Sociology pp 1-18 | Cite as


  • Steve Taylor


Sociology is the most ambitious of all the social sciences. It is concerned with all that happens to people in terms of their relations with each other and the scope of its inquiries can range from things such as the mass movement of populations over centuries to two commuters catching each other’s eye on the morning train to work The key idea of sociology is that the lives of individuals cannot be understood apart from the social contexts in which they live. This chapter aims to introduce readers to the idea of ‘sociological thinking’, Illustrate the importance of theory for all sociological research and outline the key areas of applied sociological research around which this book is organized. it should help you understand:
  • The key questions sociologists ask about human societies

  • Why all social research is theory dependent

  • What the central areas of applied sociological research are

  • The relationship of sociology to modernity


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Further Reading

  1. Bauman, Z. Thinking Sociologically, Oxford, Blackwell, 1990. A readable collection of essays from a leading sociologist using everyday examples to illustrate what it means to think sociologically.Google Scholar
  2. Bourdieu, P. Sociology in Question, London, Sage, 1993. A collection of interviews, talks and question and answer sessions exploring some central issues in sociology.Google Scholar
  3. Giddens, A. Sociology: A Brief but Critical Introduction, 2nd edn, Basingstoke, Macmillan, 1986. An accessible introduction to the origins of sociology and some of its key themes.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Mills, C. The Sociological Imagination, London, Penguin, 1959. One of the classic statements of sociology’s quest to link the individual and the social.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Steve Taylor 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Steve Taylor

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