Natural science - sociology - and common sense Bauman and May say that "physical and biological sciences do not appear to be concerned with spelling out their relationship to common sense" Bauman and May , p. Products of such processing then have to withstand the critical scrutiny of other scientists. They will not have to compete with common sense for the simple reason that there is no commonsensical point of view with respect to the matters they pronounce on" Bauman and May , p. These are what they call scientism , hermeneutics and pragmatism. Elements of each of these three ways of thinking sociologically have converged to shape what is accepted as sociological knowledge.
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Home What is Sociology? What is Sociology? Sociology is a disciplined practice with its own set of questions for approaching the study of society and social relations. It is important for understanding ourselves, each other, and the social environments in which we live. In search of Distinction As well as being disciplined set of practices, it also represents a considerable body of knowledge that has been accumulated over the course of history…. Individual actors come into view of sociological study in terms of being members or partners in a network of interdependency.
The central questions of Sociology concern how the types of social relations and societies that we inhabit relate to how we see each other, ourselves and our knowledge, actions and their consequences.
Thinking Sociologically also opens up the possibility for thinking about the same world in different ways. This is because the objects of study of Sociology the family, education, media, and so on are tightly bound up with our ordinary day-to-day routines, and thus everybody already has common sense understandings of these things.
However, in common-sense understanding, we tend to only see these things in terms of our own individual, private, experiences, we rarely pause and ask questions about the social-settings in which we live our lives. In this sense Sociology encourages people to lift themselves above the level of their daily concerns and see what we share in common with others, and what these commonalities have to do with our particular historical social context.
Thinking Sociologically is to make sense of the world through looking at the manifold webs of human dependency. It involves constantly examining the knowledge we have of selves and others — this is an ongoing process. If we open ourselves up to this processes then it should have the following benefits — It should make us more tolerant of diversity It should render flexible that which may have been oppressive It should make individuals more effective agents of social change — realising that society does act as a restraining force in many ways should enable the individual to direct their efforts more effectively at making changes.
You could now choose to carry on reading this, or abandon it and do something else. The ability to make conscious decisions is an exercise of your freedom. Choice, Freedom and Living with Others Our choices are not, of course, always the product of conscious decisions, many are habitual. However, if one lives in an area of high unemployment and cannot afford to move, this is simply not the case.
We are limited by the following things sticking to the unemployment example : Scarcity — there may be a lack of jobs available Material constraints — we may lack the money to be able to broaden the area in which we search for work. How we act and see ourselves is informed by the expectations of the groups to which we belong — we are born into various groups e. First — there are ideas about what goals are worth pursuing Second — there is the matter of how we should pursue these goals Third — we are expected to identify with certain people and against others — those who might assist and prevent us from meeting expectations one and two.
Our reflexive character is built up by treating ourselves as objects of our own actions as they are understood through the responses of others. Here we first experience the contradiction between our inner desires and what we feel obliged to do because of the presence of significant others and their expectations of us. The question of exactly how society tames individual instincts and balances these with obligations has been further theorised by the likes of Nancy Chodorow and Norbert Elias.
Socialisation, Significance and Action The process of how our selves are formed and how instincts may or may not be suppressed is often given the name socialisation. This is a complex process which involves assigning differential significance to expectations, and goes on from childhood through to adult life.
Making a selection from our environments means choosing reference groups against which we can measure or actions and find the standards to which we aspire. We may, of course, aspire to be like groups apart from the ones we are born into, increasingly likely in the age of the mass media, where we are exposed to a range of potential groups which we might aspire to, but not actually be part of. Socialisation is a never ending process which involves a constant rebalancing of freedoms and dependencies.
Thinking Sociologically the Bauman and May way
What is Sociology? (Bauman and May)