What is Sociology?

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Sociology is described by Layder (2006, p.1) as being “How the encounters of everyday life and individual behaviour influence, and are influenced by, the wider social environment in which we live”
Bauman & May (2001. p.1) describe a visual image of the output of sociology, as being a “collection of books in a library”. The discussion within this collection broadly follows main concepts and perspectives, with many authors, but also of key peer tested Authors.
I will initially outline the main concepts and main perspectives from a selection of these authors, and aim to conclude, that is is the “sociological thinking” gained from “unpacking” this knowledge, that can be applied to Social Work today. “Social theory,
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The comparison being to a machine working in harmony to maintain a state of balance. Conflict perspective
The conflict perspective (Karl Marx. and latterly Wright-mills) views society as composed of different groups and interests, competing for power and resources. For example, feminist theory argues that we live in a patriarchal society that feminism “demands that existing economic, political, and social structures be changed” (Weir and Faulkner 2004, p.xii).

Symbolic Interactionist Perspective
Reflecting the micro-sociological perspective, Symbolic interactionism emphasizes that “human behaviour is influenced by definitions and meanings that are created and maintained through symbolic interaction with others”. Goffman (1959 p.26) states“”I assume that when an individual appears before others he will have motives for trying to control the impression they receive of the situation”

Augustus Comte is regarded as the founder of this, however it is described as “a simple adherence to the traditions of all great scientific minds” Mill (2005 chptr 1) and a “doctrine that science (including the social sciences) can deal only with observable things and that phenomena, in any form, have to be studied in a scientific manner. It does not take account of the individual's interpretation
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