What Is Sociology?

Sociology looks at how people live together in defined places and share a way of living – sociologists study human society.  They want to find out how living with and among other people affects their behavior and how their behavior affects the society.  Sociologists have a ten-paces-back view as they look for patterns within the behavior and attitudes of groups of people from small groups, like your family, to big groups, like the whole world.  They also try to explain differences, understanding that people are different, that given the same set of circumstances, one individual may behave very differently from another.

So, sociologists are aware that what happens in your community may be very different from what happens in your state, in your country, or in the world.  Some jobs are clearly in the “helping professions” like Social Worker and Youth Worker, Addiction Counselor, and International aid worker.  These positions may require a higher degree in Social Work or a related field.  But, there are other positions outside of this kind of one-on-one work, like Social Researcher, Audience Research Analyst, Records and Crime Analyst, US Probation Officer, and Park Ranger.  Do you find yourself observing groups of people at parties or people-watching at an airport?  Do you sometimes bring up a topic or ask a question for its shock value, just to see how the people you’re with will react?  If so, Sociology may be just the field that you’ve been looking for.

What Degrees Relate to Careers in Sociology?