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This image represents the interactions among entities that constitute a society studied by sociology. Credit: DarwinPeacock.

Sociology is the scientific study of society.


Note: Def. genus means "a group with common attributes" [1].

Social sciences[edit]

Def. a study of "society and human behavior in it"[1] is called a social science.

The social sciences include anthropology, communication, criminology, economics, geography, history, political science, psychology, social studies, and sociology.

Planetary social science[edit]

Def. a "subset of a culture or of a society"[2] is called a group.

Def. a "long-standing group of people sharing cultural aspects such as language, dress, norms of behavior and artistic forms"[3] is called a society.


  1. a "group of people who meet from time to time to engage in a common interest; an association or organization",[3]
  2. the "sum total of all voluntary interrelations between individuals",[3]
  3. the "people of one’s country or community taken as a whole",[3] or
  4. a "number of people joined by mutual consent to deliberate, determine and act toward a common goal"[3]

is called a society.

Def. "a grouping of individuals which are united by a network of social relations, traditions and may have distinctive culture and institutions"[4] is called a society.

"Society may also refer to ... [use] exclusively, within the upper class, see high society".[4]

"A society, or a human society, is a group of people involved with each other through persistent relations, or a large social grouping sharing the same geographical or social territory, subject to the same political authority and dominant cultural expectations."[5]


  1. "[t]he arts, customs, and habits that characterize a particular society or nation",[6]
  2. "[t]he beliefs, values, behaviour and material objects that constitute a people's way of life",[6]
  3. "[a]ny knowledge passed from one generation to the next, not necessarily with respect to human beings",[6] or
  4. "[t]he language and peculiarities of a geographical location"[6] is called a culture.

"A culture is the combination of the language that you speak and the geographical location you belong to. It also includes the way you represent dates, times and currencies."[6]

Def. the science and scientific descriptions of "specific human cultures and societies"[7] is called ethnography.

Colors of sociology[edit]

"[Sociology] is a social science".[8] It focuses on "human social activity, ... social policy and welfare, ... the theoretical understanding of social processes, ... microsociology, ... individual agency and interaction, ... macrosociology of systems and the social structure, ... social stratification, social class, social mobility, sociology of religion, secularisation, sociology of law, and deviance, ... sociology of health, medical sociology, military sociology and sociology of punishment [as in] penal institutions, sociology of the Internet, and the role of social activity in the development of sociology of scientific knowledge."[8]



  1. anything "movable (a good) that is bought and sold",[9]
  2. something "useful or valuable",[9]
  3. raw "materials, agricultural and other primary products as objects of large-scale trading in specialized exchanges",[9]
  4. undifferentiated "goods characterized by a low profit margin, as distinguished from branded products",[9] or
  5. anything "which has both a use-value and an exchange-value"[9]

is called a commodity.


  1. a "person who is the property of another person and whose labor and also whose life often is subject to the owner's volition",[10]
  2. a "person who is legally obliged by prior contract (oral or written) to work for another, with contractually limited rights to bargain; an indentured servant",[10]
  3. one "who has lost the power of resistance; one who surrenders to something",[10]
  4. a "drudge; one who labours like a slave",[10]
  5. an "abject person; a wretch",[10]
  6. a "person who is forced against his/her will to perform, for another person or other persons, sexual acts or other personal services on a regular or continuing basis",[10] or
  7. a "device that is controlled by another device"[10]

is called a slave.

Theoretical sociology[edit]

Def. the study of the development, structure, and functioning of human society is called sociology.

Def. the "study of society, human social interaction, and the rules and processes that bind and separate people not only as individuals, but as members of associations, groups, and institutions"[11] is called sociology.

Def. "the scientific study of society,[12]"[8] is called sociology.


"White males have long been the dominant group in sociology, and the sociological worldview understandably reflects the concerns of this group of practitioners."[13][14]

Strong forces[edit]

Def. "a social group that controls the value system and rewards in a particular society"[15] is called a dominant group, or dominant social group.

"Studies in group-living fish and mammals have shown that dominant group members can control group membership of subordinates, and failure to be accepted into a group or being evicted from a group can be costly for subordinates".[16]



A young girl waits to receive a blanket from the Afghan National Police during Khowst Provincial Reconstruction Team’s return visit to an orphanage in Khowst City Feb. 1, 2011. Credit: DVIDSHUB.

Def. "the branch of learning that includes the arts, classics, philosophy and history etc., but not the sciences"[17] is called the humanities.

The English letters juxtaposed to form humanities also spells the plural form of humanity.[17]


  1. "Mankind; human beings as a group.
  2. [t]he human condition or nature.
  3. [t]he quality of being benevolent.
  4. [h]umane traits of character; humane qualities or aspects"[18]

is called humanity.

