What Are the Main Concepts of Sociology?

The main concepts of sociology include society, culture, social organization, social structure and inequality. Sociology seeks to learn about the structure, functioning and development of human society.

Culture Culture is a set of rules, symbols and traditions that shape a specific group. They are enacted by that group as thoughts, feelings and behaviors. Culture is passed to new generations and might include both non-physical factors, such as beliefs and habits, and physical factors, such as artifacts and art. Culture is used to distinguish societies from each other.

Language is an element of culture. It’s a set of verbal and non-verbal communication methods that are unique to the group that created them.

Values are a part of culture. These essentially tell people of a specific culture what’s bad and undesirable and what’s good and desirable.

Norms are behaviors and concepts that are typically abstract and general. They are used to set the standards or rules for social interaction and behavior. In some cases, they are derived from a culture’s values.

Social Structure Social structure looks at the pattern within organizations and cultures through which social action happens. This includes arrangements of organizations, institutions and roles, and cultural symbols. Over time, all of these remain stable, and if they do progress or change, they do so mostly invisibly. Structure both constrains and enables what a group of people are able to do in their social life.

Social Inequality This concept explores the socioeconomic division of people in a society. Social stratification is an element of this, and it essentially divides people into strata or layers. The stratification might be in the form of property, cultural products, wealth and access to material goods. Race is another element of social inequality. The physical attributes of a race could play a role in a person’s social standing. Ethnicity is also explored since people might be separated based on their specific ethnicity, or elements of it, such as their history, language, religion or ancestry.

Society Society is a concept created by humans. It’s a system or organization of interrelationships among those of a common culture that connects them. Every person lives in a society and when explored closely, all societies throughout the world have their own unique traits. Those within a society create their own interactions, and these interactions work to essentially mold the society a person is part of.

Social Organization This concept refers to the parts that make up a society an their respective arrangement. It also explores the distribution of people in social positions, as well as the organization of those social positions.

Status is part of this withsocially defined niches. For example, the social organization in a school would be students, teachers and then administration.

Every status has various expected behaviors and this is referred to as the role, which defines how a person is supposed to feel and think. How society expects others to treat them also falls under this umbrella.

Group is another element of social organization. This is two or more people who will interact on a regular basis while sharing the same feelings concerning how others should behave.