Sociology as a Science Essay

Sociology as a Science Essay

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Sociology emerged in the eighteenth century after a period of intense
cultural, social and economic changes. As people began to try to
understand these changes, there came a period called the
Enlightenment. This is also considered by Hamilton (1992) to be a
“time characterised by the development of distinctively modern forms
of thought about society and the realm of the social.” The
Enlightenment encouraged a new way of thinking marked by application
of reason, experience and experiment to the natural and social world.
Sociologists approached the study of society and change by using
scientific means as they were inspired by the recognition of the value
of scientific principles and procedures.

Science is a systematic, rigorous, controlled discipline aimed at
understanding, gathering knowledge about and predicting occurrences
within the natural world. If a research method has these
characteristics it can be considered ‘scientific’. Science is a body
of knowledge associated with a particular style of research, that is,
one characterised by the use of certain methods in specific
circumstances and shaped by an underlying rationale. The purest
example of the scientific method is the experiment. In the mid
eighteenth century science became, as Hamilton (1992) would say it,
“for the intellectuals of the Enlightenment, the epitome of
enlightened reason.” Science was perceived as knowledge that people
could trust and that would be true for all circumstances, hence,
science became a powerful force in society and assumed a new status as
a superior form of understanding. This belief in science led two
strands of sociologists being formed,...


... middle of paper ...


...established
procedures and research methods to push back the boundaries of
inquiry. They both seek to improve the human condition through
research and fort both the purpose of research is to enhance our
understanding of the world, be it natural or social.

Although there are sociologists that believe in sociology becoming
scientific and those who do not, there are advantages and
disadvantages that have to be take into account when analysing whether
or not it is convenient or beneficial for sociology to become
scientific. The truth is that if it were to become considered a
science that sociology would become more respected and it would become
well known in society than it is today. But on the other hand, if it
would become a science it would be considered a metanarrative and
therefore move away from post-modernity.

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