Talk:Sociology

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Good article Sociology has been listed as one of the Social sciences and society good articles under the good article criteria. If you can improve it further, please do so. If it no longer meets these criteria, you can reassess it.
Article milestones
Date Process Result
October 17, 2009 Peer review Reviewed
October 18, 2009 Featured article candidate Not promoted
December 29, 2009 Good article nominee Listed
Current status: Good article


Child Poverty[edit]

Have tried to clean up the Child Poverty article. Most of the information came straight out of UNICEF. If anyone can add anything further that would be great. AIRcorn (talk) 22:31, 19 February 2010 (UTC)

Oops, thought this was the Sociologiy Wikiproject Talk Page. Will move the comment to there. AIRcorn (talk) 23:03, 21 February 2010 (UTC)

Epistemology and ontology section[edit]

I think the Epistemology and Ontology does a poorer job of capturing that subject than the "Positivism and Antipositivism" section. Since the Positivism & Antipositivism section is quite well-written and thorough, the elaboration in the E&O section is unnecessary. Though this conflict is quite important historically, having two sections about epistemological debates on the main sociology article misrepresents its present-day significance. Both "positivism" & (especially) "antipositivism" are historical terms and are not a good fit for present-day research. My guess is that very few researchers would identify as either one or the other. "Analytic" VS "interpretive" (and especially "quantitative" and "qualitative") would be more current terms for epistemological/methodological splits in the discipline, but they are better as references to research rather than researchers. The current trend in the discipline is towards mixed-methods research, which usually takes the form of a mixture of interpretive and statistical methods. There are certainly debates that are drawn across lines that resemble these, but they are not the positivist-antipositivist debate per se: they are more like debates over whether public sociology is a good idea, whether qualitative methods can have the reliability of quantitative work, or what sociology's stance towards evolutionary biology should be, etc, etc. These debates echo the positivist vs antipositivist one, but they are nowhere as fundamental or as polarizing, and many sociologists pay little heed to them.

My point in bringing this up is this: the Positivism & Antipositivism section is quite good, but what it needs is a short conclusion--not a whole second section detailing the many specific stances further academics have taken on the issue. The vast majority of sociological writing is about the *content* of sociology and is not particularly concerned with epistemology--and there is no reason for the main sociology article to devote so much space to it. I would like to delete the E&O section and slightly expand the P&A section by talking about how today the debate is a creative tension that is present but plays a background role. (The conclusion could also talk about how the different national traditions of sociology have diverged on this.)

P.S., I also wanted to point out that we should be much more careful about referring to present-day research as either positivist or antipositivist. Very few currently writing academics belong clearly in one camp or another, and even fewer actually identify with those terms. If it is necessary to make these distinctions about contemporary research, we should strive to be more precise: one of qualitative/interpretive/humanistic or quantitative/analytic/scientific will usually be more appropriate than positivist/antipositivist (n.b., the words in each triplet are not synonymous).

P.P.S., thanks for reading all of this if you have--I apologize for my wordiness. DarwinPeacock (talk) 05:51, 2 May 2010 (UTC)

So are you planning on rewriting the sections? --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| talk 16:57, 2 May 2010 (UTC)

Yes, I am planning on doing this. Just didn't want to blow away a whole section of the article with no warning. DarwinPeacock (talk) 17:13, 2 May 2010 (UTC)

