Is Sociology A Science?No! Can It Be? Should It Be?
Is Sociology A Science?
No! Can It Be? Should It Be?
What Is A Science?
- modernist approach (positivists)
Main feature of sociology is theory construction.
Cause & effect relationship
Use experiements in science
Uncover 'causal relationships' between phenomena
Every growing knowledge
Empirically tested body of knowledge
More society forward
- empirical knowledge can be tested and retested.
Try to falsify - hoping it is not
Knowledge must be serutinised and falsified.
Science blocked personal prejudice and political views.
Search for empirical testable propositions about the world.
Can be counted or measured
'Knowable through our senses'
- argued against metaphysical explanations of the world --> have to find evidence
Can not accept authoritarian and mystical knowledge
Wallace - Sources of Knowledge
2) Mystical Source
- linked to religious experience
- rational - based on logic (eg. maths)
- parent, bishop, king
4) Scientific Method
- hypothesis and rigorous testing
Benefits Of Sociology Being A Science
- promotion of sociology as a science is due to works like major sociologists. Such as,
Parsons, Weber, Marx
Well respected (A-Levels and University degrees are more respected).
From government departments and charities.
ESRC - Economic & Social Research Council
More likely to get funding if research is scientific and produces reliable data that is useful.
1) Can uncover social facts
- study or suicide and
- scientific methodology most effective
Most superior to use rigorous methods (can replicate claims made).
Not possible to do lab experiment - cannot get whole social group in a lab.
Instead, sociologists use:
The Comparative Method