Why It Matters: Foundations of Sociology

Why study sociology?

Colorful cut-outs of people who are standing side by side around the earth.
Figure 1. Sociology is the scientific study of society and social interactions.

The things you learn about in this course will serve you well, no matter your major or your career path. We are all members of society and we all experience a variety of social interactions every day, so learning about sociology helps us to better understand our social world. In addition, sociology can help us become more informed citizens as we work to understand the issues we face both as individuals and as members of groups. Furthermore, sociology complements many other subject areasfrom medicine to business, law to the arts and humanities, and other social sciences.

In this module, we first establish a foundational understanding of what sociology is and review its history. Then, we will learn about the main theoretical perspectives central to sociology, and we will see how they can be applied in the real world.

You will come to find that sociology is pertinent to every aspect of your life. You may see yourself as an individual, but by virtue of your gender, race, class, sexual orientation, ethnicity, religion, or even consumption habits, you are also a member of several social groups, all of which are interacting constantly. You also operate as in individual within society and thus encounter a variety of social institutions such as government, the economy, religion, education, and the criminal justice system in your everyday life.

Did you know that the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., Ronald Reagan, Robin Williams, and First Lady Michelle Obama were all sociology majors? Chances are good that you will find the subject fascinating, too!



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Introduction to Sociology Lumen/OpenStax Copyright © 2021 by Lumen Learning & OpenStax is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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