Thanks. I find it helpful to move such sections that re being removed to talk, so others can try to rewrite and rescue them. --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| talk 17:25, 2 May 2010 (UTC)
I strongly object to this section being removed. Incorporated within it are two topics/articles, in the philosophy of social science and structure and agency, which are of huge significance. I sometimes find, Darwin -- not criticising you at all by saying this because you've made some great contributions -- that you speak from a particularly American perspective regarding what you think sociology is/should be. Perhaps you were brought up in a strongly quantitative and pragmatic tradition. Sociology, for me, is very close to social philosophy, and looking at sociology in the vein of Weber, Habermas, Foucault and Giddens, epistemology and ontology are at the forefront of discussion, and abstract concepts which might seem redundant to the rigid statistician (modernity and postmodernity, for example) have an almost limitless significance. Strict, number crunching sociology is important, but the discipline was founded as a radical critique of modernity..
Structure and agency is far too important not to mention. At the very least we'd require a 'Structure and agency' section. As it happens when I created the section I called it 'Epistemology and ontology' -- ontology encapsulating that. Peter Winch's criticism of the social sciences is very fundamental and famous, Foucault's even more so. The dialogue between Foucault, Habermas and Rorty is one of the most invigorating in recent intellectual history and shows how the gap is closing between sociology and philosophy after the linguistic turn, phenomenology, and post-structuralist trends.
I agree there should be a strong divide between epistemological debates over positivism that are almost purely academic and the reality of empirical social research as it informs businesses and governments. But I think the article does this quite well, or at least, better with a separate epistemology/ontology section dedicated to deeper philosophical questions. There is a separate 'Research' section which pays more attention to practical methodology, sampling, etc. --Tomsega (talk) 22:08, 7 May 2010 (UTC)
I'll concede, though, that the section is a bit too wordy and difficult. It could also do with being moved down the page for the time being (this is where it was placed for a long time originally).--Tomsega (talk) 22:29, 7 May 2010 (UTC)

Hi Tomsega--thanks a lot for your response. There are definitely strong splits about what sociology is/should be, and I think it's really important for us to have conversations like this to figure out how to steer the page towards being inclusive and representative of what's going on in the discipline as a whole. We all have our own perspectives on these issues, but I think we've been doing a great job of working together on this, and I hope we continue to do so.

It sounds like much of the material in that section should be kept, though I still think it should be reorganized and reframed. As with a number of other sections of this article, it doesn't have much of a clear narrative, which makes it a bit hard to follow. (It would probably be clearer if the Structure & Angency bit was separated from the antipositivist bit.) The substantive problems I have with this section is that it doesn't place these debates in the greater disciplinary context, and that it doesn't elucidate the quantitative position on sociology. (As a side note, this position should not be confused with either number crunching or policy/business work: it is an effort to construct sociological theory, only from a very a different epistemological perspective.) I am going to start hacking away at this, and hopefully we can get it to a point we're both happy with. DarwinPeacock (talk) 03:45, 9 May 2010 (UTC)

And here's the result of this. Pretty much the original + context + quantitative response to epistemological challenges. Hope it works. P.S., I intend to clarify the antipositivist critiques and turn them more into a narrative when I have a bit more time (or you are welcome to do this as well of course) DarwinPeacock (talk) 09:35, 9 May 2010 (UTC)
Okay cool, I like it. I've made some very minor adjustments on the page. Most obvious being that I certainly think the section can still be entitled 'ontology and epistemology'! Otherwise I haven't changed much except a few corrections to punctuation. Also, separated Habermas quote and added another quote on Giddens' view of the 'Third wave' of social theory after the 1960s. Tried only to make these adjustments to the sections I myself have written and leave yours as they are. --Tomsega (talk) 18:09, 9 May 2010 (UTC)
Hey man, it's looking good. I agree that the O & E title is better. I think I should rename some of the subheadings too. One comment though--I think the "quotation" form is a bit too attention-grabbing for quotes from secondary sources, like with the Cassell quote here or the Harris one above (there's a "quote" template that makes text not stand out as much). The way that the "quotation" bits stand out from the text breaks up the flow in a way that I think works well with forceful primary quotes, but not so well with secondary one. I don't know if this makes sense, but it's like the "quotation" bits are us breaking up the narrative to include somebody describing their stance in their own language. I'd personally prefer the "quotation" template reserved for a few key quotes from primary sources that really sum up somebody's stance in their own words--and the "quote" (or just paraphrasing) to be used otherwise. What do you think? DarwinPeacock (talk) 19:22, 12 May 2010 (UTC)
Yeah I agree actually. Secondary sources and editors don't deserve these stand-out quote boxes. The Harris and Cassell ones might be better off just in speech marks. The Habermas quote as well really.--Tomsega (talk) 16:39, 13 May 2010 (UTC)

