In fancy terms, Sociology is the systematic study of the relationship between people and society. Sociology also studies the origins of societies and how they develop. In everyday English, it is how society functions or, in most cases, does not function. For me, it is hard not to nerd out about sociology because taking sociology classes changes the way that you see the world around you and people watching gets taken to a whole new level.
Intro to Sociology is a general education that a lot of people don’t pay attention to because they are just taking it to fill a GenEd but when you actually listen to the theories or take a higher level course, that’s when everything changes.
Things as simple as overhearing a conversation in Bentley is drastically different when you can relate it to what you learned in class and you can point out the ideas behind what they said. Even when your friends say something and you have to hold back from telling them that they are only saying that because they don’t understand the larger picture and how the layers of different subcultures and paradigms, a social structure that affect the way we see things, play into the way people interact with the world around them.
It’s impossible to completely understand what it’s like to be in another person’s shoes but sociology helps to at least understand the trends in society and how they affect people’s perceptions and stereotypes. Even so much as identifying a concept when you see a bumper sticker on a car is sociology on a micro level. In class, it is called Symbolic interactionalism but that’s just a big theory name for the connection you make when you see that sticker.
There are macro concepts that look at societies as whole and not just individual interactions. Structural Functionalism looks at the different components of society and how they work together to and function as a whole. This is like how education and laws and other parts of society work together to make our society function and that those concepts are in place because they function.
There is another macro theory called Conflict Theory which says that the unequal distribution of resources is what makes society work and that relationships are power struggles for these resources. Even though it’s called conflict theory it’s not negative, conflict is seen as a natural human interaction and that it is good for the development of society. Learning and understanding how these theories impact everyday life makes it hard not to nerd out about when you see examples in everyday life.