Relation of Sociology with Other Social Sciences
Sociology is the scientific study of the structure and changes of human groups in relation to their members and other groups. Sociology is not. The relationship between sociology and other social sciences. Sociology can be defined as the science that deals with human relationship. It is the study of how. For our precise understanding of the relationship between sociology and other social sciences we have to discuss them individually, which are discussed below: .
As they all have a common subject—human social behaviour, it is but natural that they should be interrelated. The old barriers are crumbling. The talk of inter-disciplinary approach is much in the air. However, sociologists continue to emphasize the intellectual autonomy of the field of sociology. Attempts shall be made to explain the connection and distinction between Sociology and some of the more important social sciences in what follows: Sociology and History are so intimately related that writers like Von-Bulow have refused to acknowledge Sociology as a science distinct from History.
History is the record of the life of societies of men, of the changes which the societies have gone through, of the ideas which have determined the actions of these societies and of the material conditions which have helped or hindered their development. Sociology is concerned with the study of the historical development of the societies. It studies the various stages of life, modes of living, customs, manners and their expression in the form of social institutions.
Sociology has thus to depend upon history for its material. History supplies facts which are interpreted and co-ordinated by the sociologists. In the same way sociology gives the social background for the study of history. History is now being studied from the sociological point of view. It is rightly said that the Study of history would be meaningless without the appreciation of social significance.
If history is to be useful to understand the present and to serve as a guide for the future, sociological interpretation of facts is absolutely essential. It is because of their such mutual dependence upon each other that has led G. Howard to remark that History is past Sociology, and Sociology is present History. But inspite of their close relationship the two subjects are distinct, i History is concrete and sociology is abstract.
There is much in history that has no direct relation to Sociology, while there is much in Sociology which is not in history. The sociologist would try to find out the common aspects of the events recorded by historians and then to generalise, ii Sociology and History have different attitudes. History would deal with events in all their aspects while sociology would study them from the viewpoint of social relationship involved. For example, the historians would describe a war, all the circumstances accompanied with it, while sociologists would try to understand a war as a social phenomenon.
They will study its impact on the lives of the people, their social institutions, etc. Sociology and Political Science: Sociology and political science have been very closely related to each other till recently. The two subjects have even now much in common. Political science is a branch of social science dealing with the principles of organisation and government of human society. In other words, Political Science deals with the social groups organised under the sovereign of the state.
It is rightly said that without the sociological background the study of political science will be incomplete. The forms of government, the nature of governmental organs, the laws and sphere of the state activity are determined by the social process.
The special study of political life of the society is indispensable for the complete study of the society as a whole. According to Comte and Spencer, there is no difference whatsoever between the two.
Catlin has remarked that political science and sociology are two facets or aspects of the same figure. In the opinion of F. Eminent sociologists like Durkheim, Malinowski, Parsons, Spencer, Mertons, Max Weber and Leryhaix made important contributions in the field of political science.
Political Sociology is an inter-disciplinary science which seeks to combine sociological and political approaches.
Relationship of sociology with other social sciences
The two subjects are, however, different from each other. The scope of Sociology is much wider than that of Political Science. Political Science studies the state and government only, whereas sociology studies all the social institutions.
Sociology being the science of society it deals with man in all his associated processes, while Political Science being the science of the political society is concerned with only one form of human association.
Political science is a special science. Political organisation is a special kind of social organisation and that is why political science is a special science while sociology is a general science.
Political Science deals with organised communities only. Sociology deals with both organised and unorganised communities whereas Political Science is concerned only with organised communities. As such sociology is prior to Political Science. Unlike Political Science which treats only conscious activities of man, sociology treats unconscious activities of man also. Political Science starts with the assumption that man is a political being; sociology goes behind this assumption and tries to explain how and why man became a political being.
Sociology and Anthropology lie so close together that they often appear as two names for the same field of enquiry. Thus according to its etymological meaning, Anthropology is the study of man as such that is a study of the development of human race. Anthropology has thus a very wide field of study. Anthropology has been divided into three divisions: Anthropology thus devotes its attention entirely to the study of man and his culture as they developed in times long past.
Sociology, on the other hand, studies the same phenomena as they exist at present. In fact the historical part of Sociology is identical with Cultural Anthropology.
Anthropology has contributed substantially to the study of Sociology. Sociology has to depend upon Anthropology to understand the present day social phenomena from our knowledge of the past.
Sociology has borrowed cultural area, cultural traits, interdependent traits, cultural lag and other conceptions from social anthropology on whose basis cultural sociology has developed. The discoveries of Linton and Kardiner have influenced sociology in no small degree. From their researches it is evident that each society has its own culture and the personality of its members is moulded according to it in their infancy. Likewise the research done by Malinowski has proved valuable to sociology.