Article getting too long[edit]

Hey, I am again concerned that we're making this article grow too long. My initial attempt to shorten the article by removing the epistemology/ontology bits instead turned out to, umm, lengthen it instead. Though this particular incidence might be attributable to my editorial skills, I think in general this kind of info creep might continue to happen whenever the choice stands between removing material or contextualizing/balancing it--the balance will always make the article grow longer. So, I do not want to advocace either the slash-and-burn or the balance-everything approach, because I think neither will work in the long run. But I want to reiterate again that the overall length of this article is something of a concern--even though the quality of the material here is getting better and better.

Pretty much, I think the problem is the level of detail. If you look at the other disciplinary articles, they are generally quite shorter and easier to glance through than this one (e.g., economics, anthropology, philosophy, physics). For the most part, they consist of much less "expert" material than this article--mostly shorter, easier-to-read summaries of topics rather than detailed expositions with lots of terminology. While we have better content and writing than a number of those, we function poorer as an overview piece than most of them. A casual reader wanting to learn about sociology from this page would quickly get frightened away (which would not happen with, say, the biology page). The difference that they employ short, simple summaries that link to the expert-level articles: and I really think that's the only way to go for a top-level disciplinary article. (Don't get me wrong, I think the detailed stuff is the essential content of wikipedia--it's should just go into its own pages).

In this light, I am really not a big fan of stuff like the expansion of the functionalism/structuralism bit. As always, the expansion is well written and good from an expert-historical point of view, but it would be quite hard to get through for a casual reader (and this is a matter of the material and detail, not of writing--I think summarizing is the only way to make this easier). I agree that some of this stuff needs to be on the main page, but the main page is also missing other important theoretical components. If we've going to have long exposes on the (largely historical) functionalism/structuralism stances, we will also need another long expose on contemporary theoretical perspectives (most importantly Mertonian mid-range theory and analytical sociological theory, but also relational (network) theory, field theory, etc). Then, we would need a third bit to explain how they relate in time, geographical distribution, etc. The result would be very long and quite unwieldy. I think in the end, some version of all this material should get a on this article, or at least a clear reference to a page that mentions it-- but the only way to do that is to compact what we have now first, and let go of some of the niceties of including material in its full nuance and detail. We could also consider beefing up the mid-level articles, like the "social theory" and "sociological theory" pieces. I think that's the only way of getting to an article that is both comprehensive and easy to read.

Overall, I think we should try to shorten the article by 30% or so before inserting new blocks of material (and I mean 30% of text, not of white space--shorter sections are easier to read; though overall shortening is good, too). I would love to hear everybody's opinions on this. (Posting a link to this on the wikiproject as well, btw). DarwinPeacock (talk) 18:31, 15 May 2010 (UTC)

