Emergence of Sociology

Emergence of Sociology

Sociology emerged about the mid of the 19th Century, when social observers began to use scientific methods to test their ideas. The following four factors led to its development:

1. The social upheaval in Europe as a result of the Industrial Revolution, which led to changes in the way people lived their lives
2. The political revolutions in America (American Revolution) and France(French Revolution), which encouraged people to rethink their ideas about monarchies, democracies, and social life
3. The success of the natural sciences, which created a desire to apply scientific methods to find answers for the questions being raised about the social world.

4. Social Need to know/understand changes, due to above 3 factors, predict changes and provide solutions to problem arise due to modernity.  Here contribution of following thinkers play most role in emergence of sociology

1. Auguste Comte coined the term “sociology” and suggested the use of positivism— applying the natural science method to the social world—but he did not utilize this approach himself. Comte believed that this new science should not only discover social principles, but should then apply those principles to social reform.

2. Herbert Spencer viewed societies as evolutionary, coined the term “the survival of the fittest,” and became known for social Darwinism. Spencer was convinced that no one should intervene in the evolution of society and that attempts at social reform were wrong.

3. Karl Marx, whose ideas about social classes and class struggle between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat was the foundation of the conflict perspective, believed that class conflict was the key to human history. Marx believed that the conflict and struggle would end only with a revolution by the working class.

4. Emile Durkheim                        

1. Primary goals was to get sociology recognised as a separate academic discipline.
2. Understand social forces that influence individual behaviour;                               

3. Studied suicide rates among different groups and concluded that social integration—the degree to which people are tied to their social group—was a key social factor in suicide.

5. Max Weber, defined religion as a central force in social change (i.e., Protestantism encourages greater economic development and was the central factor in the rise of capitalism in some countries).

1. The Protestant belief system encouraged its members to embrace change.
2. Protestants sought “signs” that they were in God’s will; financial success became a major sign. The more money they made, the more secure they were about their religious standing.
3. Weber called this behaviour the Protestant ethics; he called their desire to invest capital in order to make more money the spirit of capitalism.


Written By: Ashish Kumar

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *