Bratislava, Slovakia

Sociology

Sociológia

Master's
Language: SlovakStudies in Slovak
University website: www.vssvalzbety.sk
Sociology
Sociology is the scientific study of society, including patterns of social relationships, social interaction, and culture. It is a social science that uses various methods of empirical investigation and critical analysis to develop a body of knowledge about social order, acceptance, and change or social evolution. Many sociologists aim to conduct research that may be applied directly to social policy and welfare, while others focus primarily on refining the theoretical understanding of social processes. Subject matter ranges from the micro-sociology level of individual agency and interaction to the macro level of systems and the social structure.
Sociology
Good sociology is sociological work that produces meaningful descriptions of organizations and events, valid explanations of how they come about and persist, and realistic proposals for their improvement or removal.
Howard S. Becker (1972) "'Radical politics and sociological research"
Sociology
The social scientist is in a difficult, if not impossible position. On the one hand there is the temptation to see all of society as one's autobiography writ large, surely not the path to general truth. On the other, there is the attempt to be general and objective by pretending that one knows nothing about the experience of being human, forcing the investigator to pretend that people usually know and tell the truth about important issues, when we all know from our lives how impossible that is. How, then, can there be a "social science"? The answer, surely, is to be less ambitious and stop trying to make sociology into a natural science although it is, indeed, the study of natural objects. There are some things in the world that we will never know and many that we will never know exactly. Each domain of phenomena has its characteristic grain of knowability. Biology is not physics, because organisms are such complex physical objects, and sociology is not biology because human societies are made by self-conscious organisms. By pretending to a kind of knowledge that it cannot achieve, social science can only engender the scorn of natural scientists and the cynicism of the humanists.
Richard Lewontin Sex, Lies, and Social Science (1995)
Sociology
Success in the sociologists' aim might lead, in T. S. Eliot's phrase, to "systems so perfect that no one would need to be good." This view forgets that men long ago committed themselves to the endeavor to control their own collective behavior, not only in the ways sanctioned by the churches but in others, by making it to men's interest to do good. And they have increasingly based the endeavor on an understanding of natural laws of human behavior, those of economics, for example. So that the question is not: Shall this kind of control be undertaken? but: Where shall it stop? A sociologist might also argue that his religious critics have more faith in him than in their own doctrine, the doctrine that man is infinitely tough and resourceful and is not easily cheated of his freedom to sin. What God has given no man can take away, certainly no sociologist. More seriously, he might argue that the social sciences are not in train to eliminate morality but to make greater demands of it. A sociology that shows us unsuspected or not hitherto understood ways in which men are bound up with one another invites more refined answers to the question: "Am I my brother's keeper?"
George C. Homans (1956), "Giving a dog a bad name." in: The Listener, Vol. 56. p. 233; Reprinted in: George C. Homans (1962), Sentiments & activities; essays in social science, p. 117-8
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