The term sociology was coined (used) by Auguste Comte, a French Philosopher, in 1839, who is one of the founding fathers of sociology. Others three are Max Webber, Ermile Durkhiemade and Herbert Spencer. Auguste Comte introduced to the term ‘sociology’ in his famous book “The Course Of Positive Philoshopy”. The teaching of sociology as a separate discipline started in 1876 in the USA; in 1889 in France. The department of sociology/anthropology was established in 1981 in Nepal, under the chairmanship of Chaitayjaat Mishra at TU.

Sociology is the youngest of all the social science. The word ‘sociology’ is derived from the Latin word ‘societo’ meaning ‘society’ and the Greek word ‘logos’ meaning ‘study or science’. Thus, the etymological meaning of ‘sociology’ is the science of society. Sociology is the study of man’s behaviour in groups or of the interaction among human beings of social relationship and the processes by which human group activity takes place. In general, the major subjects of the sociology are society and human behaviour. Therefore, we can say sociology is not only study of man’s behaviour, it is the science of society, or of social phenomena, it studies of the relationships between man and his environment. Sociology is also the scientific study of the structural of socialize and society.

Now we may come to conclusion that sociology is concerned with human relationship, its emphasis is on the ‘social aspect of these relationships. Its real subject matter is social relationship. The basis of social interaction or social processes is social relationships. Man becomes a social animal only when he enters into social relationship. The different aspects of social life viz. political in economic are but the expressions of social relationship economic are but the expressions of social relationships. The sociologists attempt to discover the evolution of society, its systems and structures, the development of social institutions and their functions, the customs and rules regulating social relationships, and the phenomena of social change.

Some of the definitions of sociology are given below:

  1. ‘Sociology is the study of human interaction and interrelationship their condition and consequences.’ – M. Gimsberg
  2. ‘Sociology is the science which attempts the interpretive understanding of social action.’ – Max Weber
  3. ‘Sociology may be defined as a body of knowledge about human relationships. – J.F. Cuber’
  4. Sociology is a body of learning about society. It is a description of ways to make society better. It is a social ethics, a social philosophy. Generally, however it is defined as a science of society. –W.F. Ogburn

Sociology is a science of society of social relationship, study of social life, study of human behaviour in group, study of social action, forms of social relationship, social groups or social system.

On the basis of these definitions we may conclude the science of society and society is the web of social relationship. Thus, sociology is the science which studies the social relationships that happen in the process of interaction and interrelation among individuals in social groups. Therefore, forms of social relationship is the subject matter of society.

Nature of sociology:

  1. It is an independent science, not treated as the branch of other
  2. Related to other social sciences like economics, political science, psychology, history, anthropology, dealing with the various
  3. Aims to get the knowledge of social phenomena and it may apply the proper knowledge for the welfare of human
  4. It doesn’t deal with each and every events that takes place in the society, rather it tries to make generalization on the basis of the study of some related
  5. Silence on the question of value as a discipline, it can’t deal with the problems of good and bad, right or
  6. Based on rationalism and

1.1    Scope of Sociology

There is no one opinion about the scope of sociology. It is difficult to determine just where its boundaries begin and end. It is maintained by some that sociology studies everything and anything under the sun.

In the broadest sense, society is the study of human interactions and interrelations, their conditions and consequences. Thus, ideally, sociology has for its field the whole life of man in society. But this is too wide a scope for any science to deal with properly.

There are two main schools of though among sociologists on this issue:

  1. Specialistic or Formalistic School:
  2. This group of writers headed by German Sociologist Simmel’s
  3. Simmel demarcates sociology sociology clearly from other branches of social study and confines it to the enquiry into certain defined aspects of human
  4. They regard society as pure and
  5. According to Simmel, society is a specific social science which describes, classified, analyses and delineates the form of social
  6. Small’s View: The scope of sociology is the study of the general forms of social relationship, behavour and activities,
  7. Max Weber’s View: Sociology concerned with the analysis and classification of types of social relationship.
  8. Sociology studies are specific aspect of social relationships i.e. their forms in their abstract nature, and not in any concrete situation. Bottle’s example
  9. If school has limited scope of sociology to the abstracted study of the forms of social relationships.

Criticism of Formalistic School:

  1. It has narrowed the scope of
  2. Abstract forms separated from concrete relations cannot be
  3. The conception of pure society is
  4. Sociology alone does not study social relationships.

