Department of Psychology and Sociology - College of Liberal Arts - Texas A&M University Corpus Christi

Sociology

Sociology, often described as a "people science," is the scientific study of individuals, groups, societies, and social behavior.  As a discipline, sociology examines numerous aspects of social life.  Unlike other social sciences, sociology is unique in its own approach and attentiveness to not only the individual dimension of human behavior, but also the extent to which the social world may differently influence behaviors and life outcomes.

Many sociologists study culture - the numerous aspects of human civilization that give each social world its distinctiveness.  Cultural Sociologists often study norms, subcultures, and cultural change, as well as everyday aspects of our world such as food, music, and media.

Other sociologists study institutions and organizations.  Sociological perspectives view institutions not as already-existing entities devoid of people, but instead as structures that are constructed, maintained, and potentially transformed by human beings both working inside and outside the parameters of various institutions.

Perhaps the most central component of many contemporary sociologists' work and interests is the study of inequalities.  Sociologists examine the numerous, conflicting, and multiple aspects of stratification in the world.  The "Big Three" inequalities are those of race and ethnicity, social class, and gender.  Recently, sociologists have become increasingly attentive to other dimensions of inequality, including sexuality, nation, and age, to name a few.

Finally, a growing segment of sociologists today participate in "public sociology" - an approach , as described by Buraway, that "trancends the academy" to "promote and inform public debate" about contemporary issues in the world.  Sociologists in this vein tend to venture outside the ivory tower and use sociological knowledge and perpsectives to enact genuine change in the real world.

At its core, sociology as a discipline aims to deconstruct the taken-for-granted assumptions about the workings of the world.  Sociology provides the tools to develop a sociologcial imagination to allow one to approach the world without the preconceptions in order to see things in a new way.