I've been thinking the same thing, though indeed it is difficult because the content itself has been continually improving. I elaborated on one section further today because I think it is vitally mportant to delineate the differences between functionalism, structuralism, and the comparative irrelevance of 'conflict theory', because so many school text books are so useless at explaining this stuff they make sociology sound trivial.
One thought I had was simply to remove the "20th century developments section" as this entire part is copied in full and available on the history of sociology page. The problem with this little history section, though I myself wrote at least 50% of it, is that it is difficult to pick one narrative topic in describing the history of sociology, as we know it's a discipline of subfields. The emphasis at present is on the concept of modernity, which might form a backbone concept for the major theorists of the 20th century (Giddens, Habermas, etc), but is far from relevant to everything. (What was it again Randall Collins said about sociology 'losing all coherence as a discipline'?!) Also, I worry the article paints an image of sociology that is overly radical and pseudoscientific: there shouldn't be TOO much emphasis on things like critical theory and postmodernism (even if they are important) over methodological developments and research.
An even more simple thing would be to remove all unnecessary images, which I think is just about every image below the positivism section. --Tomsega (talk) 22:14, 15 May 2010 (UTC)
Okay, I have made the following changes, which can be undone if you do not think it works: (1) removed 20th century history section entirely, (2) removing non-essential info about critical realism (my own addition) from structure and agency section (3) removed 4-5 non-essential images.
What do you think? --Tomsega (talk) 22:44, 15 May 2010 (UTC)
Wow! Way to be bold! I think these are all good moves. I think removing the 20th century section is a great move for reducing the length (though I don't remember what was in it off the top of my head so am not sure if something important is missing now--I'm going to give the whole page a read-over when I have a minute). I also agree with cutting down on the room taken up by images, though I think images in general can be useful because they break up the text and make the page easier to take in without actually taking up too much room. So I am going to shrink the size of the images on this page and maybe insert a few of the other ones back. But I think we're on the same page here. DarwinPeacock (talk) 02:23, 17 May 2010 (UTC)
Nice. I think with the 20th century section entirely removed it nicely shifts more emphasis to the social research section.
Just making one minor change: I think the Structure and Agency section should be moved up between functionalism and research afterall, actually, keeping the remaining section just on epistemology. You might be able to come up with a better title for the section, or trim some of the paragraphs if possible. --Tomsega (talk) 10:46, 17 May 2010 (UTC)
Ok, I will edit it and trim it, or maybe even distribute it to other sections if I can. DarwinPeacock (talk) 20:38, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
All right, I just spent most of the day editing this thing. I cut a big section and wrote a big section. The result is about the same length as when I started, so I didn't achieve much shortening--but I hope the content is improved. Mostly, I removed much of my contemporary epistemology stuff and added material on 3 other types of positivism and on postpositivism. I will try to shorten things more via more compact phrasings and removal of detail when I have more time. In the process I paraphrased or cut lots of stuff. I hope you don't mind these edits--some of it was definitely on your turf. I think the whole thing is more coherent and complete now (but then again, it's my edits, so it's probably not too surprising that I think so). Thoughts? (... and now I am going to go have a drink to celebrate/lament the single longest editing session I've ever had on wikipedia) DarwinPeacock (talk) 04:17, 19 May 2010 (UTC)
Aha, Great updates. There was a slight bit of repetition in the first sentence on positivism as it already states Comte came up with sociology and positivism a couple of paragraphs higher up - just shortened the opening of that paragraph slightly. Also, I'd really like to keep that Simmel quote in. I realise the goal at hand is to shorten the article but I think it's a really attractive piece of sociological writing. --Tomsega (talk) 09:31, 19 May 2010 (UTC)
Know what, I think we could almost start pushing for featured article status (having said that if the article is nominated a few dozen people will immediately start hacking away at it!) --Tomsega (talk) 09:37, 19 May 2010 (UTC)
Thanks for the cleanup. FA is a great thing to aim for--though we're not quite there yet! I think there's still lots of tightening to do. (Didn't realize FA nomination brought swarms of editors, but makes sense.) DarwinPeacock (talk) 02:48, 22 May 2010 (UTC)

Can we shorten Sociology#Foundations of the academic discipline?[edit]

It's a very professionally-written section and seems very complete, but it appears to me to be too based around links: it's more of an index than a narrative. Since all this info is already in the history article, I am considering replacing the detailed text with a narrative summary (for example, I leave out most names of universities and professional associations; I would also shorten or remove my own bit on Parsons at the end of the section). I think the section can be shortened by half or more this way. What do you think? DarwinPeacock (talk) 20:15, 2 June 2010 (UTC)

