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Sociological Thinking Paper

Words: 1286, Paragraphs: 10, Pages: 5

Paper type: Essay

This sample essay on Sociological Thinking offers an extensive list of facts and arguments related to it. The essay’s introduction, body paragraphs, and the conclusion are provided below.

“Sociology is the scientific study of human life, social groups, whole societies and the human world as such… it’s subject matter is our own behaviour as social beings. The scope of sociology is extremely wide, ranging from the analysis of… encounters between individuals… to the investigation of international relations. Sociology demonstrates the need to take a much broader view of our own lives in order to explain why we act as we do. ” (A. Giddens, 2009). Sociology emerged at the end of the 19th century through the work of sociologists such as Max Weber, Emile Durkheim, Georg Simmel, Robert E. Park and Albion Small. (R. E.

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L. Faris, W. Form, 1994-2008). According to Jonathan H. Turner 1982, Max Weber defines sociology, as a “science, which aims at the interpretative understanding of social behaviour in order to gain an explanation of its causes, its course and its effects”. On the other hand, common sense refers to routine knowledge we have of our everyday world and activities. People interact with each other, they acquire knowledge of behaviours needed to interact with others, they acquire this knowledge by observing others within our society, and it could be argued that people do what they do because they have observed such behaviours from others.

What Is Common Sense In Sociology

Different sociological approaches adopt different attitudes to common sense knowledge. According to G. Marshall 1998, the idea of common sense originated from Alfred Schutz’s phenomenological sociology. Schutz’s suggests that common sense refers to “organized ‘typified’ stocks of taken-for-granted knowledge, upon which our activities are based, and which, in the ‘natural attitude’, we do not question. ” (G. Marshall, 1998). The following essay will assess how sociological thinking differs from common sense.

This essay will examine the views of sociologists on sociological theory and common sense, and why sociologists may challenge the idea of common sense. Sociologists often challenge the idea of “common-sense”. Our everyday lives are led by incoherent, indescribable knowledge otherwise known as “common-sense”. Sociologists regard common sense as a problem even though other sciences may not even acknowledge that it exists. The main reason for such interest in the matter of common sense is because all sociological findings are based on experiences of normal people in their everyday lives. Jaqueline, 2007). Sociologists challenge the assumptions of common sense by using cross- cultural and historical research to see whether these assumptions have always been the way they are and whether the assumptions of common sense and belies are the same in ever country. What sociologists usually discover from their research is that different societies hold different ideas of what is ‘natural’, for example, “the belief that everybody grows up, falls in love, then marry – it is a norm in some countries, for marriages to be arranged, thus or couples to fall in love after this process.

Sociologists also find that things regarded as ‘natural’ these days were not regarded as so in the past. ”(Jaqueline, 2007). Emile Durkheim, a French sociologist, best known for being one of the founders of the academic discipline of sociology, along with Karl Marx and Max Weber, is commonly cited as the principal architect of modern social science. (K. Sung Ho, 2007). Argued that society conflicts with common sense, he said that “society is real: we tend to think that … The individual is real and that society is no more than what individuals do together. ” (A, Roberts. 1997).

Durkheim believed that society differs from common sense. He claimed that society puts individuals together and shapes us. We learn from the others, not from our common sense. For example, Durkheim compared society to a dance. He argued that a dance has a set form that needs to be followed which shapes the dancers. “Only because the dance exists are any of us able to modify the dance or create new dances. We tend to think of ourselves as constructing the dance. Durkheim thinks of us as born into the dance and constructed by it. It is only because the dance exists that we can modify it. (A, Roberts. 1997). Zygmunt Bauman is a sociologist from Poland, best known for his analyses of the links between modernity and the Holocaust, and of postmodern consumerism. Bauman, very much like Durkheim, claims that sociology is different from common sense. Bauman suggested two main reasons why sociological thinking differs from common sense. To start with, Bauman argued that “sociology (unlike common sense) makes an effort to subordinate itself to the rigorous rules of ‘responsible speech’, which is assumed to be an attribute of science. This means that sociologists use scientific methods and facts to distinguish what is true or false – in a clear fashion which is visible and understandable to anybody. However, common sense is not scientific; common sense is a mere proposition which can only claim to be provisional and an untested guess. (Z. Bauman, 1990, pp. 11–15). The second reason why sociological thinking differs from common sense is the ‘size of the field’ from which the material for judgement is drawn. “For most of us, as non? rofessionals, such a field is confined to our own life/world: things we do, people we meet, purposes we set for our own pursuits and guess other people set for theirs … and yet, given the tremendous variety of life? conditions, each experience based solely on an individual life? world is necessarily partial and most likely one? sided. … It is for this reason that the sociologists’ pursuit of a perspective wider than the one offered by an individual life/world makes a great difference – not just a quantitative difference (more data, more facts, statistics instead of single cases), but a difference in the quality and the uses of knowledge. (Z. Bauman,1990, pp. 11–15). To conclude this argument, sociological thinking differs from common sense – this is supported by the sociologists who have been mentioned in the previous paragraphs. Sociologists help us to understand ourselves from a more scientific and a social side. Sociology helps us to understand how our experience affects others around us. Thinking sociologically allows us to see things more clearly and with an open mind.

Sociology is important in many ways; it critically examines problems and controversies and deals with central issues in lives. Sociology, unlike common sense, is not irrational and is based on scientific fact/research, not assumptions or opinions. Both Durkheim and Bauman would argue that, Common sense is based on people’s limited experiences which often lead to a distorted view of reality. For example, people may perceive that theft is on the rise based on their own experiences. Common sense also lacks validity and reliability as it is not a scientific approach.

Therefore, Sociology helps to bring issues into a sharper focus, which enables us to have a much clearer understanding of the world around us and the society that we live in. References: G. MARSHALL. (1998). Common sense knowledge. A Dictionary of Sociology.. Retrieved October 30, 2010 from Encyclopedia. com: http://www. encyclopedia. com/doc/1O88-commonsenseknowledge. html Jaqueline. (2007). Sociology. Available: http://www. tenterprise. co. uk/blogsandarticles/articles. aspx? id=79. Last accessed 30/10/2010. J. H. Turner. (1982). The structure of sociological theory.

California: Dorsey Press. p. 488. K. Sung Ho. (2007). “Max Weber”. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (August 24, 2007 entry) http://plato. stanford. edu/entries/weber/ (Retrieved 17-02-2010)). R, Andrew. (1997). Social Science History for Budding Theorists. Middlesex University: London. Available at http://studymore. org. uk/ssh. html. R. E. L. Faris, W. Form. (1994-2008). sociology. Available: http://www. britannica. com/EBchecked/topic/551887/sociology. Last accessed 29/10/2010 Z. Bauman. ( 1990). Thinking Sociologically, Oxford: Blackwell, pp. 11–15.

Sociological Thinking

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This sample essay is completed by Harper, a Social Sciences student. She studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. All the content of this paper is just her opinion on Sociological Thinking and should not be seen as the way of presenting the arguments.

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