2. Synthetic School

  1. This school wants to make sociology a synthesis of the social sciences or a general
  2. This group is headed by Durkheim, Hebhouse and
  3. Durkheim’s View: Sociology has three principal division viz. a) social morphology b) social physiology c) General sociology
  4. The study of relationship between the different aspects of social phenomena: Sorokim’s
  5. Recently a sociological seminar was held in America which gave a general outline of the scope of the sociology. Alex Inkeles has put it as follows:
    1. Social Analysis b) Primary Concepts of Social Life
    1. c) Basic Social Institution d) Process


The scope of sociology is very wide. It is a general science but it is also a special science. As a matter of fact, the subject matter of all social sciences is society.

Formalistic (short form)

Sociology deals with same topic as other sciences deal but from different angles of different modes of social relationship.

This school of thought has been criticized as it has unreasonably narrowed the field of sociology.


It advocates sociology as the synthesis of social science. All the aspect of social life are inter- related. The specific study of a particular aspect of the social event is not enough to describe the event and hence sociology should study the social life from various aspects and in totality.

* Sociology also seen separate with other science but internally there is also mutual relationship among these science.

1.1 Relationships of Sociology with other sciences

Social is a science of society as a whole. It studies the social life as a whole. Due to the complexity of social life, it is impossible to isolate social problems from the whole range of human experience. The life of man is many-sided. There is economic aspect, as aesthetic aspect, a religious aspect, etc. Therefore, sociology can understand social life as a whole with the help of other social sociology and other social sciences have much in common. Recently, there has been a gradual coming together of various disciplinary. There is a certain kind of relationship between sociology and other social sciences.

A. Sociology and History


  1. Both of them are social
  2. Schoolars are accepted. Strong relationship between both social
  3. History is sociology of past
  4. Sociology is a history of present
  5. Sociology has achieved support to explain the present events by helping ancient event of history.
  6. For example:
    1. History studies of the war
    1. Sociology analysis its socio-impact


1. Sociology is a general science which focuses on all types of social relationship.1. History is a special science which only focuses on historical events.
2. Sociology is related to present phenomena.2. History is related to past events.
3. Sociology is the science which studies the abstract phenomena.3. History is the science which studies the concrete events.
4. Sociology finds are experimented.4. Historical findings are not experimental.

B. Sociology and Economic


  1. Economic relation is an aspect of social relation; this point view explains that both sciences are inter-dependent with each other.
  2. The fact that society is influenced by economic factors while economic processes are largely determined by the social environments clearly proves that the relationship between sociology and economics is very


1. Sociology studies the social relationship.1.     Economics      studies     the     economic relationship.
2.  Sociology studies all the aspects of social life.2. Economics studies only the economic aspect of social life.
3. Sociology is a general science.3. Economics is a special science.
4. Sociology deals with the group.4. Economics deals with the individual.
5. Sociology is a science of only recent  growth.5. Economics is much older than sociology.

C. Sociology and Political Science

Sociology and political science are closely related to one another. Political science is a branch of social science dealing with the principles: Organization and Government of Human Society. It is rightly said that without the sociological background, the study of political science will be incomplete.

Sociology is also dependent upon political science for its complete study. The special study of political science is done by this subject.

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 branch of social science dealing with the principles of organization and government of human society.

* The forms of government, the nature of governmental organs, the laws and sphere of the state activity, which are the subjects of political science, on the one hand, and these are determined by the social process which is subject of sociology on the other hand.

Branches of Sociology Sub-division of Sociology

Social life is composed by so many social aspects. All these aspects are the subject matter of sociology. So, naturally sociology has many branches which are determined by various social aspects. Sociology has covered all the aspects of social life and society. It is going to be very popular subject in the upcoming days due to its accessibility to every parts of social life. So, sociology has succeeded to open its own specialized branch. The major branches of sociology are given as follows:

  1. Historical Sociology: It studies the historical events which are related with society and man. It employs historical and comparative study method. Its study methods are historical and comparative.
  2. Sociology of Knowledge: It is recently developed. It studies the knowledge which is social product. This branch argues that human knowledge is influenced by human society and its structure.
  3. Sociology of Education: It studies the academic institution and organization. Its focus point of study is system of education or college or
  4. Sociology of Ecology: It is related with environment. Its subject matter is now to impact of environment on living

Life of the society is indispensable for the complete study of the society as a whole. The differences between sociology and political science are as follows:

SociologyPolitical Science
1.        Sociology is the science of society.
2.        The scope of sociology is wide.
3.        Sociology deals with social man.
4.        Sociology is a general science.
5.        Sociology is the study of both organized and unorganized communities.
6.        Sociology    deals    with   conscious                    and unconscious activities of man.
7.        Sociology goes behind this assumption and tries to explain how and why man becomes a political being.
1.        Political science is the science of state.
2.        The scope of political is very limited.
3.        Political Science deals with political man.
4.        Political Science is a special science.
5.        Political science deals with organized communities only.
6.        Political science deals with conscious activities only.
7.        Political      science      starts      with     the assumption that man is a political being.