It's certainly not an effective narrative as such but it's informative. I think the last paragraph on Parsons is quite nice but unnecessary/contradictory: at first we allude to Marx, Durkheim and Weber being the "big three" in sociology... and then there's a paragraph on Parsons NOT in fact including Marx in his big three! His success, I think, was introducing Durkheim and Weber to American audiences, not in coming up with this tripartite canon. Durkheim was always bound to be recognised as a father of sociology, as would I suggest Weber, as would I suggest Marx! --Tomsega (talk) 06:55, 4 June 2010 (UTC)
I have gone ahead and removed the Parsons paragraph, moving some information up to the paragraph on American sociology. I also took some of your good information on the superfluity of functionalism, trimmed that section down, and placed it below. I've entitled this "After functionalism". You might prefer a different title. Actually rather than the whole section being entitled "Functionalism and conflict theory" it might more appropriately be entitled "theoretical frameworks" or something, with functionalism, conflict theory, etc, subheaded below.
Now that you have expanded the positivism section so thoroughly, I believe the 'Modern epistemology and practise' section really sticks out as the section that is too long. Some of this information could just be implemented further up the page, no? --Tomsega (talk) 15:11, 6 June 2010 (UTC)

Misuse of sources[edit]

A request for comments has been filed concerning the conduct of Jagged 85 (talk · contribs). Jagged 85 is one of the main contributors to Wikipedia (over 67,000 edits, he's ranked 198 in the number of edits), and practically all of his edits have to do with Islamic science, technology and philosophy. This editor has persistently misused sources here over several years. This editor's contributions are always well provided with citations, but examination of these sources often reveals either a blatant misrepresentation of those sources or a selective interpretation, going beyond any reasonable interpretation of the authors' intent. I searched the page history, and found 2 edits by Jagged 85 in May 2007 and 5 more edits in November 2007 and September 2007. Tobby72 (talk) 21:19, 8 June 2010 (UTC)

I don't think there are any issues with this page, but if what you are saying is correct there is a chance his edits to the Islamic sociology and Sociology in medieval Islam pages might be suspect.--Tomsega (talk) 12:37, 9 June 2010 (UTC)

Comment on sociology portal image[edit]

Currently the image assigned to the sociology portal is a diagram illustrating a social network. While social network theory is the dominant theoretical paradigm in sociology currently, that is all it is: a passing theoretical craze that will transform over time into another set of engagements. The image of the network does not reflect the discipline as a whole, and should be replaced with one that does.

Jon EP1 (talk) 17:51, 2 July 2010 (UTC)

I think the vast majority of people who see this portal bar will equate the image generally with 'a picture of an individual connected to society' and not specifically with social network analysis. I think it's quite effective. If you could locate a superior image in the commons, however, it could of course be changed.. --Tomsega (talk) 03:27, 6 July 2010 (UTC)

Gaps in theoretical frameworks[edit]

Currently, this section has three subsections: Functionalism, Conflict theory and Contemporary social theory. I think there are significant gaps; intro texts do vary with regards to which theories, exactly, they list, but they usually list more then three. Symbolic interactionism, for example, is the one that quickly comes to mind, and likely, we should try to be more comprehensive then your average textbook. In my intro courses, I usually mention - if briefly - the existence of socio-evolutionary theories, sociobiology, critical theory, ecological theory, the feminist approach, and I do think I am forgetting some :) --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| talk 23:15, 15 August 2010 (UTC)

I agree. The only issue is the length of the article. --Tomsega (talk) 01:45, 24 August 2010 (UTC)

Invitation to editors to vote/discuss definition of science in Talk:Science[edit]

There has been an extensive discussion on the Talk:Science of what the lead definition of the science article should be. I suspect this might be an issue that may be of interest to the editors of this page. If so, please come to the voting section of the talk science page to vote and express your views. Thank you. mezzaninelounge (talk) 18:33, 18 September 2010 (UTC)

Vandalism[edit]

