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Applying Sociology to Public Practice - Essay Example

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Applying Sociology to Public Practice

Sociology is defined as the 'scientific' study of the relationship between human social organization and human behavioural processes. Its early proponents and even sociologists today believe that they can develop a scientific way of studying mankind and his social nature in the same way as natural scientists have formulated a scientific approach to explain the physical world. Fundamental to the field is the notion that the relationship between human organization and social behaviour are subject to law-like processes and forces which can be revealed thru a systematic and careful observation and study. The theoretical models of causality should also be subject to empirical tests. (James, 1996)
The problem with sociology which can be observed in the article authored by Francis et al (2007) entitled "Attitude toward Christianity among secondary school pupils in Northern Ireland: shifts in denominational differences" is that sociology tends to become unscientific. Sociology attempts to understand human behaviour not thru a set of a step-by-step analysis of characteristics of individuals but on the influence of interactions among individuals. It emphasizes the social forces present in a certain group which cannot be generalized to other groups much like the way scientific laws work. Social forces cannot be observed directly but must be inferred from human behaviour. In other words, there is no assurance that an observed and analyzed social phenomenon could be applied on another set of events. For example, the case for the article can only be found in Ireland. Sociology, therefore, becomes ambiguous.
There is no finality in sociological pursuits because it is subjected to change and what is much more pressing is that mechanisms are often unidentifiable. Even if it was identified, there is always the question of finality. In the article by Francis et al, one can note that there was not even an attempt to determine the mechanism which caused the change in the regard for Christianity by male and female Irish children. All they did was to determine whether there was a change without even attempting to identify whether this was expected or whether it followed some kind of process. There was not even a discussion of a theoretical background discussing the mechanism of change for religious perception. They even conveniently stated that they did not deem it proper to know the underlying cause because it was out of the limits they have set. While it is good to know that there is an improvement in religious perception, wouldn't it have been more useful if one knows what is causing the change so that it may be further developed
Sociology will only assume the science mantle when it shakes off its reliance on first person subjective evaluations and surveys. The article itself depends widely on previous studies for comparison and does not even provide a scale of similarity with the procedures used. Most sociologists have little or no understanding of calculus yet they often present least-squares results as with the article. Sociology is for the most part verbal rather than quantitative. (James, 1996)
Competing Perspectives
As can be deduced from the previous discussion, there is a tendency for sociological knowledge to become of little value. According to Levin (2006), while there are indeed sociological researches that ...Show more

Summary

There has been much discussion regarding the usefulness of Sociology in the real world setting. This is primarily due to the theoretical nature of the field, the seeming complexity of concepts and the futility of finding definite answers to real-world problems…
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Applying Sociology to Public Practice essay example
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