Sociology is defined as the scientific study of society and human behavior. It is a part of social sciences. The study of sociology aims at analyzing the patterns of human behavior, deriving their causes and speculating the future of the behavioral patterns in society. It intends to understand the ways in which different elements of society influence each other, how a society is formed, how it functions, and how is evolves. In this Buzzle article, we discuss why sociology is important and also introduce you to some of its disciplines.
Importance of Sociology
Social interactions
▸ Sociology attempts to study how and why people are organized as a society. It allows for a scientific study of society as an organization, which is of help in the formulation and implementation of policies that benefit society.

▸ It analyzes the structure of society and studies the factors that contribute to the creation of social groups.

▸ Sociology includes the study of behavioral patterns, interactions, and relationships among the individuals of society, as well as their ethical and moral values.

▸ It tries to examine the organizational structure of society and the influence it has on the social, political, and religious ideas of its members.

▸ It attempts to analyze the creation and management of social groups as well as the factors which lead to their breakdown.
Cultures across the globe
▸ Sociology studies the role that social institutions play in the development of an individual. These institutions are those through which the society functions. Examples include family, school, church, and the government.

▸ Sociology helps us understand how people influence the government and law, and how the legal system and political structure influence society and social norms. It gives us an understanding of our rights and duties as parts of society and thus makes us better citizens.

▸ The study of sociology helps bring social reforms, as it involves an analysis of the social problems and their solutions. Studying sociology builds our understanding of social concerns and the measures needed to address them.

▸Studying sociology can give us a different perspective of looking at people and the society at large. It can broaden our outlook towards different elements of society, removing our bias against a particular gender, race, or section of people.
Broadened perspective
▸ The study of sociology can help us increase our acceptance of the differences in cultures, religions, and values. It enables us to look at these differences objectively, thus earning a better understanding of people and their behavior.

▸ By studying sociology, we learn to appreciate different customs and traditions and take interest in how they evolved instead of only judging them as good or bad.

▸ It can help give us a deeper understanding of issues such as abuse and crime and make us sensitive enough to recognize them as problems that need help.

▸ This exposure to different elements of society and aspects of social behavior, expands our knowledge about the world in general. Sociological studies involve a comparison and analysis of various social elements, and an understanding of how they influence each other and the society as a whole. This enriches us as human beings.

▸ The broadened perspective towards society and increased knowledge of its functioning helps build confidence and enhance the ability to express ourselves. It makes us feel a part of society and closely understand our link with the social groups we belong to.
Disciplines of Sociology and their Importance
▸ The various disciplines or sub-fields of sociology are concerned with the effects of social behavior on the formation of social traits. They include the study of various aspects of society, and study different social structures and their association with people. The interactions between people and social constructs and the influence they have on one another is analyzed through the different branches of sociology.

▸ The sociology of culture studies the influence of culture (includes cultural symbols, customs, traditions, and practices) on society. The sociology of religion deals with the study of how religious practices and beliefs affect the structure and functioning of society.
Economic sociology
▸ Economic sociology studies the causes and effects of economic phenomena on society. It deals with the social effects that economic exchanges have and how social phenomena influence economic structures. Socioeconomics involves the study of the overlap between a society and its economy.
Environmental sociology
▸ Environmental sociology is the study of the relation between a society and the environment. The study analyzes how social factors lead to environmental issues and the effects that environmental concerns can have on the functioning of society.
Sociology of education
▸ The sociology of education tries to analyze the effects an education system can have on society. This includes the study of the systems of schooling and higher education and their influence on the social values and behavior.
Sociology of the family
▸ Sociology of the family tries to assess family as a unit and deals with issues like family structures and their social effects, characteristics of family members and their roles, interactions between family members and with other social structures, etc.
Medical sociology
▸ Medical sociology analyzes medical institutions, their methods and practices in health care and their social effects. It assesses the quality of service in the health care sector, the interactions between patients and medical professionals, and the impact this domain has on society as a whole.
Political sociology
▸ Political sociology tries to study the link between society and politics. It deals with issues like the role of common people in a democracy, the different forms of governments and their social impact, etc.
Sociology of scientific knowledge
▸ The sociology of scientific knowledge studies the link between sciences and society. It analyzes the influence of society on the development of science as a field, and the social impact of scientific developments. The sociology of knowledge studies how human thought is shaped by society and what social influences it has.
▸ There are many other sub-fields like the sociology of sport, of mathematics, of food, etc. They analyze the respective domains as social concepts and assess their interrelation with society.
Sociology is regarded as a branch of social sciences. It spans a broad knowledge spectrum. A basic study of sociology can definitely have a positive effect on our overall development as individuals, as it enhances our understanding of people and our knowledge of the world.