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What is Sociology - Article Example

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The "What is Sociology" paper states that the study of sociology is vitally important in understanding our role individually and in groups. Rather than merely explain biological processes for behavior, sociology offers insight into how this process combines with group dynamics and outside influences…
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What is Sociology
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The sociological perspective is the specific way that sociologists study human behavior, as opposed to theorists of other social sciences. Rather than focus on personality traits to describe both normative and anomalous behavior, sociologists look at environmental determinants of the actions of both individuals and groups. Sociologists share certain procedures with the other sciences, such as forming hypotheses, objective data collection, and meticulous interpretation of the results of their research in order to confirm or reject theories that are formed by observing human behavior. There are several tenets under which sociologists operate. These include the assumptions that humans are drawn to social interaction, that social behavior is learned, that group behavior is created by the behaviors of the individuals that make up the group, and that the study of a person’s relationships are vital to understanding the behaviors of any one person (Common Ideas, 2007).

The process in which groups are formed of individuals is called socialization. The act of socialization occurs in various subtle ways and is a regular part of any culture. From early childhood, we are taught that belonging to a group is important, and identities are formed by distinguishing “us” from “them.” As noted by Messner in his essay Becoming 100 Percent Straight (in Kimmel & Ferber, eds. p.181+) this concept of identity and belonging is especially strong in adolescence. At the time he questions his sexuality in the ninth grade, he is unaware that his sudden and violent rejection of his friend Timmy is a reaction to his desire to be accepted by a group, and the consequence of being ostracized for his homosexual feelings.  This strong subconscious reaction underscores the grasp that socialization has upon each of us from the very moment of our birth. A more extreme example of the desire to be accepted into a group is Messner’s description of his interview with homosexual Olympian Tom Waddell and Waddell’s recount of wanting desperately to be a dancer, preferably in ballet. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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