Sociology has been a growing discipline that deals with human interaction in society. Sociology has close relationship with other social sciences like psychology, anthropology, political science and History among others. However, none of them studies human interactions exhaustively as sociology does.
Sociology is the study of human interactions in a systematic and scientific manner. It concerns itself with the human interactions through the social institutions in society like the school, the religious institution and the government. Auguste Comte, who is regarded as the father of sociology, divides sociology into two parts; social statics and social dynamics (Burrel et al, 2017). According to him, social statics are the forces responsible for stability in society while social dynamics cause social change. Auguste Comte is famous for popularizing the term ‘Sociology’
Culture stands at the centre of society and thus forms a pivotal point in the discipline of sociology. A people’s culture is their identity; it is the aggregate total of the composition of society other that what is biological. In this regard, sociology studies the place of culture in determining how an individual behaves in relation to other persons in society (Van Krieken et al, 2013). Cultural mannerisms are primarily exhibited in the language people speak and people are mostly socialized through such means. Other aspects of cultural expressions include dressing, the houses people live in, the values they uphold and the societal norms or rules that they live by.
The study of Sociology in the Australian context includes various cultures which have been brought about by historical occurrences. Aboriginal culture is unique because of their collective heritage of maintaining their ancient mannerisms despite the forces of modernity. Aboriginals stand out based on their language and norms and values. The multi-ethnic composition of Australia also includes the Torres Strait Islander and an array of Oceanic people (Phillips et al, 2014). Despite the variations in descent, English remains the commonly spoken language. However, the Australian English stands out for it accent, vocabulary and usage of idioms as compared to the English spoken in America and Britain. 80% of the population in Australia speaks only English in their homes. This is a key unifier for the Australian people; language has a way of creating harmony in the society and the predominant use of English in the country has immense advantages in this regard.
Population composition including size, birth and death rates, migrant patterns and fertility rates are vital in the study of sociology for a given population (Ritzer, 2014). In Australia, the population composition is diverse and each people group has unique origins. It is widely believed that the Aboriginals and the Torres Straight Islanders are the indigenous Australians while the rest are largely immigrants spanning various eras in history. Information, in addition to language is also important in understanding the culture of a people (Thompson et al, 2016). This is because people use information to cope with situations, to explain things and to make judgments. Australian comedy, which has grown over the years, has been a source of solace for the people to cope with difficult situations like war at different times. Material things like minerals, vehicles and buildings are also part and parcel of Sociology (Giddens et al, 2016).
The role of social institutions in understanding society cannot be gainsaid. Social institution like the family, government, the school and religion bring out the collective behavior in people (Delaney, 2017). The family is the most important social institution in understanding culture. The Australian family is largely influenced by British values emanating from the colonization period. The British colonialists also brought along with them the Christian religion which continues to influence the Australian family today. Such aspects as monogamy and enjoyment of life that define the family institution in Australia are a product of both the Christian religion and British civilization.
Although Sociology and psychology have closely been linked, it is important to note that psychology majorly studies the conduct of an individual and the internal motivations that determine a person’s behavior (Durkheim, 2014). The point of departure for the two is that while Psychology dwells on the individual, sociology studies groups of people. However, a scholar who wants to understand the import of both in society can do so by undertaking a study in Social Psychology.
Sociology is the only science whose subject matter is society. Information gained by studying sociology goes a long way in determining the governance structures, resource distribution and the institutions that will serve the people best. It is important that every professional intending to work in society undertakes a course in sociology. This will ensure minimal conflicts in the discharge of vital duties among people.
Burrell, G., & Morgan, G. (2017). Sociological paradigms and organisational analysis: Elements of the sociology of corporate life. Routledge UK.
Delaney, C. (2017). Investigating culture: An experiential introduction to anthropology. John Wiley & Sons AU
Durkheim, E. (2014). The rules of sociological method: and selected texts on sociology and its method. Simon and Schuster NY.
Giddens, A., Duneier, M., Appelbaum, R. P., & Carr, D. S. (2016). Introduction to sociology. WW Norton Florida USA.
Phillips, B., Morrell, S., Taylor, R., & Daniels, J. (2014). A review of life expectancy and infant mortality estimations for Australian Aboriginal people. BMC Public Health, 14(1), 1. New York.
Ritzer, G. (2014). Introduction to sociology. SAGE publications London.
Thompson, W. E., Hickey, J. V., & Thompson, M. L. (2016). Society in focus: An introduction to sociology. Rowman & Littlefield UK.
Van Krieken, R., Habibis, D., Smith, P., Hutchins, B., Martin, G., & Maton, K. (2013). Sociology. Pearson Higher Education AU.