Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate April 2001

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Sociology is the study of society and interactions amongst groups of people.

During the industrial revolution and the French revolution people could see the enormous social, economic and political changes taking place within their society. Therefore people developed a desire to know why these changes were occurring and the impact they would have on their lives at present and in the future. Hence sociology was born. Man has always been aware of his ability to directly effect his personal circumstances through altering his immediate environment. The study of sociology makes us aware of our ability to indirectly effect our wellbeing. We are able to question the beliefs we have of ourselves and others that we may see as being natural and therefore take these beliefs for granted. When we study history and consider cultures other than our own we may realise these beliefs are not universal. Being able to critically analyse beliefs we may take for granted gives us the power to change the present and future for ourselves and society.

Occasionally changes are implemented for the good of a group of people that actually has a different outcome than what was intended (e.g. A school principal may see a problem with children being unsupervised in the classrooms before the morning bell. Therefore for the safety of the children, classrooms are opened ten minutes later in the mornings. Parents who are accustomed to spending time with their children in the classroom or using this time to network with other parents subsequently become upset. The outcome is the usual friendly relaxed atmosphere in the mornings is now rushed and less welcoming. Sociologists are able to study these situations and draw conclusions as to why outcomes may have been different to what was intended. This may enable unintended negative outcomes to...