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Sociology

(5,316 words)

Author(s): Schäfers, Bernhard | Leppin, Volker | Meyer-Blanck, Michael | de Boutemard, Bernhard Suin | Knoblauch, Hubert
[German Version] I. Definition Sociology is an empirical social science; its field of study encompasses the relatively enduring forms and structures of social action (Action, Science of ) and the resultant social units, from entities like the family and kinship group and social groups to large-scale organizations and states. The word itself is an artificial combination of Latin socius (“companion, fellow”) and Greek logos (“word, truth,” in an extended sense “knowledge”). It appears for the first time in vol. IV of the Cours de philosophie positive of A. Comte (1838). As a scie…

Social Sciences

(595 words)

Author(s): Schäfers, Bernhard
[German Version] I. Like many other terms in the language of politics and society, the term social sciences emerged in France in the late 18th century ( sciences sociales) and spread in the late 19th century. It is a collective term for the academic disciplines devoted to human sociality in its various forms and senses. The German term Gesellschaftswissenschaften, often treated as synonymous, is not quite accurate, since strictly speaking only sociology, politology (Political science), and economics relate unambiguously to society ( Gesellschaft). All other disciplines called…