Sociology is, simply, the scientificstudy of social behavior and human groups (Schaefer, 2017).
It is made up ofmany parts from contributions of numerous researchers of sociology. Each individualadded to the theoretical findings of the previous contributor. A theory is aset of statements that seeks to explain problems, actions, or behavior. Although other early sociologistacknowledged the importance of using science to study sociology; Emile Durkheim,a 19th century pioneer of sociology (1858-1917), was the firstperson to apply scientific methods to sociology as a discipline. He believed in the importance of studyingsocial facts and patterns of behavior without one’s personal bias.
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His focuseswere on how society maintained order and stability. Aside from Emile Durkheim’sbooks, “The Divisions of Labor in Society,””Suicide: A Study in Sociology” and”The Elementary Forms of Religious Life, he also contributed importanttheoretical work on suicide. He wasinterested suicide rates and how they varied from country to country. Durkheimdeveloped a highly original theory about the relationship between suicide and socialfactors. He advocated the use of systematic observations to study sociologicalevents. Durkheim’s contributions to sociology are relevant today! Just likeother scientific disciplines, sociology involves the organized, systematicstudy of phenomena (in this case, human behavior) in order to enhanceunderstanding (Schaefer, 2017). According to that same text, all scientistsattempt to collect precise information through methods of study that are asobjective as possible.
Twentieth Century sociologist, TalcottParsons (1902-1979), was an educator and scholar of sociology. He played asignificant role in the development of functionalist theory. The functionalistperspective emphasizes the way in which the parts of society are structured tomaintain its stability (Schaefer, 2017). He began development of his, “GeneralTheory of Action” in structure of social action in 1937. It published in 1951.He produced a general theoretical system for the analysis of society, known asstructural functionalism. Parsons analysis was based on observation, reasoning,and verification.
He explored the difference between concepts of behavior andaction. He was influenced by the work of Emile Durkheim and Max Weber amongother European sociologists. Functionalist perspective is still used in today’ssociology, so Parsons’s contribution is still relevant. Schaefer, Richard T. (2017). Sociology: A Brief Introductionwith Connect Access Card.
(12th ed.). McGraw-Hill.