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Sociology--What is It?
Sociology is so varied a discipline that it can be identified only very loosely as the study of social relationships, institutions and structures. Not only is this definition loose, it is also negative, for ‘social’ often means, in effect, not distinctly economic, not distinctly political, not distinctly religious and so forth. Although sociologists can trace their intellectual origins back to the Scottish Enlightenmentand beyond, the discipline did not begin to become established until the last quarter of the nineteenth century. Although sociology is concerned with the study of social relationships, institutions and structures, the discipline is a child of industrial capitalism and its predominant field of study is modern Western societies.
From: Carrier, J. G., & CARRIER, J. G. (2009). sociology. In A. Barnard, & J. Spencer (Eds.), Encyclopedia of social and cultural Anthropology (2nd ed.). London, UK: Routledge. Retrieved from http://www.libproxy.wvu.edu/login?url=https://search.credoreference.com/content/entry/routencsca/sociology/0?institutionId=735
Explains how our major social problems, including crime, violence, terrorism, war, substance abuse, and prejudice, are the result of efforts by their perpetrators to maintain a secure identity, or sense of self. It locates the root causes of these social problems and counterproductive responses in certain identity-damaging social and cultural phenomena that force identity to defend and maintain itself by socially harmful means.