"The term 'humanities' includes, but is not limited to, the study and interpretation of the following: language, both modern and classical; linguistics; literature; history; jurisprudence; philosophy; archaeology; comparative religion; ethics; the history, criticism and theory of the arts; those aspects of social sciences which have humanistic content and employ humanistic methods; and the study and application of the humanities to the human environment with particular attention to reflecting our diverse heritage, traditions, and history and to the relevance of the humanities to the current conditions of national life." --National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities Act, 1965, as amended.[19]

Human conditions[edit]

"The human condition encompasses the unique and believed to be inescapable features of being human."[20]

"It can be described as the irreducible part of humanity that is inherent and not dependent on factors such as gender, race or class. It includes concerns such as the meaning of life, the search for gratification, the sense of curiosity, the inevitability of isolation, or anxiety regarding the inescapability of death."[20]

The humanities are a set of disciplines and fields that "help us to understand the nature of the human condition and the broader cultural and social arrangements that make up human lives."[20]

"The human condition is the subject of such fields of study as philosophy, theology, sociology, psychology, anthropology, demographics, evolutionary biology, cultural studies, and sociobiology. The philosophical school of existentialism deals with core issues related to the human condition including the ongoing search for ultimate meaning."[20]

Humanistic methods[edit]

"Assisting participants to take responsibility for their own lives and choices (Perls et al., 1951), to deepen authenticity (Bugental, 1989; Yalom, 1980), and to increase interpersonal awareness through dialogical therapy (Friedman, 1985) are all humanistic methods."[21]

Humanistic sociology[edit]

"Humanistic sociology is a perspective. It is not an ideology or a prescription for social change. It "has relevance for many areas of sociology, especially methodology, applied sociology, and the very nature of the sociological enterprise itself.""[22]

"Four directions of concern are considered paramount-each one developed according to the emphases and approaches of humanistic sociology: (1) understanding social determinism, (2) relativizing culture, (3) developing a sense of social realism, and (4) instilling skills in critical evaluation."[23]

"Sociology has had a humanistic tradition for a long time; however, humanism in the social sciences has recently developed farthest in psychology. The humanistic psychology movement was established as a “third force” to transcend the limitations of behaviorism and psychoanalysis in dealing with a holistic and positive concern for man and his potentialities."[24]

Humanistic "views [...] challenge sociology to study institutions, cultural and social structures, and values which facilitate the growth of the individual and enhance his ability to make free and responsible choices."[24]


Def. the study of

  1. "The human mind",[25]
  2. "Human behavior and mental processes",[25]
  3. "Animal behavior",[25] or
  4. "Mental, emotional, and behavioral characteristics pertaining to a specified person, group, or activity"[25]

is called psychology.

Psychology is a social science which focuses on understanding the human mind, brain, and behaviour.

Social group[edit]

Def. "[a] collection of humans or animals, who share certain characteristics, interact with one another, accept expectations and obligations as members of the group, and share a common identity"[26] is called a social group.

Social psychology[edit]

A breakdown of psychosociology (sociopsychology) is diagrammed. Credit: Lucidish.

Def. the

  1. "interplay between the individual and society" and
  2. "study of how people and groups interact"[27]

is called social psychology.

Psychologists believe that the individual has an impact on society, whereas sociologists believe that society has an impact on the individual.

Psychosociology may be said to focus on an individual's location in the social order, their socialized roles, and historical social context.

Sociopsychology emphasizes an individual's mental processes, dispositions, experiences, and immediate social situation.

Both consider an individual to be a subject much as medicine views an individual as a patient.

Humanism considers the autonomous individual.



  1. Sociology should be the science of each society rather than only dominant groups.

Control groups[edit]

This is an image of a Lewis rat. Credit: Charles River Laboratories.

The findings demonstrate a statistically systematic change from the status quo or the control group.

“In the design of experiments, treatments [or special properties or characteristics] are applied to [or observed in] experimental units in the treatment group(s).[28] In comparative experiments, members of the complementary group, the control group, receive either no treatment or a standard treatment.[29]"[30]

Proof of concept[edit]

Def. a “short and/or incomplete realization of a certain method or idea to demonstrate its feasibility"[31] is called a proof of concept.

Def. evidence that demonstrates that a concept is possible is called proof of concept.

The proof-of-concept structure consists of

  1. background,
  2. procedures,
  3. findings, and
  4. interpretation.[32]

See also[edit]


