociology in particular to become scientific by following a set of methodological procedures. In conclusion sociology can be a science when using positivist methods but when using interpretivists methods there is no way that it can be scientific. So all in all sociology cannot be a science until sociologists agree on using either method. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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