The sociology can be understood as a human science that deals with issues of everyday life in a systematic way, developing concepts and methodologies for understanding certain “realities” social. As it is a science that reflects the daily life of social relations, it has a strong importance in raising issues involving conflicts, convergence of interests, power structures, etc.
Sociology seeks to study man in society. In this sense, sociological analyzes involve issues related to material conditions of life to the set of values, cultural elements, which produce the webs of human relationships in collective life. Thus, studies about agrarian and industrial societies emerge, indicating certain historical specificities that outline the interactions between men in a given social context.
The varied range of motivations active in collective life becomes the object of sociological study. When a sociologist approaches a topic, it is soon recognized by the members of a given analyzed society. After all, the sociologist may be touching “wounds” that mark the whole of that human group. It could be the racial issue, for example.
The sociologist initiates a debate about racial prejudice or ethnic conflict within a society, seeking to find the elements that illuminate the issue. It is obvious that many of the subjects dealt with besides being recognized by the social group can be controversial. The importance of treating them by sociology is, among other aspects, to move from the common place of “guessing”, of opinion, to something more complex and endowed with critical capacity.
A professor of sociology in the United States can address the issue of “racism” in that society, even though he is in a southern state, for example, Virginia. For many of the students, this will not be new at first. They probably know stories about it, because they live in that society marked by prejudice.
Perhaps the subject chosen by the teacher is even tedious for many in that classroom. However, the teacher, as a sensitization strategy, moves the discussion to India, dealing with that delicate topic when talking about the caste society in the land of the Indians.
The teacher could discuss what would be this type of social organization, what are the problems of sexual relationships between different caste groups in the Hindu view, what are the prohibitions in the relationships between one caste and another, in addition to the economic exploitation resulting from this model of social organization .
After developing certain concepts and working with them historically in India, the teacher will be able to return to the issue of racism in the United States. It is possible for students to see their class as explaining a sociability developed in the southern states of the United States. There was no social caste organization there, but an experience of African slavery and racial discrimination that, in some respects, may resemble the Indian model of sociability.
It is not stated here that American society is made up of castes, but the elaboration of categories of analysis by Sociology can elucidate certain tensions experienced socially. Deeper analyzes are made, revealing certain functions and social relationships that perhaps those students were unable to carry out in domestic conversations or by reading newspapers. For this reason, the importance of Sociology as a human science is already perceived.
The sociologist is close to the world he studies, so the terms he uses are familiar to society as a whole, which often considers his investigation simple and obvious. However, the depth given to the categories of analysis opens a new perspective to certain social situations, guaranteeing knowledge hitherto not comprehensible to many. The sociologist’s work allows for the acquisition of new knowledge and the possibility of disseminating it. This contributes to the thinking of the social group about its practices.
It can be said that Sociology is a form of scientific knowledge that enables the understanding of certain social phenomena, of a certain organicity of the collective, of its interactions and dynamics, leaving what is called common sense .
Sociology cannot be seen as a science that asserts the existence of laws in the same way that a physicist can make claims about nature. And this is related to the understanding that it is not possible to reduce multiple and motivated social realities to some universal and timeless law. Societies are dynamic, they change not only because they reflect lines of force from the past, from tradition, but because they are always in tension and combine frictions in different ways, always leaving room for creativity that changes living conditions and social dispositions.
In this sense, the construction of categories of analysis and interpretive systems is the result of the society in which the scholar is inserted, therefore marked by historicity. The perspectives are varied depending on the adoption of this or that interpretation system considered valid for the analysis of society. One can speak, then, of sociologies.
The plurality of analytical interpretation does not reduce the scientific character of the sociological study, but poses it as a problem to be faced by the sociologist. Responsibility is necessary and the acceptance of this or that sociological theory is also a form of social action. That is why certain questions raised by Sociology have political content, as they are always associated with power relations.
The sociologist’s work generally operates the constitution of social consciences, goes beyond the façades of conventions and seeks, in the social building, the structures, functions, architectures that establish certain patterns of sociability. And that involves understanding the lines of force, the commands, the institutions, the values formed within society. It is this cognitive operation that makes it possible to build certain consciousnesses about elements that exist, but are not immediately seen and understood by the social group.