A. Definition of Sociology
Epistemologically, the word sociology comes from the words socious and
logos. Socious comes from Latin and means “companion”. We live with many
companions, not only one. Then, the relationship between one and others could
also mean “social interaction”.
Meanwhile the word logos comes from Greek which means talk. Therefore
literally, sociology means talking about human social interaction. This literal
meaning later emerged as a scientific discipline which talks and studies about
human life in society.
Many expert define sociology based on their own perspectives. Some of those
1. Auguste Comte
He said that sociology is a positive science about the basic laws from social
phenomena in which it is differed to static sociology and dynamic sociology.
2. Selo Soemardjan and Soelaiman Soemardi
They said that sociology or the science of society is a branch of science which
studies the social structure and social processes, including the social changes.
3. Roucek and Warren
according to then, sociology is a scientific discipline which studies the human
interconnection in groups
4. Emile Durkheim
He said that sociology is branch of science which studies social facts. Social
facts are the ways to do, to think, and to feel that are external to an individual and have
a compelling power to control.
5. Max Weber
He said that sociology is a scientific discipline which studies social action. Social
action is action that takes the actions and responses of others into account.
B. History of Sociology
Sociology is the youngest scientific discipline among the other. All the sciences
we know these days have origins in philosophy which is the common stock of all
sciences. Philosophy at that time included all the efforts of analyzing society. Some
sciences later took separate ways as responses to the development of modernity and
human social civilization. Those sciences then developed and pursued their own
Astronomy (a branch of science which deals with celestial objects) and physics (a
branch of science which concerns with nature and properties of matter and energy)
were sciences that earlier took separate ways from philosophy. The later were followed
by chemistry, biology, and geology. In the 19th century, there emerged two other new
sciences, psychology (the scientific study of the human mind and behavior) and
sociology (the study of human society).
The study of society firstly developed and emerged as a branch of science
named sociology in Europe. There were such efforts, both scientifically and nonscientifically,
that influenced its emergence. The main factor was the increase of the
response to the society and social changes in it.
In the United State, sociology is related to the efforts of increasing the human
social conditions. Sociology is also a motivator of resolving the problems of criminality,
violation, prostitution, unemployment, poorness, conflicts and other social problems.
Many expert agree that the main factor which forms the background of the
emergence of sociology is the crisis happens in Society. The emergence of sociology is
recorded in 1842, in the time of Auguste Comte published the last edition of his book
entitled Positive Philosophy. One of the important thoughts by Auguste Comte is “Law
of Human Progress” or “Law of Three Stages”. Due to this law, history develops through
three conceived stages.
C. The Essence of Sociology
The following are some of the essence of sociology. Hopefully, it will help you
1. Sociology is a branch of social science. It is because sociology studies social
problem in society.
2. Sociology is not a normative discipline. It is a categorical discipline which means
sociology limits its study on what happens these days, not on what should happen.
3. Sociology is a pure science. Pure science means that is objected to build and to
develop the science abstractly in order to increase quality.
4. Sociology is an abstract science, not a concrete science. It means that sociology
mainly focuses on the forms and patterns of events in society.
5. Sociology is objected to result general understandings and general patterns.
6. Sociology is an empirical and rational science.
7. Sociology is a general science.
D. Sociology as a Science
Meanwhile, the feature of sociology are characterized as empirical, theoretical,
cumulative and unethical.
sociology is empirical which means that the science is based on some analysis and
logic. It is not speculative.
It means that the science tries its best to arrange the abstraction of the observation
It means that the theories of sociology are made up based on the previous theories.
It means that sociology does not concern on the good and the bad sides of certain
facts. Instead, it is objected to explain the facts analytically.
E. The Object of Analyzing Sociology
Like other social science, the object of analyzing sociology is the society seen
from the perspective of inter-human relationship and the process which emerges as a
result of human interaction in society. Therefore, basically, sociology studies society
and social action by examining the groups and social institutions people form, as well as
family, race, community, government, various social, religious, political, business and
The followings are some definitions of society by some scientists.
1. Selo Soemardjan
society is people who live together and result a culture
2. Ralph Linton
Society is a group of people who have lived and worked together for a long time.
Thus they could manage and consider themselves as a social wholeness in clear
3. Soerjono Soekanto
In his opinion, the features if society are as the following:
a. human beings who live together with two people as minimal
b. mix and interact in a relatively long time
c. has an awareness as a wholeness
d. is a system of living together
F. The Advantage of Sociology
In fact, learning sociology is very important for us as social creatures. We are the
object of analyzing sociology. It is because we interact between each other. We have
norms, life values and traditions. During our life we always interact to other people
though sometimes trigger a conflict.
The followings are some advantages of learning sociology:
1. by learning sociology, we will clearly see who we are, both as an individual and
as a member of community or society.
2. Sociology helps us to have an ability to analyze our place in society.
3. Sociology helps us in understanding the norms, traditions, convictions and values
believed by our group and other group.
4. Learning sociology is useful for us as bud of nation. It makes us more sensitive,
critical, and rational in facing the more complicated social phenomena.
G. Methods in Sociology
The scientific method if a branch of science is all the ways usable in the science
to get the wholeness of knowledge. Without the scientific method, knowledge is not a
science. Knowledge is only a collection of knowledge about various natural or social
phenomena, without any awareness of the relationship between all phenomena.
Scientists could reach the wholeness of the knowledge in three phases:
1. Collecting of the fact
The activity of collecting the facts consists of various methods such as observing,
recording, processing and describing the vacts happen in a living society.
2. Defining system and General features
Defining system and general features is a phase in scientific thought. The purpose
is to define the general features and system used to analyze the compiled facts in
a research. In this phase, the scientists have to find the same and general features
among various facts in social and cltural life of human being.
Method in verifying are done toward the natural or the social facts in society, the
norms that are formed, and the norms which are objected to strengthen the
previous definition. In verifying, the process of thinking is done deductively: from
formulating the general to the facts exist.
There are some methods in studying the object of sociology such us:
a. Qualitative Method
Qualitative method focuses on the data which is difficult to measure in number or in
exact measure, though the data really exists in society.
b. Quantitative Method
This emphasizes on the materials in the form of numbers. Therefore, the phenomena
which are studied can be measured using scale, index, table and other formulas in