Sociology - The Comparative Method

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Sociology The Comparative Method

Sociologists have embraced what is known as the comparative method as the

most efficient way to expose taken-for-granted 'truths' or laws that people

have adopted. But what is this comparative method and how does it work?

Are there any advantages/disadvantages to exposing these false 'truths'.

What forms or variations of the comparative method exist? In the pages to

follow I will attempt to give you some insight and understanding of what the

comparative method is, and how it works.

The comparative method, simply put, is the process of comparing two things

(in our case societies, or the people that make up society) and seeing if

the result of the comparison shows a difference between the two. The

comparative method attempts to dereify (the process of exposing

misinterpreted norms. Norms that society consider natural and inevitable

characteristics of human existence) reified (the human created norms or

'truths') beliefs.

Obviously there are various ways in which a nomi (a labeled, sometime

constructed, norm or truth) can be exposed. Which form of the comparative

method should one use however? The answer, whichever one applies to the

'truth' in question. For example, you certainly would not do a cross-gender

form of comparison if you wished to expose whether or not homosexuality has

always been feared and looked down upon by most people throughout history.

No, rather you would perform a historical comparison of two or more

different societies to see if these beliefs always existed, or, whether or

not this is a newly constructed belief.

Let's look at little more closely at the above mentioned historical

comparison and see how the comparative method works with a specific example.

There is no question that in today's western society there is a lot of fear

and trepidation towards people who are...