Introduction to 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. 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.
The term 'Sociology' was coined by Auguste Comte, a French philosopher in 1839. It is the youngest of all social sciences. Sociology is the outcome of man's search for a more valid, and precise knowledge about the nature of man and the society.
The traditional focuses of sociology include social stratification, social class, social mobility, religion, secularization, law, sexuality and deviance. As all spheres of human activity are affected by the interplay between social structure and individual agency, sociology has gradually expanded its focus to other subjects, such as health, medical, economy, military and penal institutions, the Internet, education, social capital and the role of social activity in the development of scientific knowledge.
Scope of Sociology
The word 'Sociology' is derived from the Latin word 'Societus' meaning 'society and the Greek word 'logos' meaning 'study or science'. Thus, the etymological meaning of 'Sociology' is the 'science of society'. In other words, we can say Sociology is the study of man's behaviour in groups or of interaction among human beings of social relationships and the processes by which human group activity takes place.
Every science has its own field of inquiry. It becomes difficult to study a science systematically unless its boundary or scope is determined precisely. Sociology as a social science has its own scope or boundaries. But there is no one opinion about the scope of Sociology. However, there are two main schools of thought regarding the scope of Sociology: (1) The Specialist or Formalistic school and (2) the Synthetic school. There is a good deal of controversy about the scope of Sociology between the two schools. The supporter of first school believe that Sociology is a specific science and the scope should be limited whereas others believe that it is a general science and its scope is very vast
The supporters of this school of thought are George Simmel, Vierkandt, Max Weber, Vonwise, and F. Tonnies. The main views of the school regarding the scope of Sociology are -
(i) Sociology is a specific, pure and independent social science.
(ii) Sociology studies the various forms of social relationships.
(iii) Scope of Sociology is very narrow and limited.
(iv) Sociology deals with specific form of human relationship.
(v) Sociology need not study all the events connected with social science.
(vi) Simmel believes that it is a specific social science and it should deal with social relationships from different angles.
(i) Sociologist alone does not study the forms of social relationships. Other social scientists also do that.
(ii) The distinction between the forms of social relations and their contents is not practicable.
(iii) Thirdly, the formalistic school has narrowed down the scope of Sociology.
(iv) Finally, the conception of pure Sociology is imaginary.
The supporters of synthetic school are the sociologists like Ginsberg, Durkheim, Comte, Sorokin, Spencer, F. Ward, and L.T. Hobhouse.
According to this school-
(i) Sociology is a general and systematic social science.
(ii) Scope of Sociology is very vast.
(iii) Sociology needs help from other social sciences.
(iv) It is a synthesis of social science.
(v) Sociology is closely related with other social sciences.
Skills needed to be successful in Sociology
Skills gained as a sociology graduate include:
- appreciating the complexity and diversity of social situations
- applying sociological theory to society's organisations, including schools, hospitals and offices
- researching, judging and evaluating complex information
- making reasoned arguments
- knowledge and understanding of research methods, analysis and statistical techniques
- developing opinions and new ideas on societal issues
- working collaboratively
- the ability to understand, scrutinise and re-assess common perceptions of the social world
- relating sociological knowledge to social, public and civic policy
- organising work and meeting deadlines.
Career Opportunities and Job Options in Sociology
- Advice worker
- Community development worker
- Family support worker
- Further education teacher
- International aid/development worker
- Social researcher
- Social worker
- Youth worker
- Actuarial analyst
- Charity fundraiser
- Housing manager/officer
- Human resources officer
- Life coach
- Probation officer
- Public relations officer
- UX analyst
Admission Requirements for the study of Sociology in Nigeria
The O'level subject combination and requirements needed to study Sociology;
You require; Five SSCE credit passes to include English Language, Mathematics, History/Government/Economics one Science subject and ant Arts or Social Science subject.
In UTME, please note that English Language is Compulsory for this course. Therefore, the three (3) other JAMB UTME subject combination needed to study Sociology under the Faculty of Arts & Humanities in the above Universities include;
Government/History plus two other Social Science/Arts subject.