• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Social Science/Sociology and it's academic nature.

Extracts from this document...


Introduction to Sociology Social Science/Sociology and it's academic nature Social Science is an umbrella term for the Science of society from individuals to groups. Sociology is one of the Social Sciences; it is related to and uses methods similar to other Social Sciences, which include Psychology, Anthropology, Politics, and Economics. Sociology studies society as a whole, and the parts within it, which consist of various groups and individuals, and the structures or pillars of modern society. Sociology tries to explain why people behave the way they do and it looks for patterns of behaviour in groups. Sociologists look at social characteristics in key groups and the differences between them. Sociology also looks at the institutions (i.e. education, work, family, welfare, law, religion, politics and media) and their structures and how they contribute to the functioning of society, how they interact with each other, and also how that interacts with the individuals and groups that form that society. One group of sociologists called 'action theorists' say that people have free will and can choose how they behave while another group, 'structuralists', say that people's behaviour is mainly shaped by the forces and pressures of other people around us. As an academic discipline sociology uses a methodological approach to reach its conclusions; it is possible to identify two broad traditions within sociology. ...read more.


According to Plomin (1994) it is in the latter that this debate 'properly' takes place. The two viewpoints are represented by the nativists who see the knowledge of the world as largely innate, whilst empiricists stress the role of learning and experience. The extremes of these viewpoints are reflected in early psychological theories, such Gesell's Maturation and Watson's Behaviourism. Research has been carried out on identical twins separated at birth, with the aim of discovering the role of genetics and environment in intelligence development. Correlations have been found in intelligence between the twins that can only be explained in genetic inheritance terms. Equally differences have been found that can only be explained in environmental terms. In practice it would seem impossible to divide the world into matters of natural or nurture, the interactions are so complete that we need to think in ways that are not tied to their purified categories. It can seem that there are no definite answers to the questions raised by the nature-nurture debate, however, it is important to accept that human growth and development is a very complex area. One can only hope that as the two camps of researchers develop and refine their understanding of growth and development processes, they eventually work together and do as Plomin (2000) ...read more.


Like Marxists they tend to see society as characterised by exploitation, unlike Marxist, they see the exploitation of women by men as the most important source of exploitation rather than that of the working class by the ruling class. However, if there was so much conflict within society as stated by the conflict views, surely wouldn't society be changed by revolution. Or have the ruling classes using manipulation through the superstructure of society, clouded the minds and thinking of society's members so much so, that they are content to be pacified with token women boardroom directors and token black trade union leaders. So instead of a revolution we have an evolution of society with relatively slow and almost patronising changes. There are other conflict theories most of them are either from the schools of Marxism or Feminism, and of course there is the influential theory of Max Weber (cannot expound because of word limits) . Although the views of functionalist and conflict theories seems so very different they actually have a number of characteristics in common. Firstly they offer a general explanation of society as a whole, and as a result of this are sometimes known as macro-theories. Secondly, they regard society as a system, and therefore referred to sometimes as system theories. Thirdly, they tend to see human behaviour as shaped by the system, rather than humans shaping the society in which they live. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Sociology section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Sociology essays

  1. The Fundamental Differences Between Functionalism, Marxism and Social Action Theory.

    They lay the blame on the Bourgeoise society wanting to keep the people down. They do not take into account the fact that we have freewill and are able to make life-changing decisions. Marx believed that capitalisation ran hand in hand with the class structures that are already present in society i.e.

  2. What is meant by the term Positivism and what implications does it have for ...

    a science a science, a definition according to Giddens would be "Use of systematic methods of empirical investigation, the analysis of data, theoretical thinking and the logical assessment of arguments." This is the term that a Positivist would be acquainted with so as to assume this method.

  1. What is sociology? Identify three ways that sociology can be applied to health? ...

    sub-disciplinary areas such as survey research, evaluation research, methodological assessment, and public sociology. Sociological methods, theories, and concepts compel the sociologist to explore levels of reality that go beyond the commonly accepted rules governing human behavior. This specific approach to reality is known as the sociological perspective.

  2. A-Level Sociology Theory + Methods Revision.

    schools provide "baby-sitting" service so more people are available for employment. Criticisms Of Functionalism * There views emphasise the significance of the social structures of behaviour. They don't take account of the person's motives in action. * It is hard to know what all the functions of a social institution are + which are most essential.

  1. The cannabis debate

    Act Utilitarianism says assess each action for the good it does before you take any decisions. Therefore cannabis is ethical because of its medical benefits and is therefore good. It is unethical because it could lead to use of harder drugs and psychosis and is therefore bad.

  2. What is Positivism?

    The problem with Durkheim's study is that because he follows the positivist methodology, only the statistics have been examined and there is much more to humans than our behaviour. He never inquired as to why they committed suicide (in positivism, as it's a study of cause and effect, it is advised not to ask why (an absolute question)

  1. What do sociologists mean by culture? What functions does it perform in society? How, ...

    (Taylor, 1997). Socialisation teaches social skills, accepted norms, values and social roles which allow the individual to function, communicate and cooperate successfully in society (Giddens, 1997). Taylor, (1997) says the function of norms in society is to act as a set of guidelines showing us how to conform to the rules of the society.

  2. Is female to male as nature is to culture?

    Schneider (1972, cited in MacCormack & Strathern 1980) similarly stresses that nature is an entirely cultural concept, and that folk models of nature, culture and gender vary within as well as between societies. Structuralists may try to reduce observed phenomena into symbols but 'symbols such as nature or female have meanings attached to them which are culturally relative'.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work