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The term sociology is a mixture of two words. The leading part of the term is Latin, socius- that may mean society, togetherness, association or companionship. The second word, logos, is of Greek origin. Sociology factually means to speak about something. The term sociology is generally understood as a science. Thus, the literal description of sociology is that it is speaking about society. A simpler definition is that sociology is the review of society and culture (Mills, 1959).

Sociology offers a viewpoint, a view of the world. The sociological viewpoint opens a window onto unacquainted worlds—and offers a new look at acquainted ones. Individuals also look at their own world in a diverse manner. As you study other worlds—or your own world—the sociological viewpoint enables you to gain a fresh perception of social existence. In fact, this is what countless find attractive about sociology (Mills, 1959). The sociological viewpoint stresses the social backgrounds in which people live. It scrutinizes how these backgrounds influence people’s lives. At the heart, of the sociological perspective is the issue of how groups impact people, especially how people are impacted by their society—a collection of people who share a common culture and a region. To discover why people behave the way they do, sociologists look at social location, the angles in life that people inhabit because of where they are positioned in a society (Wright, 1959). Sociologists look at how jobs, income, education, gender, age, and race–ethnicity affect people’s ideas and behaviour. Consider, for example, how being characterized with a group known as females or with a group known as males when you were growing up has moulded your ideas of who you are. Development as a female or a male has impacted how you view yourself. It also impacts your views of what you should accomplish in life and how you associate with others (Mills, 1959). Through the sociological perspective, an individual views their social world in a new light, thus enhancing their understanding. As the individual learns more about social life, they are also encouraged to learn more about themselves.

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The sociological imagination has been described as the excellence of mind that transforms personal troubles into communal issues. The sociological imagination articulates individual experiences of unemployment, disease, murder, divorce, debt, poverty and so forth as personal troubles. The sociological perspective, then connects those personal troubles to underlying wider social structures that turn them into public issues for political contestation. Major historical events influence an individual’s lives in a variety of ways (Wright, 1959). Personal suffering has often been seen to have links with socially patterned inequalities in employment conditions, access to education, exposure to environmental hazards, and subjection to violence.

Society and history has an implication on the lives of individuals in a society. Historical issues such as subjection to violence lead to tension and uneasiness amongst members of a society. These implications occur as aftereffects, and they materialize long after the event happened. For example, when political colonies are unrestricted, new and less noticeable forms of colonialism are installed. Revolutions transpire; men feel the cherished grip of new types of authority. Totalitarian societies come up, and are shattered to bits-or succeed splendidly (Wright, 1959).

Sociological practice is based on the current realization that, individualistic perspective does not work, which many people have about life in the social context. Of all the things humans do, nothing is done in a vacuum. Everything that happens on the world relates to a context of some kind. Individualistic explanation is in itself misleading since it encourages people to explain human experiences and behavior in a very narrow perspective, thus, missing the bigger picture (Johnson, 2010). The explanations given by Bergenfield on the suicide of Tommy Rizzo and three of his friends are not sufficient to justify the acts. He attributes the deaths to drugs and alcohol abuse. Such acquisitions were personal factors towards the acts, and they could not have been the major reasons for the victims to have committed suicide (Johnson, 2010).

The writer based his assumptions on an individual basis on the cases of suicides. In sociology, it explains suicide, not for individual cases, but for the group or the society that the act is happening. The individuals in the group are not considered, but rather the group (Johnson, 2010). To understand fully on the issue, one needs to look carefully to words like “men”, “kids”, “Negros”, “Jews’, and “Burnouts” that have been used in the suicide case. Individualistic explanation will not give the whole picture of the systems, and what it means to be in such positions. The individual cases reported by Bergenfield were not enough to explain why suicide happens in the wide system (Johnson, 2010).

Sociology instead emphasis on looking to how people are related to the systems, and how those systems help to shape their lives. In the case of suicide, sociology would have looked at why being a man, a kid, or a Jew, contributes to cases of suicide. In other words, sociology does not reduce social phenomenal to individuals. Sociology emphasis that, people cannot be systems or systems become people. This proves to be a reliable explanation in that, social life can produce good and evil implications, without necessarily meaning that people who participate in them are evil or good (Johnson, 2010).

Facts and logic are some of the ways used by the sociologists in the study of the social world. Understanding the social world entails getting information from parents, teachers, friends and others. However, the information provided by the named sources may sometimes turn to be incorrect at the long run (Schwalbe, 1998). Logical deduction is one way to discover and gain knowledge on things. Logical reasoning is considered a good way because, other people can evaluate ones assumptions and correct where one goes wrong. Other sources of our knowledge of the social world are from personal experience, observation, and mystical revelations. Other knowledge may be instinctual, for instance, when an infant sucks everything that it puts in its mouth. Finally, systematic research is an imperative way of gaining knowledge (Schwalbe, 1998).

There are advantages associated with systematic research. First, it controls personal biases. This means that there is no likelihood of mistaking what is true with what is not true. Also, systematic research looks beyond personal experiences, and observation since it goes above what is obvious. It challenges the ideas and assumptions that people have in their daily lives. Thirdly, systematic research helps to relate different methods used by different people. It helps people to appreciate results of others if they are good. On the other hand, it helps people to make corrections on the results that were not accurate (Schwalbe, 1998). By making judgments on the different knowledge offered by different researchers, it helps them work together and alleviate illusion. At the end, a varied and reliable knowledge is created (Schwalbe, 1998).

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