Origin & Development of Sociology as a Separate Science

2145 Words Apr 22nd, 2013 9 Pages
Origin & Development of Sociology as a Separate Science

Sociology is one of the oldest of the sciences. Since the dawn of civilization, society has been as a subject for speculation and inquiry along with other phenomena which have agitated the restless and inquisitive mind of man. Even centuries ago men were thinking about society and it should be organized and held views on man and his destiny, the rise and fall of the peoples and civilizations. Though they were thinking in sociological terms they were called philosophers, historians, thinkers, law-givers or seers.

Though sociology came to be established as a separate discipline in the 19th –century due to the efforts of the French Philosopher Auguste Comte. It is wrong to suppose that
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He maintained that the parts of society are not arranged unsystematically. Herbert Spencer’s another contribution is his famous “Organic Analogy” in which society is compared with the human organism.

Emile Durkheim (1858-1917)

Prof. Durkheim, the French thinker, like Spencer, considered societies as such to be important units of sociological analysis. He stressed the importance of studying different types of society comparatively. “Comparative sociology is not a particular branch of sociology, it is sociology itself” he maintained.

In Durkheim’s theory ultimate social reality is the group, not the individual social life has to be analyzed in terms of social facts. According to him, social facts are nothing but collective ways of thinking, feeling and acting which though coming from the individual “constraint” or pressure on him.

His major works are- the division of labor in society, the rules of sociological method, Suicide, The elementary forms of the republic life and so on.

Max Weber (1864-1920)

Max Weber’s approach is almost contrary to that of Durkheim. For Weber, the individual is a unit of society. He opines that the finding of sociological laws is nothing but a means to understand man. In his system sociological laws are empirically established probabilities or statistically generalizations of the course of social behavior of which an interpretation can be given in terms of typical motives and intentions.