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When and why was sociology invented?

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When and why was sociology invented? Before answering this question, I believe that it is important to first fully understand what is meant by sociology. The term was first used by the Frenchman Comte and was defined by Comte as "reasoning about the social", however this is not too precise and so sociology can be defined as "the study of human social life, groups and societies" (Giddens). Thus, sociology is a science which aims to discover and explain the varying trends that create and effect our current social relations and suggest possible futures. A catalyst is usually required to inspire the 'better' sociology (that is the sociology that was created first and has stood the test of time) and this usually comes in the form of a large and important event, such as a coup. Sociology has also been hugely influential since its inception and has helped to form the society we live in today, for example if it wasn't for the writing of Marx; communism might never have been created and the world would be a very different place. ...read more.


This was a huge blow to society as it was known with people asserting their rights by bringing feudalism to an end and creating a more equal and just society in the form of democracy. This event influenced many and led to people being more inward looking and introspective, trying to rationalise what had happened and come up with explanations, and ideas of where to go from here. In 1806, Hegel, although writing in a philosophical style, first began to theorise about social problems and observed that historical change takes a social form and occurs in distinct stages, reflecting the society at the time. He also observed a straight line of progression from slavery to this new democracy. During this "great transformation" (Polanyi) of central Europe, another mass change that effected everyone occurred, the industrial revolution. This huge change brought about by technological development affected every person, especially in Britain as it became the workshop of the world. This led to fields being turned into sprawling great factories and masses of workers living in close confinement around a factory. ...read more.


This all led to the emergence of a new class system with a larger amount of classes, such as the new working class and the urban middle class. Again, this led to a greater feeling of freedom and a want of understanding and explanation of this new society and individuals wanted to understand why they are in the position they are in - why do some live in luxury, and others live in squalor and how can this be made better (notably a part of Marx and Engel's concern) . People became more politically concerned as they sought to make there own lives better, especially the new middle class who were newly enfranchised following the Reform Act of 1832. All of the important changes that occurred in Europe over this time can be summed up into one phrase - modernity. This phrase is used to explain the new society that had developed following these events of the eighteenth and early nineteenth century that left Europe unrecognisable from how it was even 50 years previously. Therefore, it can be summarised that sociology was created in order to explain and understand the change from the belief of divinity, non-questioning, small rural communities and stability to the new modern society. ...read more.

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