He has given a functional view point to the study of culture. The researches of Franz Boas and Otto Kineberg have proved that there is no co-relation between anatomical characteristics and mental superiority. The concept of racial superiority has been disproved by anthropology. Karoeber has called sociology and anthropology twin sisters. Evans Pritchard considers social anthropology to be a branch of sociology. In the same way, some of the conclusions drawn by sociologists have also helped the anthropologists.
For example, anthropologists like Morgan and his followers have come to the conclusion regarding the existence of primitive communism from the conception of private property in our modern society. It studies its political and legal problems, family organisation, religion, art, industries and occupations etc.
Sociology studies only its particular aspects. The focus of sociologist is social interaction. Secondly, Anthropology studies cultures which are small and static while Sociology studies civilizations which are vast and dynamic.
Thirdly, Anthropology and Sociology are separate sciences as the former is the study of man and his culture as they developed in times long past; while the latter studies the same phenomena as they are at present. It does not make any suggestions for the future. The fact that society is influenced by economic factors while economic processes are largely determined by the social environments clearly proves that the relation between Sociology and Economics is very intimate.
Economics is defined as a study of mankind in ordinary business of life or to be more exact, it is the science of wealth in its three phases of production, distribution and consumption. It is thus concerned with that part of individual and social action which is most closely connected with the attainment and with use of material requisites of well being.
Economics, in other words, is concerned with material welfare of the human beings.
The Relationship of Sociology with Other Social Sciences
But economic welfare is only a part of human welfare and it can be sought only with the proper knowledge of social laws. Economics cannot go far ahead without the help of sociology and other social sciences. For instance, in order to solve economic problems of unemployment, poverty, business cycle or inflation an economist has to take into consideration the social phenomena existing at the particular time.
Sociology is thus of considerable help to economics in providing specific data into which economic generalisations may be fitted.
Economic and social order is inextricably interwoven. Many of the problems of sociology and economics are common. The problems of population growth, environmental pollution, slum clearance, child and family welfare, and urbanisation are as much economic as sociological which cannot be solved unless and until the social attitudes of the people are given due consideration.
The theories of socialism, communism, democracy and welfare state are nothing but the theories of social reorganisation. Economic forces play a very important role in every aspect of our social life. It is for this reason that sociologists have been concerned with economic institutions. The earliest sociologists like Spencer have included the economic activity of man in their analysis of social relationships.
Sumner, Durkheim and Weber also approached the study of society through its economic institutions. Karl Marx and Fredrick Engels had gone to the extent of asserting that economic factor was the sole motive force of the society. Since their times, economic determination Economic conditions have a determining influence over the social has found a significant place in the theories of many social scientists seeking to explain this vital phenomenon.
In spite of inter-dependence of these two sciences, as explained above they are quite distinct from each other, i the field of sociology is wider, firstly, the field of Economics is restricted only to the economic activities of man whereas Sociology is concerned with all the relationships which are not simply economic but social. The scope of Sociology is thus much wider than that of economics; ii Sociology has a comprehensive viewpoint. But a sociologist, on the other hand, is primarily interested in the social aspects of economic activities rather than in the mechanism of production and distribution, iii Economics is much older than Sociology.
Thirdly, economics is much older a science than sociology. Though philosophers like Comte would subordinate economics to, and include it in sociology. Sociology is a science of only recent growth whereas economics has attained an advanced degree of maturity. It has been realised from ancient times that Geography has a great impact on human society, the influences of geographical conditions on human society are predominant and that there is a close relationship between physical conditions and social phonemena.
Geographical environment as defined by MacIver consists of those conditions that nature provides for man. Political science It emerged after the development of economics and focused on political philosophy and the ideals of good government.
Political scientists have come to use more numerical data such as voting records or numbers of people holding certain attitudes. They have also begun to focus on actual political behaviors more than on political philosophies. Today the interests of political scientists study the voting behavior and public opinion formation on which they depend much on sociologists.
History Some historians claim that history is a series of unique events which can only be described separately and which never form patterns or trends. They see history as part of humanities rather than as a social science. Other historians provide comparisons across time or record, disappearing styles of life, they resemble sociologists who study the past. Few historians borrow sociological methods for analyzing numerical data and some sociologists include historical background in their studies of communities, class structures or organizational change.
Psychology It explores both biological and the social origins of human behavior. Physiological psychology considers the physical processes that underlie thinking, feeling and perceiving. Social psychology focuses on what happens inside individuals, including personality development and how they are influenced by the groups, societies and cultures they belong. Social psychology is then well established in both psychology and sociology departments. Social work It is concerned with helping people who have problems.
Social workers provide variety of services such as situations, administering public assistance to welfare mothers, counseling young people and helping ex-convicts find jobs. Therefore sociological understanding may assist social workers as they do their job and sociologists often want their studies to help people.