Relationship Between Sociology & the Social Sciences

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  • 0:04 Sociology vs Social Sciences
  • 0:45 What Are Social Sciences?
  • 2:22 What Is Sociology?
  • 3:01 How the Fields Relate
  • 4:12 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Gaines Arnold
Many different subjects are contained within the broad heading social sciences, but how do they all relate to sociology specifically? This lesson looks at what the individual social sciences are and how each relates to sociology.

Sociology vs Social Sciences

What is it that you want to do? Do you want to study the insides of animals? Then study veterinary medicine or animal science. Do you want to build bridges? Then you should probably look into structural engineering. What if your desire is to organize the word pictures in your head into something the entire world can enjoy? How about creative writing?

However, if you want to understand people as social animals and why society functions the way it does, then you need to take courses in sociology. Why? Because sociology is the study of how society has developed, how it is arranged and how it functions. This definition is what sets sociology apart from the other social sciences.

What Are Social Sciences?

The title social sciences is made up of two words. 'Social' refers to the fact that these subjects are related in some way to humanity. 'Sciences' is appended to provide the understanding that these disciplines use the scientific method when conducting research. The following is a list of the various social sciences, with the exception of sociology, and what those disciplines entail:

  • Education discusses personal development in learning and how to instruct, and researches the subject of learning.
  • Law is a study of relationships. It includes how people relate to one another, how people relate to their government entities and what people are responsible for as members of a society.
  • Anthropology is the study of how cultures have evolved.
  • Psychology asks fundamental questions about how the mind works and influences individuals.
  • Linguistics is the study of how people use language.
  • Political science is concerned with government and citizenship.
  • History is the study of the past and how it relates to the present and the future.
  • Economics is the study of monetary systems, how they have developed and how money affects a society.

Some would add philosophy (the study of thought and logic) and other disciplines. In addition, some might argue that psychology is constantly developing sub-fields, particularly biopsychology, neuropsychology and behavioral genetics, that are becoming more closely aligned with biological sciences. They might also add that many fields in economics are more rooted in statistical calculation and objective measurement. Nevertheless, this list contains most social science subjects that are still considered to be part of the social sciences.

What Is Sociology?

It may seem that some of the subjects are similar, but each has a unique focus. Sociology and psychology are often paired, and they are similar, but they have distinct features. Psychology deals with the individual, whereas sociology is concerned with groups. It has been said that sociology is the psychology of groups.

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