By Jon M. Shepard
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Additional resources for Cengage Advantage Books: Sociology
You can further clarify your grasp of sociology by distinguishing it from the other social sciences. It was not until the nineteenth century that Auguste Comte coined the term sociology. Comte’s ideas about sociology were embedded in his ideas about psychology, economics, and political theory. He viewed sociology as the one comprehensive social science. Gradually, scholars developed the various social sciences to the point that they could be legitimately distinguished. Nevertheless, the social sciences have enough in common to overlap with one another at many points.
Economics uses highly developed mathematical models to predict changes in economic indicators. Although these economic models are not always correct, they are sophisticated, and they give economists greater predictive power than that of most other social scientists. Sociology and economics merge in an area of study called economic sociology, which concentrates on the interrelationships between the economic and noneconomic aspects of social life. An economic sociologist, for example, would be interested in the relationship between the extent of industrialization in a particular society and the degree of workers’ involvement in union activity.
Edith Abbott, Sophinista Breckenridge, Marion Talbott, and other female sociology researchers collaborated with the men at the Chicago School. They contributed to many studies of urban problems such as housing, child rearing, education, and poverty. Some of these women were professors in the Department of Sociology; others worked as university administrators (Deegan 1991, 2000). Many more women, having been denied university appointments, contributed to the development of social work rather than academic sociology.