What is Sociology?

Sociology is the study of human society: it studies human function, human development, and human structure. Sociologists study different institutions, communities, populations, genders, races, and age groups to better understand society.

Functionalism, the study of human functioning, is designed to meet the biological and social needs of society individuals. According to Lumen Learning, Hebert Spencer (1820–1903) believes that every part of society works together to keep society functioning. Healthy societies have dynamic equilibrium. Dynamic equilibrium is when all parts work with each other in order to maintain stability in society, this is something sociologists created. Different types of functions in a society are social facts, which keep the society together. Some social facts include government, laws, morals, values, religious beliefs, family, symbols, rituals, and education. Two types of functions are manifest functions and latent functions. Manifest functions are consequences of a social process that are expected. As for latent functions, which are either beneficial, neutral, or harmful, they are unsought consequences of a social process.

Structuration theory, the study of human structure, is the social theory of creation and reproduction in social systems based on the analysis of structure. This could also be known as the duality of structure. As stated in an article by Britannica, structuration theory recognizes the different facets of society, which include the interaction of meaning, standards, values, power, and posits a dynamic relationship. Anthony Giddens, a British sociologist, came up with three types of structure in a social system, being signification, legitimation, and domination. Signification is where meaning is coded by the practice of language and discourse. Legitimation is normative perspectives that are viewed as societal norms and values. Lastly, domination is how power is applied, usually power for the control of resources.

Functionalism and structuration theory are two types of sociology. These focus on human structure and human function. Sociology focuses on society and mainly focuses on individuals that help create and maintain a society, and is a necessary field of study for us to understand the world we live in.