As of today, 1. March 2011 this page seems to be heavily vandalized. Various Names have been changed into actors and popstars. Many adjectives changed to different ones too. Corrected first few paragraphs, but they seem too many for me to do it alone. (How I hate vandals!) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Singularity Rider (talkcontribs) 09:58, 1 March 2011 (UTC)

Just wanted to say thank you, Singularity Rider!
LookingGlass (talk) 01:40, 22 January 2013 (UTC)

Satire and Decline[edit]

It's interesting that my comments about whether the article should include reference to the (alleged) decline in numbers applying to study Sociology at universities, and the fact that it became the butt of Oxbridge satirists in the Seventies have been deleted. Did they touch a raw nerve? Poshseagull (talk) 18:28, 18 August 2011 (UTC)

Apologies if I deleted any of your comments on a talk page. This was definitely inadvertent. - Darwin/Peacock[Talk] 20:08, 22 October 2011 (UTC) Never mind. Don't know why I read this question as directed to me. And I agree with Tomsega (below) that the satire isn't Wikipedia-worthy unless it is somehow exceptionally notable, for much the same reasons that Tomsega lists. If there is indeed a well-documented decline in sociology enrollments net of the general decline in social science or liberal arts enrollments, then this may be relevant material for this page (with the requisite references, of course). - Darwin/Peacock[Talk] 21:29, 25 October 2011 (UTC)
There are many generalised-remark-type-jokes about psychologists and mathematicians and lawyers and teachers, and none of that sort of stuff would be appropriate for those respective wiki pages. If sociology is declining in popularity, or is sometimes lumped along with media studies as a less-than-serious degree, it's the result of so many people having no idea what sociology is, and so regurgitating myths. Wikipedia shouldn't jump on that bandwagon. I think to be honest a lot of people view sociology as inherently radical or lefty and so dislike it for that reason. Maybe it's a self-fulfilling prophecy (a sociological term for you).
I'm sure the social sciences and humanities in general will see an overall decline in applications, given that university has become so impossibly expensive for working class people, for whom only business or vocational degrees are now viable. Which is a great shame because the system-changing ideas that the world needs right now are entirely absent from most business, law and economics degrees.--Tomsega (talk) 19:16, 23 October 2011 (UTC)

The Grand Theory[edit]

Social Phenomena Tengwang777 (talk) 01:42, 22 December 2015 (UTC)

'American biologist Edward O. Wilson defines “society” as “a group of individuals belonging to the same species and organized in a co-operative manner. ”' However is this link to an opinion piece on sociology really just spamming? Feeling that it is I've corrupted it. If anyone would like to quote sections as referencess to points they wish to make regarding the article (nb Talk pages are not for general discussion) then please feel free, after having substantiated the matter, to revert. LookingGlass (talk) 01:37, 22 January 2013 (UTC)

--Piramide100? (talk) 03:41, 30 June 2016 (UTC)== Revision for Racial achievement gap in the United States ==

Currently the article is under Wikipedia: WikiProject Sociology. The racial achievement gap in the United States covers broad areas in sociology such as education, equality, racial issues, culture and social stratification. Currently, the article is in need of improvement, and I hope to make several revisions to increase the objectivity and depth of the article. I would argue that this article deserves some attention as the achievement gap is one of the biggest educational issues in the US. Therefore, it is important for the Wiki community to provide multiple perspectives to allow for greater understanding of the issue. I would like to boost the (1)references to reputable sources, (2) objectivity of the viewpoints, (3) encyclopedic language that is often associated with a great Wikipedia article. Furthermore, I would like to expand upon the "Evidence", "Implications", and "Success Stories" of the current article, as I feel these sections are missing certain facets of the issue. I would very much appreciate any feedback or suggestions! Thank you. AlisaYu (talk) 21:06, 09 March 2012 (UTC) Genda inequality still exist in the Unite States (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25149647).

