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Ch 1: Introduction to Sociology: The Basics

About This Chapter

Watch our detailed video lessons to explore the basic principles of sociology. Take the quizzes that follow each lesson to test your understanding of sociology fundamentals.

Introduction to Sociology: The Basics - Chapter Summary and Learning Objectives

What is sociology, and why is it important? Instructors will walk you through the basics of sociology to help you understand this topic. After watching the brief video lessons in this chapter, you'll be able to do the following:

  • Identify major themes in sociology.
  • Explain how sociology can be applied to public policy, personal growth and social change.
  • Discuss Comte's three stages of society and his theory of positivism.
  • Differentiate among the four theoretical perspectives of sociology.

VideoObjectives
What is Sociology? - Definition, Themes & Careers in SociologyDefine sociology and distinguish it from similar fields. Identify major themes or questions. Identify careers based in sociology.
Why is Sociology Important? - Applications in Public Policy, Social Change & Personal GrowthIdentify several application contexts of sociology, including public policy, personal growth and social change.
Comte's 3 Stages of Society & Theory of PositivismDescribe Comte's theory that society has three stages, including the theological, metaphysical and scientific stages. Also, discuss Comte's theory of positivism.
Sociology's Four Theoretical Perspectives: Structural-Functional, Social Conflict, Feminism & Symbolic InteractionismIdentify and describe four basic approaches to sociological theory, including structural-functional, social conflict, feminism and symbolic interactionism.

Lessons in Chapter 1: Introduction to Sociology: The Basics
What Is Sociology? - Definition, Themes & Careers in Sociology

1. What Is Sociology? - Definition, Themes & Careers in Sociology

What is sociology? This lesson covers a basic definition of the field, identifies major themes or questions studied by sociologists, and identifies possible careers in sociology. Learn about the main ideas within this popular and fascinating field!

Why Is Sociology Important? - Applications in Public Policy, Social Change & Personal Growth

2. Why Is Sociology Important? - Applications in Public Policy, Social Change & Personal Growth

How can theoretical and abstract ideas from sociology be used in the 'real world?' This lesson covers three applications of sociology. First, we'll discuss public policy, such as welfare. Second, we'll cover social change, including change in the economy, cities, and politics. Finally, sociology is applied to personal growth, including motivation and citizenship.

Comte's 3 Stages of Society & Theory of Positivism

3. Comte's 3 Stages of Society & Theory of Positivism

This lesson focuses on the theories of Auguste Comte. Specifically, Comte suggested that global society has gone through three stages, called the theological stage, the metaphysical stage, and the scientific stage. It also covers Comte's theory of 'positivism' and how science and society interact.

Sociology's Four Theoretical Perspectives: Structural-Functional, Social Conflict, Feminism & Symbolic Interactionism

4. Sociology's Four Theoretical Perspectives: Structural-Functional, Social Conflict, Feminism & Symbolic Interactionism

Theories are an essential part of the framework used to organize specific social phenomena within the social sciences. This lesson introduces the four major theoretical perspectives in sociology, including structural-functional, social conflict, feminism, and symbolic interactionism.

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