Human Beings, the Study of Society and Sociology

Human Beings, the Study of Society and Sociology
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At the beginning of the 19th century, a French scholar, August Comte, felt the requirement of a separate science which could effectively and satisfactorily study social phenomena and society on the basis of positive philosophies and canons, and could discover fundamental laws. In 1838, he coined the term sociology which is why he is called the father of sociology that regards society as a social entity having an equilibrium between structure and function. Society is a reality in its own right (Emile Durkheim whose connotation is well-known). But, this does not mean that it has no historical backing. It is a total complex of human interactions and relationships in so far as they emerge out of the deeds as a relationship between means and end which is deep-down/intrinsic or symbolic (Talcott Parson). In a society exchange of gestures takes place which involves the use of signs, codes or symbols (G.H Mead). It is a system of treatments and procedures of power and authority coupled with the mutual aid of many groups and dissections, of controls of human behavior and freedoms. This dynamic complex set of a social system which is called society is a grid or web of social relationship (Maclver and Page). Hence, society is simple and complex depending upon many interrelated factors.
In the 19th century, the study of society as a discipline picked up conclusive sense and shape. Prior to that, we had viewpoints, beliefs and philosophies giving declamations regarding the nature of the Society or the tourists and explorers writing about societies visited. As regards the society itself, Emile Durkheim views it as a series of social facts. It is he who is given the credit of considering society as a truth which makes it an innocent ‘covering term’ for “things we are unaware of. History, especially after the period of Renaissance , is witness to the fact that some laid stress on ‘order’, some on ‘materialism’, some on ‘rationality’, some on ‘social reality’, and some on ‘social facts’. As a consequence, over the years, society came to have different connotations. Nevertheless, moral values and human co-existence are central to the understanding of a society and therefore central to different themes and connotations. Numerous well-known philosophers cum theorists maintained different jargons for society which was found to be a scarce word.
Marxism is a technique of historical-cum-sociological-cum-economic analysis that aims at broadcasting class relations and social conflict by way of materialist analysis of historical development. Furthermore, it gives a dialectical opinion of social change. According to Marx, all social change is an outcome of change in the system of production. Firstly, the power of production, which comprises means of production, labour and production experience and skills of labour; and second, relations of production. One special attribute of the production system is that it cannot remain stable in one state for long, and is always changing and developing. Furthermore, the change in the production system brings about changes in the entire social structure, thoughts, political views and institutions. Marxists use the word ‘social formation’ to lay down three levels of relationships it, encompasses: economic, philosophical and political. The changes in the society are affected by feelings, thoughts, ideas, principles, and opinions also. They are, no doubt, reliant on the material life of society, but they have an important role in collecting and organizing social powers. New ideas and principles are born in old surroundings and state of affairs. Through them, the common people know the shortcomings and disadvantages of material life and inward struggle. And when they become the beliefs they are instrumental for social change. With this contextual, the public can put an end to those powers, which hamper the society’s progress and development.
Sir Anthony Giddens, a British sociologist who was listed as the fifth most-referenced author of books in the humanities (Gill, 2009) gave an all-inclusive and comprehensive view of modern societies and argued against recognizing society with the nation-state and favors to talk about “social systems”. The later part of his academic work was concerned with modernity, globalisation and politics, particularly the micro and macro influence of modernity (on societal and personal life). Post modernity is the economic or cultural situation or circumstance of society which is said to happen after modernity (not used in the sense of contemporary, but just as a tag for a definite period in history). He is a big critique of post modernity (Fredric, 1991) and has led deliberations upon a new utopian-realist (Halpin, 2003).
Society is a complex area, a web of social relationships sharing a common culture, occupying a particular territorial area and feeling themselves a unified and distinct entity. It is very important to note that every type of relationship does not make society but society is made only by those relations that have grown up from an action. But, such an action should generate welfare not only for the group but for the society at large. Over the years, it has been simplified with the emergence of disciplines like History, Political Science, Sociology, and Anthropology and so on around some explicit and specific characteristics of the social reality. But, the human beings are the main protagonists who occupied the center of the study of all these social sciences. They have therefore their different academic persona but all of them keep the human society at the center and aim at holding them together. In order to facilitate these knowledgeable and scholarly hunts, social experts are constantly engaged in the regeneration of a ray of hope for humanity. Consequently, society cannot be separated from following various concerns for moral values that keep hope of humanity ablaze. According to the Scottish economist, Adam Smith a society may be able to survive among different men, as among different traders, from a sense of its utility without any mutual love or affection, if only they abstain from doing harm to each other.

Gemeinschaft is a type of society in which life is intimate; a community in which everyone knows everyone else and people share a sense of togetherness (Pfeifer, 1997). On the other hand, Gesellschaft is a type of society dominated by impersonal relationship, individual accomplishment, and self-interest. A successful society is Gemeinschaft in which there is organic solidarity, a collective consciousness that people experience as a result of performing different tasks or based on the interdependence brought about by the division of labour (distribution of work among the people as per their skill and competence).

David Halpin. (2003). Hope and Education. The Role of the Utopian Imagination. Routledge. ISBN: 0-415-23368-2.
Gill, J. (2009). Giddens triumphs Marx but French thinkers triumph. Times Higher Education.
Jameson, Fredric. (1991).TheCultural Logic of Late Capitalism, Postmodernism. London.
Wolfgang, Pfeifer. (1997). Etymologisches Worterbuch des Deutschen. Deutscher Taschenbuch Vertag. Eintrag Gemein Siehe Online Version.
The author is a Research Scholar at the Department of Economics, Central University of Kashmir, an Academic Counsellor at the IGNOU STUDY CENTRE 1209,S.P. College, Srinagar and an Editor in EPH – International Journal of Business and Management Science & Asian Journal of Managerial Science;Ezine Articles Expert Author. She is also an IJRULA title awards, 2018 winner and can be reached at:


­—The author is a PhD scholar at the Jaipur National University in theSchool of Business and Management. He can be reached at: