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Chapter 1

THE HUMAN SOCIETY

Lesson 1 : UNDERSTANDING SOCIETY

Meaning of Society

Society is composed of interacting individuals and interacting groups shring a common culture.society is
a systematic network of social relations and it is the venue where the dynamics of cooperetion and
conflict occurs. It is in society where man can define his cultural identity, and see the structures that
exerts expectations and orders in him

The Sociological Theories and Perspectives of Society

The Structural-Functional Perspective- This concept is also known as the “Consensus Theory.” This
perspective addresses the question of sociological organization and how it is maintained. A sociologist
with this kind of concepts tries to identify th structures of society and how they function.

The Conflict Theory- This theory addresses the point of stress and conflict in society and the way they
contribute to social change. Conflict theorists view a society’s legal system as a political instrumental
used by the wealthy and powerful to protect and extend their own privileges, rather than a ratinal tool
for the resolution of conflict and preservtion of order.

The Symbolic-Interaction Perspective- This theory addresses the subjective meanigs of human acts and
the processes through which people come to develop and communicate shared meanings. Symbolic-
Interaction directs attention to analysis of the interaction of persons in face-to-face communication.

Lesson 2: THE NATURE OF STUDYING SOCIETY

Meaning of Sociology

Sociology is taken from Latin word “SOCIUS” meaning companion or associate and the Greek word
“LOGOS” meaning study. Combining the two words will mean the study of associates or companions.
Sociology is the study of human social relationships and institutions. Sociology's subject matter is
diverse, ranging from crime to religion, from the family to the state, from the divisions of race and social
class to the shared beliefs of a common culture, and from social stability to radical change in whole
societies. Unifying the study of these diverse subjects of study is sociology's purpose of understanding
how human action and consciousness both shape and are shaped by surrounding cultural and social
structures.

Importance of studying society

1. To understand the world we live in and the intricate realities of group interactions and social
processes;
2. To explain and understand human behavior in society;
3. To determine the existence of groups, their functions, nature and characteristics; and
4. To understand” how” and “why” human beings act the way they do.

The Emergence of Sociology

1. Auguste Comte (1798-1857) – A French mathematician and philosopher who proposed a


separate new science of society. This science was known as “Social Physics.” In 1839, he
changed it to “Sociology,” a word he invented. Comte divided Sociology into two areas:
A.) Social Static. It is concerned with the various parts of society and how these parts of
society are held together. At present, it is labeled as the SOCIAL STRUCTURE.
B.) Social Dynamics. It is concerned with the analysis of change within and among the
various parts of society. This area is now called the SOCIAL PROCESS.

He is generally considered as the “Founder of Sociology” and is best known for his six-
volume “Positive Philosophy,” Based on the philosophy of “POSITIVISM”, he identified
three stages in understanding society:
a.) Theological Stage- it is said that society is an expression of God’s will. Insofar as
human being is concerned-with the able guidance of the church man is capable of
fulfilling the divine plan.
b.) Metaphysical Stage- During this stage, people were less likely to see society as the
work of supernatural forces and placed more emphasis on the forces of nature.
c.) Scientific Stage –This is the final stage in understanding. This approach is called
positivism, which he defined as a path to understanding the world based on science.
The philosophy emphasizes the techniques of observation, comparison, and
experimentation in the development of knowledge regarding the nature of society
and human action.
2. Herbert Spencer (1820-1903) - A British philosopher-scientist who advanced the thesis that
evolution accounts for the development of social and natural life. Spencer is best known for
his social evolution. He also popularized the comparative method and the study of primitive
society.
3. Karl Marx (1818-1883) - A philosopher, economist and a social activist, Marx regarded
private property and capitalism as the root causes of poverty. Two of the most enduring
legacies of Karl Marx are his theories of “Economic Determinism “and the “Dialectic.” Marx,
who is also a German, looked at history as a battle field between different social classes.

a.) Economic Determinism- it means that economic relationships provide the foundation of
which all other social and political arrangements are built. He believed that family
structure, law, and religion would be development after adapting to the economic
structure.
b.) The Dialectic- Marx viewed change as a product of contradictions and conflict between
parts of society. He predicted that the conflict between the “haves” and the “haves-
nots” or the ruling class and the working class respectively, would lead to a new
economic system. The dialectic advocates that conflict is the only factor that can bring
change to a society. Marx hoped to encourage conflict and ignite the revolution that
would bring about the desired change.
4. Emile Durkheim (1858-1919) A French intellectual who viewed society as a total entity, as
something more than the sum of its parts. The combination of the parts, according to
Durkheim, will produce a new thing that the nature of which could not be observed in part
alone.
5. Max Weber – A German economist, historian and philosopher, Weber believes that to
understand the behavior of the individual. Weber’s work was the basis for “Verstehen
Sociology,” which emphasizes the subjective meaning of human actions. Weber also
believed that we are moving towards a bureaucratic society that is based