What is Sociology? Meaning, Scope, Nature, Importance & More


What is Sociology?

The field of Sociology studies society, including patterns of social relationships, social interaction, and culture. It explores how social influences affect human behaviour and how societies develop, change, and function. Sociologists investigate the structure of groups, organizations, and societies and how people interact within these contexts. This field encompasses a wide range of topics, such as family, religion, education, crime, and race, among others.

History and Nature of Sociology 

Sociology emerged as a distinct discipline in the early 19th century during a period of significant social and intellectual change. Several key factors contributed to its development:

The Enlightenment

The Enlightenment period (18th century) emphasized reason, science, and empirical evidence, challenging traditional authority and beliefs. Philosophers John Locke, Voltaire, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau discussed society, governance, and human nature, setting the stage for sociological thought.

Industrial Revolution

The Industrial Revolution (late 18th to early 19th century) brought massive social changes, including urbanization, new social classes, and altered family structures. These changes highlighted the need to understand and address social issues scientifically.

Political Revolutions

The American and French Revolutions questioned traditional social and political orders, promoting ideas of democracy, equality, and individual rights. These upheavals fostered interest in understanding social order and change.

Scientific Advancements

Progress in natural sciences inspired scholars to apply scientific methods to the study of society. This led to the development of systematic approaches to understanding social phenomena.

Auguste Comte (1798-1857), who is the father of sociology, introduced the term “sociology” and proposed a positivist approach to studying society, seeking to apply the scientific method to social research. Comte, who is the father of sociology vision of sociology as a science to discover the laws of human behaviour and society influenced the discipline’s early development.

Nature of Sociology

The nature of sociology is defined by several key characteristics. Firstly, sociology employs a scientific approach, utilizing systematic and empirical methods to study social phenomena. This involves observation, experimentation, and analysis to draw conclusions about social behaviour and structures. Secondly, sociology examines social relationships, focusing on how individuals interact within groups, organizations, and societies. It studies the patterns and consequences of these interactions, including the formation of social norms, roles, and institutions. Additionally, sociologists explore diversity and inequality, investigating issues related to race, gender, ethnicity, and class and how these factors contribute to social inequality and power dynamics.

Furthermore, sociology investigates social institutions, such as family, education, religion, and the economy, analyzing how social behaviour shapes and shapes them. It is also concerned with social change, striving to understand how and why societies evolve over time. This includes studying social movements, technological advancements, and shifts in cultural values and norms. Finally, sociology takes a holistic perspective, considering the influence of individual actions and larger social forces. It seeks to understand the interplay between personal experiences and societal structures. 

Scope of Sociology 

The scope of sociology is extensive, covering various dimensions of social life, behaviour, and structures. It includes the study of major social institutions such as family, education, religion, government, and the economy, examining their functions, structures, and impacts on individuals and society. Sociology also focuses on social stratification, exploring hierarchical arrangements based on class, caste, race, gender, and other forms of inequality, and the processes that maintain or challenge these hierarchies. 

Additionally, it delves into socialization, investigating how individuals learn and internalize societal norms, values, and roles. The discipline also examines social change, studying how societies evolve over time through movements, technological advancements, and cultural shifts. Furthermore, sociology analyzes social interactions and relationships within groups, communities, and networks, considering micro-level individual behaviours and macro-level societal trends. By addressing these and other areas, sociology provides a comprehensive understanding of the complexities of human social life and the dynamics of societal change.

Scope of Sociology in India

The scope of sociology in India extends further into various realms that deeply influence the country’s social fabric and trajectory. It scrutinizes the intricate interplay between tradition and modernity, examining how cultural practices and norms adapt or resist in the face of rapid social transformations. Sociology also investigates issues of social mobility and aspirations, exploring how individuals and communities navigate opportunities and challenges in pursuit of socio-economic advancement. 

