Sociology is a relatively new science that evolved in the early 19th century, also known as social science. It attempts to understand social action and to explain its course and effect. It is the formal study of the social lives of individuals, groups and institutions and their relations that make up human society. Sociology is principally concerned with the social rules and processes that bind and separate people.
The Social Sciences, including anthropology, sociology, and economics, study the collective and individual behaviour of people in society and related activities. Man is a very complex being, and therefore his behaviour cannot be predicted with the help of physics, chemistry or mathematical sciences. As a consequence, the social sciences tend to be less exact than the physical sciences.
For obtaining exact results, one should be able to study a subject repeatedly and preferably in a laboratory. Repetition is necessary to check the predictions, and a laboratory situation is necessary to control the factors which influence the subject under study. Neither of these conditions is easily met in the sociological sciences and therefore these sciences have many limitations.
Social structure relates to the entities of groups that often form a hierarchy of influences that govern our behavior. Among these at the top of the hierarchy are our worldview, religious beliefs, and our philosophy.
- Main Article: Worldviews
Worldview may be defined as an outlook on life, or how we see things. There are two basic worldviews, each with its own underlying assumptions. One system of thought has evolution as its basis, the other, creation. These worldviews are becoming more and more polarized on account of the increased emphasis on teaching evolution in school with the exclusion of any opposing viewpoint. Also contributing is the generally one-sided approach taken by the popular media, which marginalizes other viewpoints.
- Main Article: Religions
Religion comprises a number of different sets of beliefs, values, and practices relating to ethics, metaphysics, and the divine. Religion relates only to those sets of beliefs involving belief in a God or gods and a spiritual realm, and is usually based on sacred texts and thus does not include belief systems like atheism or agnosticism.
- Main Article: Philosophies
Philosophy is a systematic inquiry of the fundamental questions concerning the nature of reality (metaphysics), the justification of belief (epistemology), and the conduct of life (ethics), among other things. It principally focuses on causes and nature of things and of the principles governing existence, the material universe, perception of physical phenomena, and human behavior. As such philosophy leads to, or is also defined as, a belief (or system of beliefs), which is accepted as authoritative by some group or school.
- Main Article: Race
Humanity comes in a number of varieties, distinguished by features such as skin colour, facial appearance, shape of skull, type of hair and stature. Races have generally been defined by some easily distinguishing external feature. There have been various different accounts of racial origins. Some have led to racist attitudes, by which people attempt to characterise other races than their own as inferior.
- Main Article: Gender
A person's identity as male or female is fundamental to many aspects of that person's behavior and relationships with others. Throughout recorded history, relations between men and women in any given society have suffered varying degrees of tension. This tension is significantly more pronounced in industrialized societies than in agricultural ones, and at times is explosive.
Ancient Society and Culture