Sociology and Psychology

Social psychology deals with mental processes of man considered as a social being. It studies particularly the influence of group life in the mental development of individuals. On the other hand, sociology studies the various kinds of groups which compose the society.

Social psychology has to depend on sociology to understand properly human nature and behaviour as it is sociology which provides the necessary mate of societies to which individuals belong. As a result of the close relation between sociology and social psychology Karl Pearson does not accept the two as separate sciences.

Some differences between sociology and social psychology are as follows:

1.        Sociology deals with the social process of human society.
2.        The scope of sociology is wide.
3.        Sociology is a general science.
4.        Experimental method is not possible in sociological study.
5.        Group is the unit of analysis in the sociology.
1.        Psychology    deals    with    the    psychic process of human being.
2.        The scope of psychology is limited.
3.        Psychology is a special science.
4.        Experimental     method    is     useful     in psychological study.
5.        Individuals are the unit of analysis in psychology.

Sociology and Anthropology

Sociology and anthropology are so closely related sciences that they often appear as two names for the same field of inquiry. Sociology is the science of society and anthropology is the science of man. Both society and man are complementary to each other. Anthropology is mainly divided into two categories:

  1. Physical Anthropology Cultural Anthropology

The subject matter of sociology and cultural anthropology are more or less the same. Both of them study culture, marriage, family, kinship, religion, etc. Due to this close relationship between these two, there is a combined department of sociology and anthropology at most of the universities of the world.

Differences between Anthropology and Sociology

1.                 Anthropology is the study of whole society. It studies its political, legal problems, family organization, religions, art, industries and occupation.
2.                 It studies the primitive society.  
3.                 Anthropology studies cultures which are small and static.
4.                 Anthropology is the study of man and his culture as they developed in times long past.
5.                 It participates observation method.
6.                 Anthropology    is    not   concerned   with social planning. It does not make any suggestions for the future.
1.                 Sociology studies only its particular aspects. The main focus of sociology is social interaction.  
2.                 It does not studies only primitive study but studies modern society too.
3.                 Sociology studies civilizations which are vast and dynamics.
4.                 Sociology studies the same phenomena as they are at present.
5.                 It employs sampling method.
6.                 Sociology is concerned with both social philosophy and social planning.

Sociology of Law: It was developed in Europe. This branch of sociology studies the interrelationship and interaction among the law society and social institution. It studies the law as major formal means of social control.

Rural Sociology: It studies the rural society with scientific way, which developed in America. According to A.R. Dasai, “Rural sociology is the science of rural society.”

Urban Sociology: It studies the industrial society to which we call urban society.

Industrial Society: It studies related with industrial relations and industrial activities of man.

Economic Sociology: It is also recognized as sociology of economic life. It studies these kinds of complex activities which are related with production, distribution, exchange, consumption and services.

Political  Sociology:     It is developed for study and search of political process, organizations, institution with sociological point of viewer perspective.

Other Branches:

Sociology has many branches which are mentioned below:

  1. Sociology of Religion
  2. Sociology of Military
  3. Sociology of Crime
  4. Sociology of Art
  5. Sociology of Medicine
  6. Sociology of Communication
  7. Sociology of Recreation
  8. Sociology of Sexual Behaviour
  9. Sociology of Social Evils
  10. Sociology of Caste
  11. Sociology of Small Group
  12. Sociology of Psychology
  13. Sociology of Service
  14. Sociology of International Relation
  15. Sociology of Development & Planning

Primary Stage

*    400 years ago, Unani (Greek Philosophers) have introduced sociological thoughts.

*    Father of Pal science – Aristotle

*    Father of History – Herodotus

*    Cicero, St. Augustine, Lucretius, etc

*    The study of social relationship was determined by political aspects.

*    They were either attacking or defending their own social system.

Second Stage

*    13 century is considered to be second stage.

*    One’s life is found to be full of religious blind beliefs.

*    This is also called as conservative age.

*    One believes more in religion and magic in this stage.

*    Dante, Thomas – The social system existing at the time was the divinely sanctioned one.

Third Stage

*    15 century is considered to be third stage.

*    Machiavelli, Sir Thomas More, vico – scientific investigation of social phenomena, Hobbes, Malthus, Montesque, The spirit of laws, losseacy, etc.

*    Scientific methods are found to be applied to study the society.

*    Political science, economic, psychology, social psychology are found to be developed.

Fourth Stage

*    This stage initiates from 19th century.

*    Simple methods are developed to study the society.

*  August Comte introduced social physics – man goes progressively through three stages of   social development – theological, meta physical and scientific. Man has now reached the scientific stage. But his thinking about society was still in the meta physical stage.

*    Darwin’s simple to complex – survival of the fittest

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