Sociology studies the social lives of people, groups, and societies to understand significant social processes of human action and consciousness and how these are influenced by surrounding cultural and social structures (The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2018).
Sociology consists of many subdisciplines, including the sociology of art, economics, education, family, knowledge, language, law, military, music, politics, religion, science, social dynamics, and urban issues (“Subfields of Sociology,” 2018).
Sociology “analyzes and explains important matters in our personal lives, our communities, and the world” (The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2018, para. 2). In practice, sociology has three primary focal points:
- At the individual level, sociology examines the social causes and social consequences of human social actions (for example, romantic relationships, race and ethnicity, gender and gender identity, family relationships, aging, and religious faith).
- At the societal level, sociology addresses and explains matters related to societal structure (for example, “crime and law, poverty and wealth, prejudice and discrimination, schools and education, business firms, urban community, and social movements”)
- At the international level, sociology concentrates on global phenomena and international affairs (for example, population growth and migration, climate change and disaster, war and peace, and economic development) (The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2018, para 2).
In Disaster Research
Disaster sociology focuses on the study of organized behavior before, during, and after disasters. Disaster sociologists study the social construction and consequences of disasters by addressing social inequality, societal diversity, and social change. Sociologists often employ theoretical frameworks that focus on human interaction, organizations and institutions, political economy, social inequality, and macro-level society-environment interactions (Tierney, 2007).
Subfields of Sociology. (2018). In Wikipedia. Retrieved August 18, 2018, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Subfields_of_sociology
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. (2018). What Is Sociology? Retrieved August 18, 2018, from https://sociology.unc.edu/undergraduate-program/sociology-major/what-is-sociology/
Tierney, K. J. (2007). Businesses and Disasters: Vulnerability, Impacts, and Recovery. In H. Rodriguez, E. Quarantelli, & R. Dynes (Eds.), Handbook of Disaster Research (pp. 275-296). New York: Springer.