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What is Sociology? The Classic Text by Alex Inkeles on the Discipline and Profession


What is Sociology by Alex Inkeles PDF Download




Sociology is the study of society. It is a social science that uses various methods of empirical investigation and critical analysis to develop and refine a body of knowledge about human social activity, often with the goal of applying such knowledge to the pursuit of social welfare. Sociology can help us to understand ourselves and others in society, to question common sense assumptions and challenge stereotypes, to appreciate diversity and complexity in human social life, and to evaluate different models of society and their implications for social change.




what is sociology by alex inkeles pdf download



One of the most influential sociologists of the 20th century was Alex Inkeles, who was born in 1920 in New York City. He was a professor of sociology at Harvard University, Stanford University, and UCLA. He also worked as a consultant for various international organizations, such as UNESCO, UNICEF, and the World Bank. He published many books and articles on topics such as social change, modernization, national character, political culture, education, mass media, and human values. He died in 2010 at the age of 90.


One of his most famous books was "What is Sociology", which was first published in 1964. It was an introduction to the discipline and the profession of sociology for students and general readers. It explained the subject matter, the perspective, the methods, and the models of sociology in a clear and engaging way. It also discussed the history, the development, and the challenges of sociology as a field of inquiry and a social practice. It was widely used as a textbook in many colleges and universities around the world.


In this article, we will summarize the main argument of "What is Sociology" by Alex Inkeles. We will also provide some recommendations for further reading on sociology and Alex Inkeles. Finally, we will invite you to download the PDF version of his book for free.


The Subject Matter of Sociology




According to Alex Inkeles, sociology is the study of systems of social action and their interrelations. Social action refers to any human behavior that involves meaning, intention, or purpose. Social action can be individual or collective, conscious or unconscious, rational or irrational, voluntary or involuntary. Social action can also be influenced by various factors, such as culture, norms, values, roles, statuses, groups, organizations, institutions, and societies.


Sociology differs from other social sciences, such as psychology, economics, political science, and anthropology, in that it focuses on the interrelations between different systems of social action, rather than on the characteristics or functions of each system. Sociology also differs from natural sciences, such as physics, chemistry, and biology, in that it studies human social phenomena that are not governed by natural laws or regularities, but by human meanings and interpretations.


Sociology uses various methods of empirical investigation and critical analysis to collect and analyze data on human social phenomena. Sociology can use quantitative methods, such as surveys, experiments, statistics, and mathematical models, to measure and test hypotheses about social phenomena. Sociology can also use qualitative methods, such as interviews, observations, documents, and ethnography, to describe and interpret social phenomena. Sociology can also use comparative methods, such as historical analysis, cross-cultural analysis, and case studies, to examine similarities and differences among social phenomena.


The Sociological Perspective




According to Alex Inkeles, sociology helps us to understand ourselves and others in society. Sociology helps us to see how our personal lives are shaped by the social contexts in which we live. Sociology helps us to see how our actions are influenced by the expectations and pressures of others. Sociology helps us to see how our identities are formed by the groups and categories to which we belong. Sociology helps us to see how our opportunities and constraints are determined by the structures and processes of society.


Sociology also helps us to question common sense assumptions and challenge stereotypes about ourselves and others in society. Sociology helps us to see beyond the surface appearances and taken-for-granted realities of social life. Sociology helps us to see how social phenomena are socially constructed and historically contingent. Sociology helps us to see how social phenomena are influenced by power relations and conflicts of interest. Sociology helps us to see how social phenomena can be changed or improved by human agency and collective action.


Sociology also helps us to appreciate diversity and complexity in human social life. Sociology helps us to see how human societies and cultures vary across time and space. Sociology helps us to see how human societies and cultures are composed of multiple and overlapping dimensions of difference and inequality. Sociology helps us to see how human societies and cultures are dynamic and evolving. Sociology helps us to see how human societies and cultures are creative and expressive.


Models of Society in Sociological Analysis




According to Alex Inkeles, sociology uses different theoretical frameworks to explain social phenomena. These frameworks are called models of society. Models of society are abstract representations of the essential features or aspects of society. Models of society can help us to organize our observations and interpretations of social phenomena. Models of society can also help us to generate hypotheses and predictions about social phenomena.


Sociology compares and contrasts different types of societies and cultures using models of society. For example, sociology can compare traditional societies with modern societies using the model of modernization. Sociology can compare capitalist societies with socialist societies using the model of economic system. Sociology can compare democratic societies with authoritarian societies using the model of political system. Sociology can compare individualistic societies with collectivistic societies using the model of cultural orientation.


Sociology evaluates the strengths and weaknesses of different models of society using criteria such as empirical validity, logical consistency, explanatory power, normative relevance, and practical applicability. Sociology recognizes that no single model of society can capture the full complexity and diversity of human social life. Sociology acknowledges that different models of society may have different assumptions, perspectives, values, and implications for social change.


The Discipline and the Profession of Sociology




According to Alex Inkeles, sociology emerged as a distinct field of inquiry in the 19th century in response to the social transformations brought about by the Industrial Revolution, the French Revolution, and the Enlightenment. Some of the founding fathers of sociology were Auguste Comte, Karl Marx, Emile Durkheim, Max Weber, Georg Simmel, Herbert Spencer, Vilfredo Pareto, Ferdinand Tonnies, Georg Lukacs, 71b2f0854b


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