Sociological Perspectives[edit]

I couldn't help but notice that this article doesn't mention the three sociological perspectives neatly. Functionalism and Conflict Theory are mentioned under "Theoretical frameworks" but Symbolic Interactionism isn't under that category. It's linked under conflict theory, but there is no information on it within the entire article. This topic is so basic, yet important in understanding sociology, that it's normally in the first chapter or lecture of any sociology book or class. I just thought it should be given at least a paragraph like the other two are with a main article link. SoKwik (talk) 03:05, 24 April 2012 (UTC)

I think the idea that there are absolutely and specifically "three sociological perspectives" is a product of oversimplified high-school-ish textbooks, or people following their subjective course materials too rigidly. I think it's better for discipline that we move away entirely from the idea of functionalism and conflict theory, terms which are used often as fluffy synonyms for the right and left wings.
But if you want to expand on a decent symbolic interactionism section, go ahead! --Tomsega (talk) 08:10, 18 October 2012 (UTC)

Hopefully everyone can understand it, you can find out a lot on your own with basic knowledge and understanding as well as observing and being aware of your surroundings, cause and effect and the actions of others. Unless you just completely have zero common sense or are just oblivious. Lindsay Sunde (talk) 07:02, 1 October 2017 (UTC)

Definition (in the lead)[edit]

I think we need a section on the definition of sociology. Anyone knows any good sources for that? As there is no one clear, obvious definition, it would be nice if we can find any reliable source which discusses the definitions, hopefully pointing out to the most common elements (ex. that 75% of definitions use the word society, 80% relationship, 25% structure, and so on). Alternatively, we may have do cite a number of different definitions, and try to arrive at a short, comprehensive version (or chose "the best one") for the lead. --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| reply here 11:13, 15 January 2013 (UTC)

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary has

Sociology is the scientific study of human social behavior and its origins, development, organizations, and institutions. The American Heritage® Science Dictionary. [1])

The American Sociological Association [2] has

Sociology is:
• the study of society
• a social science involving the study of the social lives of people, groups, and societies
• the study of our behavior as social beings, covering everything from the analysis of short contacts between anonymous individuals on the street to the study of global social processes
• the scientific study of social aggregations, the entities through which humans move throughout their lives
• an overarching unification of all studies of humankind, including history, psychology, and economics

Britannica Concise Encyclopedia

Science of society, social institutions, and social relationships, and specifically the systematic study of the development, structure, interaction, and collective behaviour of organized human groups.

Columbia Encyclopedia

scientific study of human social behavior. As the study of humans in their collective aspect, sociology is concerned with all group activities-economic, social, political, and religious.

Editor2020 (talk) 17:28, 15 January 2013 (UTC)


Thanks for the input. I don't think we should use any dictionary definitions; there is no value in citing a dictionary here. (Btw, leads don't need citations unless its a point about a living individual or something very controversial.)

Sociology is more diverse than the "Study of society" The BSA website gives the following Sociology is the study of how society is organized and how we experience life. [3] Here it's not a study of society as such but by how society is organised and how we experiences this. This organisation is how we related to one another, interact with one another, and how we experience this. Studying society is an weak phrases and misses the opportunity to conveniently link to the many aspects of sociology via the the idea of the social. A look at the origins of the word itself may further shed light on the issue: socius, "companion"; and the suffix -ology, "the study of", from Greek λόγος, lógos, "knowledge". To reduces this to something abstract as "society", may work for a dictionary or for a functionalist view of the world, but would neither be OK for an encyclopaedia nor would it cover the diversity of the discipline. Mootros (talk) 08:57, 16 January 2013 (UTC)

As already indicated the lead is not entirely conform with the MOS. Please see here: Wikipedia:LEAD#Citations. To move this on, most citations (if not all) should go to get this article up to standard. Your input is welcome. Many thanks! Mootros (talk) 09:29, 18 January 2013 (UTC)
Wikipedia:LEAD#Citations says

"there is not, however, an exception to citation requirements specific to leads. The necessity for citations in a lead should be determined on a case-by-case basis by editorial consensus. Complex, current, or controversial subjects may require many citations; others, few or none. The presence of citations in the introduction is neither required in every article nor prohibited in any article."

