Introduction to Sociology

What you’ll learn to do: define sociology and describe the historical and social context from which it emerged

Crowded escalator in the subway.

Figure 1. Sociologists study how society affects people and how people affect society. (Photo courtesy of Diego Torres Silvestre/flickr)

Sociology is the scientific study of social behavior and human groups. Sociology has many sub-sections of study—ranging from the analysis of conversations, to the development of theories, to explaining how the world works. This section will introduce you to sociology, give a brief history of the discipline, and demonstrate how sociology can help you understand the world around you using sociological theories.