What is Sociology?

The Study of Group Life

At the center of the human experience is group life. We rely on the presence of other people to make our lives meaningful. As a discipline in the social sciences, sociology focuses on exploring and understanding human social relationships. Sociologists use the scientific method and other accepted processes to identify, describe, and explain patterns pertaining to these relationships. A knowledge of sociology, then, can help us to better understand our own minds, emotions, and actions, as well as those of other people. We can draw on these insights as we engage with other people at home, in the community, and at work, increasing our chances of achieving both individual and societal success.

As part of their effort to understand human social relationships, sociologists examine the interplay between society and the individual. The society in which we live can shape the day-to-day realities of each of our lives. Moreover, each of us, through our interactions with other people, can have an impact on the form our society takes. For example, you might ask yourself, "Why did I go to work today?" Sociology offers multiple answers to this question, one of which is that the rules of society dictate that money is essential if you are to have the things you need to survive. Similarly, you might ask yourself, "Why does it matter that I went to work today?" Here again, sociology offers numerous possible responses, including that your contribution, along with that of your coworkers, is vital to the functioning of the organization and perhaps even society.

Studying sociology can help you to have a clearer understanding of the importance of each human life and the role it plays in the larger society.

The specific topics of interest to sociologists are numerous and diverse. They include the following:

  • theory on how society works,
  • culture,
  • socialization,
  • technology,
  • life in organizations,
  • deviance and social control,
  • social class,
  • race and ethnicity,
  • gender,
  • aging and the elderly,
  • work and the economy,
  • politics and government,
  • the family,
  • education,
  • religion,
  • health and medicine,
  • urban and rural life,
  • the environment, and
  • social change.


*The TSU Sociology Program ranked #9 on Nonprofit Colleges Online's Best Online Bachelor's in Sociology list!*

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