Additionally, it delves into the complexities of governance, bureaucracy, and public administration, analyzing their effectiveness in addressing social issues and delivering public services. Moreover, sociology in India engages with emerging areas such as environmental sociology, studying the intersections between society and the environment and the implications for sustainable development and ecological justice. Furthermore, it examines the role of media, technology, and communication in shaping public discourse, collective identities, and social movements, highlighting their influence on social change and activism. By exploring these multifaceted dimensions, sociology in India provides critical insights into the complexities of contemporary Indian society and contributes to fostering inclusive, equitable, and resilient communities.

Importance of Sociology 

The importance of sociology is multifaceted and far-reaching. Firstly, it offers a comprehensive understanding of society by unraveling its structure, norms, and institutions, shedding light on how societies function and evolve. Secondly, sociology is crucial for addressing pressing social issues such as poverty, inequality, and discrimination. By identifying their root causes and consequences, sociologists can advocate for policies that promote social welfare and justice. Thirdly, sociology serves as a champion for social justice, highlighting disparities and mobilizing efforts to challenge systems of oppression and discrimination based on factors like race, gender, and class. Additionally, sociological research informs public policy decisions by providing evidence-based insights into social phenomena and the effectiveness of interventions. Furthermore, sociology fosters social change by analyzing social movements and activism and supporting efforts to create more inclusive and democratic societies. Lastly, sociology enhances interpersonal relationships by offering insights into communication, group dynamics, and socialization, facilitating better understanding and empathy among individuals. In essence, sociology’s importance lies in its ability to illuminate the complexities of human social life and contribute to positive social change and human welfare.

About JGU BA Sociology Programme

The B.A. (Hons.) in Sociology programme offered by Jindal School of Liberal Arts and Humanities (JSLH) is designed to equip students with the necessary tools and knowledge to analyze and address the challenges faced by contemporary societies. Through a comprehensive curriculum, students gain a deep understanding of the institutions shaping individual and collective relationships, including family, education, politics, law, religion, and the arts. Emphasizing methodology, theory, holism, and policy, the programme enables students to explore society and culture through various lenses and debates. Students also learn to understand the interconnectedness of different societal levels and how sociological insights can be applied to real-world contexts, including policy development and implementation.

The programme at JSLH offers a wide range of career opportunities, preparing graduates for employment in diverse sectors dealing with social issues directly or indirectly. Graduates can pursue careers in the “Third Sector” with NGOs and not-for-profit organizations, the education sector through teaching and research, civil service, human resources, journalism, corporate sectors, and global organizations like UN agencies. 

Additionally, sociology graduates find opportunities in fields such as environment, consumer industries, media, communications, humanitarian work, public health, tourism, government, public policy, law, think tanks, and international fellowships and postgraduate programmes abroad in related disciplines. With its applied focus and interdisciplinary approach, the B.A. (Hons.) in Sociology programme at JSLH prepares graduates to thrive in a rapidly changing global professional landscape.


What are some popular job roles after a BA in Sociology?

After a BA in Sociology, popular job roles include social worker, research assistant, human resources specialist, community outreach coordinator, and market researcher. These roles involve analyzing societal trends, advocating for social change, and addressing community needs.

Are there any good colleges for BA in Sociology in India?

Yes, several reputable colleges in India offer BA programs in Sociology. Some well-known institutions include Delhi University, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Presidency University in Kolkata, Madras School of Social Work, and Banaras Hindu University (BHU). 

Each of these colleges provides quality education in sociology with opportunities for research and practical application. Jindal Global University (JGU) is another esteemed institution in India offering a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Sociology. Known for its interdisciplinary approach and emphasis on research, JGU provides a comprehensive education in sociology, preparing students for diverse career paths in the field.

What are some subjects we study in BA Sociology?

In a BA in Sociology program, students study subjects like Introduction to Sociology, Sociological Theories, Research Methods, Social Stratification, Sociology of Family, Urban and Rural Sociology, Sociology of Religion, Education, Gender, Health, Criminology, Environmental Sociology, Industrial Sociology, and Political Sociology, covering diverse aspects of social life and institutions.

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