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Sociology is the study of human society; their relationships, behaviour and institutions. In other words, it studies the structure, interaction, development and the behaviour of a group of people.

The term sociology was coined by Auguste Comte, known as the “Father of Sociology” in 1839.

What is the meaning of sociology?

Sociology is considered as the “Science of Society”. There are different views of sociologists regarding the definition of sociology.

The famous sociologists are:

· Max Weber
· M. Johnson
· Durkheim
· Gillin and Gillin

You can study the theories of these sociologists for further references.


“Sociology is the subject to natural and invariable laws, the discovery of which is the object of investigation.” – Auguste Comte

In the words of Kingsley Davis, “Sociology is the general science of society”.

Morris Ginsberg says, “In the broadest sense, Sociology is the study of human interactions and inter-relations, their conditions and consequences.”


The nature of sociology is the part that explains the subject type of sociology. According to Robert Bierstedt, sociology has the following characteristics:

Independent science

Sociology is considered as the independent science, having its own areas of study and does not depend on any other discipline. 

Social science

Social is considered more as a social science rather than physical science because it focuses on the study of society whereas physical science deals with natural phenomenon. Social activities are more focused on the study of sociology.

Categorical discipline

Sociology is the science that is free from the values. It only answers the question “what is” instead of “what should be”. It does not provide any solution to the problems.

Pure science

Sociology has the characteristics of being a pure science. It focuses on attaining maximum knowledge, but the applicability of facts is not a part of sociology.

Rational and empirical

The social phenomena are studied in sociology. The studies are based on the logic, experiments and observations.


The scope of the subject defines its boundaries and the major areas of study. The concepts that we have to study in the subject is defined as its scope. The scope makes it easy to study the subject by defining its boundaries. The scope of sociology is defined by two different schools of thought such as:

· The formalistic school
· The synthetic school


George Simmel, Max Weber and Vierkandt are the supporters of this school. They consider sociology as an independent and pure science having a limited scope. Here are the views of the authors:

· Sociology has a limited and narrow scope; there is no need to study everything related to the social science.
· It studies the forms of relationship in society too, but not the whole content.
· It also studies the mental relationship connecting the people.
· The subject focuses on understanding the behaviour of society.


The sociologists like Durkheim, Comte, Spencer are of the view of synthetic school and believe that sociology is concerned with social science. It has a wide scope. The areas of study of this school are mentioned below:

· Sociology deals with the structure of society, institutions and groups of society.
· It deals with various means of social control such as formal and informal. It includes religions, traditions, customs and morals.
· There are various modes to interact in society such as cooperation, integration, conflict and isolation.
· It studies the issues like unemployment, poverty, overpopulation etc.
· It plays an important role in the formulation of social laws.

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