Editor2020 (talk) 01:50, 22 January 2013 (UTC)
Thanks for putting the relevant part of the MOS up. I assume we are not dealing with a complex case, as dictionaries were cited. Neither do I think there is any controversy. So further input please if people think otherwise. Many thanks! Mootros (talk) 08:15, 23 January 2013 (UTC)
Citation wise, the issue is that all content needs to be cited somewhere in the article. If we had a section on definitions, cited, it could be summarized in the lead without any cites. But as long as the definition in the lead is the only one in the article, we need to cite it.
Refs wise, secondary sources are preferred to tetriary, so I'd try to avoid general encyclopedias or dictionaries. Sociological ones would be better, as would, if we could find it, any peer reviewed piece that actually discusses the definition of sociology. The problem we have is, of course, that there is a ton of definitions of sociology, but cherry picking some, even at random, is not a good solution. --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| reply here 12:59, 23 January 2013 (UTC)
I agree as long as the definition in the lead is the only one in the article, we need to improve it and cite it elsewhere. The new definition section could be called "Academic discipline" or some thing like this and should be the first section. I would suggest we use a range of definitions from different (standard) textbooks thereby trying to show the broadness and diversity.
Also this section Sociology#Areas_of_sociology should be merged into our new one. I see the listed content more as closely related areas rather than actual constituting parts. I sum, in the new section we want to show the scope of the discipline and how it relates to others. Mootros (talk) 02:29, 24 January 2013 (UTC)

I am at a loss here trying to understand why this is problematic, so not sure I can contribute anything useful. It seems to me there is nothing wrong with the broad statement that Sociology is the systematic study (i.e., science) of society. Meclee (talk) 14:39, 2 February 2013 (UTC)

Primarily because of concerns over WP:V policy. --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| reply here 02:59, 16 June 2013 (UTC)

Banned user[edit]

This article has been edited by a banned user (WP:BAN) who is known to have misused sources to unduly promote certain views (see WP:Jagged 85 cleanup). Examination of the sources used by this editor often reveals that the sources have been selectively interpreted or blatantly misrepresented, going beyond any reasonable interpretation of the authors' intent.

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I searched the page history, and found 6 major edits by Jagged 85. Tobby72 (talk) 09:44, 21 July 2013 (UTC)

Political economy section?[edit]

How about adding a section on political economy as a branch of sociology. There are enough sociologists who focus on issues of political economy (e.g., neoliberalism, globalisation, etc) to justify the creation of such a section. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 24.84.68.252 (talk) 17:15, 30 January 2014 (UTC)

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Critisism Section Needed[edit]

Without a doubt, Sciology as a legitimate science is open to legitimate debate. For the sake of factual accuracy and thoroughness, that debate should be addressed. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 66.69.226.170 (talk) 14:48, 1 November 2016 (UTC)

Please see WP:FALSEBALANCE. EvergreenFir (talk) 15:04, 1 November 2016 (UTC)
+1 Need a critisism section. There is somes sources I found: This https://theanarchistlibrary.org/library/max-stirner-the-ego-and-his-own#toc16 and this : https://fr.theanarchistlibrary.org/library/l-encyclopedie-anarchiste-s#toc67. The indivudualist anarchist movement claim that Sociology is not a science, but just a remain of christian morality which it's justifie through the divine concept and abstraction called "society", "mankind", "people" etc. But like God, it's just a spook to devide us. (devide and rule strategy) Bye :)

Further reading[edit]

62.168.13.98 (talk) 14:20, 25 November 2016 (UTC)

Great article[edit]

A great article, it gives the reader a lot of information about sociology. Abbadisaleh (talk) 23:47, 1 February 2017 (UTC)

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