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readerofbooks eNotes educator| Certified Educator

 There are a number of ways of defining sociology, especially as sociology is a very broad discipline. However, here is a short definition. 

Sociology is the study of social relationships and social institutions. Sociology's subject matter is also diverse. For example, sociologists study subject matters as diverse as religion, crime, family relationships, racial interactions, gender, revolutions, formation of groups, knowledge and so much more. 

What unifies all of these topics is the desire to understand how humans both shape and are shaped by surrounding cultural and social structures.

Perhaps a concrete example would be helpful at this point. One of my favorite sociologist is Peter Berger. One of the things he studies is the sociology of knowledge. In one of his penetrating books, he argues that all reality is socially constructed. By this he means that that the objective features of the world have assumed their shape by people. Therefore, what seems like a given or simply objective is actually created by people. The implications of this are great such as in his theory of plausibility structures. What is plausible in one culture is different than what is plausible in another.

In conclusion, sociology is not only a broad discipline, but it can also be very helpful in understanding the world. 

rwilliams31792 | Student

Defining the study of Sociology is difficult because of the broadness of the discipline. The American Sociological Association defines Sociology as the study of society. This social science involves individuals, groups, and communities. Sociology studies how those different elements of society interact and influence each other.

The unique vastness and individualism that is included in Sociological study allows Sociologists to examine human interactions on a comprehensive yet personal scale. Sociologists study global interactions and personal interactions to gain insight into the world around us.

Zygmunt Bauman defined Sociology in his book Thinking Sociologically as a discipline with its own unique set of questions for approaching the study of society and social relations to help us understand the social environment in which we live. According to Bauman, Sociology is concerned with both government institutions and personal interactions between individuals. By studying these interactions, Sociologists hope to gain insight into the social processes that influence human beings throughout their lives.

Further Reading:

 http://www.asanet.org/about-asa/asa-story/what-sociology