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Sociology is a social science that studies the preconditions for, the emergence and interaction of different elements of society.
While other social sciences have specialized in specific sectors of social life such as economics, politics or pedagogy, sociology has aimed to be a general social science.
It can be referred to as a teaching about social systems, whether it is about social relationships and fellowships between a few, or about organizations, institutions and entire communities.
Sociology is also an education that can be taken at universities and colleges. It is possible to take both a three-year bachelor’s degree and a two-year master’s degree, which you qualify for through an obtained bachelor’s degree.
Although Western culture has been written about society for hundreds of years (some would consider Plato to be the basis of general social theories), Auguste Comte’s work in the 1830s is usually considered a starting point for modern sociology. Otherwise, the work of Herbert Spencer and Karl Marx is important for what has gradually evolved into professional traditions for general social analysis.
Much of the early sociology came to revolve around the dynamics and structure of the new metropolitan and industrial communities in Europe and America, in contrast to the social relationships of traditional, local-oriented societies.
Ferdinand Tönnies ‘ description of the differences between the Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft has thus been pattern-forming. Around 1900, Max Weber and Émile Durkheim were central names in sociology. Weber is known for his studies of bureaucracy and the terms of political governance, and for his books on the links between religion and economic change.
Durkheim is best known for his studies of the division of labor into different forms of solidarity and of the social function of religion, as well as his statistically based evidence that countries and regions with a relatively high degree of family resolution also had higher suicide rates than others.
Concepts such as social integration and anomie have since become part of the common interpretive framework of sociology.
The subject of sociology moved in the 20th century through many theoretical traditions and methodological directions. Methodically, the subject has been based partly on quantitative data and the use of statistical analyzes for the study of relationships between different conditions ( variables ) and partly on qualitative analyzes, with emphasis on interpretations of people’s motives and opinion formation (especially when using in-depth interviews), understanding social situations in more detail (using observational studies), as well as various forms of document studies.
Some sociologists have emphasized the mutual and harmonious complementarity of different groups and institutions, others have concentrated on the conflicts and contradictions in society.
Some have mostly studied small groups, and used concepts such as interaction, norms, interaction and social roles. Others have worked more with macro sizes and used concepts related to organizations, classes and institutions.
The academic peculiarities of sociology are not studies of one particular area of social life, but certain views and systematizations that have proved fruitful for systematic comparisons between society and within society, as well as for theory development and more generic understanding of phenomena.
The theoretical explanatory framework has long been in dispute. Historically, there has been conflict between different directions, among others
- evolutionary directions, with an emphasis on the developmental stages of society and organizations,
- structuralist directions, with emphasis on the specific structure of large and small “societies”,
- functionalist directions, with emphasis on the contribution of social subsystems to the overall adaptation,
- interactionist directions, with an emphasis on how communities are created from below, through interaction,
- social constructivist directions, emphasizing that experiences must be understood as shaped by social conditions.
Even today, the discipline embraces different perceptions of what is the most appropriate data, methods of analysis and theoretical starting points.
One perspective sees social structure, in the sense of relations between the positions in which the actors are in, as the most crucial for their actions and for which social patterns take shape.
In Durkheim’s spirit, another perspective is concerned with so-called collective representations, that is, how common ways of understanding and meaningful content grow and form the basis for action that in turn affects representations.
A third perspective is in principle oriented towards individual choices that are influenced by, among other things, the individual’s preferences and situation.
Sociology in Norway
Although Eilert Sundt is regarded as a pioneer in Norwegian sociology, it was only after World War II that sociology became a separate academic study at Norwegian universities. In 1949, the Department of Sociology was established at the University of Oslo, with Sverre Holm as the first professor in the subject.
At this institute, academic theory development and practical research were conducted throughout the 1950s, but it was not until the 1960s that sociological perspectives became a recurring element of public social debate. Gradually, sociological institutes were also established at the other universities in Norway.
Today there are sociologists in a number of public and private institutions, and there is sociological research and investigative work at many research institutes, universities and colleges. A significant interest in Norwegian sociology is linked to how the welfare state contributes to changes in social conditions, for example in the area of social inequality.
There is much evidence that sociology has had a greater influence in Norwegian social life in recent years than has been the case in most other European countries.
The following is a list of best sociology colleges and universities in the U.S.A. Please click the links below to find schools in your areas.
Top 10 Sociology in the United States
|1||University of California–Berkeley||Berkeley, CA|
|2||University of Wisconsin–Madison||Madison, WI|
|3||Princeton University||Princeton, NJ|
|4||University of Michigan–Ann Arbor||Ann Arbor, MI|
|5||Harvard University||Cambridge, MA|
|6||Stanford University||Stanford, CA|
|7||University of Chicago||Chicago, IL|
|8||University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill||Chapel Hill, NC|
|9||Northwestern University||Evanston, IL|
|10||University of California–Los Angeles||Los Angeles, CA|