rural connections are an important defining feature
1.3 The Origins of Sociology- understand the historical development of sociology
Three Revolutions: The rise of Sociology
Three revolutionary events inspired the rise of sociology: the scientific revolution, the political
revolution, and the Industrial Revolution
is a theoretical approach that considers all understanding to be based on science
A positivist approaches the world through three primary assumptions
There exists an objective and knowable reality
: positivists assert that the physical and social
worlds can be understood through observation, experimentation, and logic.
Since all sciences explore the same, singular reality, over time all sciences will become more
Positivists assert that since there is only one correct explanation for the physical and social
worlds, discipline and scientific boundaries will fall away as we progress in our studies and
realize that all science is investigating the same reality.
There is no room in science for value judgments.
Since all sciences explore the same reality from
different perspectives there is no good or bad science.
is a theoretical approach that considers knowledge and understanding to be the
result of human subjectivity
While hard science is useful for exploring the physical world, the social world cannot be
understood solely through numbers and formulas.
Anti-positivists assert that the formulas the
positivists use to explain the universe have meaning only when we collectively assign social
value to them and that numbers have only relative importance (e.g. you could be happy with your
85% test score but if the class average is a 90% that does not change your grade but changes your
All sciences will not merge over time, and no single methodological approach (e.g. science) can
reach a complete understanding of our world.
Anti-positivists suggest that to truly understand the
human condition we need to appreciate and validate emotions, values, and human subjectivity
Sciences cannot be separated from our values.
are cultural beliefs about ideal goals and
behaviours that serve as standards for social life and that identify as right, desirable, and moral.
Positivists believe that all sciences are equal and should not be tainted by value judgments but
anti-positivists believe that what we choose to study is also a social expression
Quantitative and Qualitative Sociology
is the study of behaviours that can be measured (e.g. income levels)
which is what positivists use to explore the world whereas anti-positivists explore the world
through human engagement
is the study of nonmeasurable subjective behaviours (e.g. the effects of
divorce) which is an interactive approach preferred by anti-positivists
Neither method is better than the other rather, an integration of both is considered good sociology