  1. "social science, In: Wiktionary". San Francisco, California: Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. October 8, 2013. Retrieved 2013-11-14. 
  2. "group, In: Wiktionary". San Francisco, California: Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 15 July 2014. Retrieved 2014-07-24. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 "society, In: Wiktionary". San Francisco, California: Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. April 17, 2013. Retrieved 2013-04-26.  Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "SocietyWikt" defined multiple times with different content
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Society (disambiguation), In: Wikipedia". San Francisco, California: Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. April 13, 2013. Retrieved 2013-04-26. 
  5. "Society, In: Wikipedia". San Francisco, California: Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. April 25, 2013. Retrieved 2013-04-26. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 "culture, In: Wiktionary". San Francisco, California: Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. December 23, 2012. Retrieved 2013-03-01. 
  7. "ethnography, In: Wiktionary". San Francisco, California: Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. October 17, 2012. Retrieved 2013-01-14. 
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 "Sociology, In: Wikipedia". San Francisco, California: Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. July 22, 2012. Retrieved 2013-04-26. 
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 "commodity, In: Wiktionary". San Francisco, California: Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. October 20, 2013. Retrieved 2013-11-14. 
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 10.5 10.6 "slave, In: Wiktionary". San Francisco, California: Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. November 6, 2013. Retrieved 2013-11-14. 
  11. "sociology, In: Wiktionary". San Francisco, California: Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. January 1, 2013. Retrieved 2013-04-26. 
  12. Auguste Comte (2005). John Scott & Gordon Marshall. ed. A Dictionary of Sociology (3rd Ed). Oxford University Press. ISBN 0198609868 or 978-0198609865. 
  13. Patricia Hill Collins (1991). Mary Margaret Fonow and Judith A. Cook. ed. Learning from the Outsider Within The Sociological Significance of Black Feminist Thought, In: Beyond methodology: feminist scholarship as lived research. Indiana University Press. pp. 35-59. ISBN 0-253-20629-4. Retrieved 2011-09-02. 
  14. Patricia Hill Collins (October-December 1986). "Learning from the outsider within: The sociological significance of Black feminist thought". Social Problems 33 (6): S14-S32. Retrieved 2011-09-02. 
  15. Farlex (2009). "The Free Dictionary by Farlex: Mosby's Medical Dictionary, 8th edition". Elsevier. Retrieved 2011-09-07. 
  16. Michael Griesser, Magdalena Nystrand, Sönke Eggers and Jan Ekman (March 2008). "Social constraints limit dispersal and settlement decisions in a group-living bird species". Behavioral Ecology 19 (2): 317-24. doi:10.1093/beheco/arm131. 
  17. 17.0 17.1 "humanities, In: Wiktionary". San Francisco, California: Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. September 30, 2012. Retrieved 2012-12-30. 
  18. "humanity, In: Wiktionary". San Francisco, California: Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. December 22, 2012. Retrieved 2012-12-30. 
  19. National Endowment for the Humanities (December 2012). "About NEH". 1100 Pennsylvania Ave., NW Washington, D.C. 20506, USA: Retrieved 2012-12-30. 
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 20.3 "Human condition, In: Wiktionary". San Francisco, California: Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. January 13, 2013. Retrieved 2013-01-14. 
  21. Stella Resnick, Arthur Warmoth, Ilene A. Serlin (Winter 2001). "The Humanistic Psychology and Positive Psychology Connection: Implications for Psychotherapy". Journal of Humanistic Psychology 41 (1): 73-101. doi:10.1177/0022167801411006. Retrieved 2013-01-28. 
  22. John F. Glass (1971). "The humanistic challenge to sociology". Journal of Humanistic Psychology 11 (2): 170-93. doi:10.1177/002216787101100206. Retrieved 2014-07-24. 
  23. Hyman Mariampolski (January 1978). "Thoughts About Reasonable Goals for Introductory Sociology: A Humanistic Perspective". Teaching Sociology 5 (2): 141-50. Retrieved 2014-07-24. 
  24. 24.0 24.1 John F. Glass (1971). "Toward a Sociology of Being: The Humanistic Potential". Sociology of religion 32 (4): 191-8. doi:10.2307/3710228. Retrieved 2014-07-24. 
  25. 25.0 25.1 25.2 25.3 "psychology, In: Wiktionary". San Francisco, California: Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. October 6, 2013. Retrieved 2013-11-14. 
  26. "social group, In: Wiktionary". San Francisco, California: Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. November 10, 2012. Retrieved 2013-04-26. 
  27. "social psychology, In: Wiktionary". San Francisco, California: Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. October 8, 2013. Retrieved 2013-11-14. 
  28. Klaus Hinkelmann, Oscar Kempthorne (2008). Design and Analysis of Experiments, Volume I: Introduction to Experimental Design (2nd ed.). Wiley. ISBN 978-0-471-72756-9. 
  29. R. A. Bailey (2008). Design of comparative experiments. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-68357-9. 
  30. "Treatment and control groups, In: Wikipedia". San Francisco, California: Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. May 18, 2012. Retrieved 2012-05-31. 
  31. "proof of concept, In: Wiktionary". San Francisco, California: Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. November 10, 2012. Retrieved 2013-01-13. 
  32. Ginger Lehrman and Ian B Hogue, Sarah Palmer, Cheryl Jennings, Celsa A Spina, Ann Wiegand, Alan L Landay, Robert W Coombs, Douglas D Richman, John W Mellors, John M Coffin, Ronald J Bosch, David M Margolis (August 13, 2005). "Depletion of latent HIV-1 infection in vivo: a proof-of-concept study". Lancet 366 (9485): 549-55. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(05)67098-5. Retrieved 2012-05-09. 

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