Unit 1-Sociology – The Discipline:

       1.Modernity and social changes in Europe and emergence of sociology.

2.Scope of the subject and comparison with other social sciences.

3.Sociology and common sense.

Modernity and Social Changes in Europe and Emergence of Sociology

 Modernity is taken from the latin word “modos” means thinking new or different.

It is not fixed but is context specific and various from one tradition to another

Modernization appeared in Europe in different phases which goes like -period of history dark years (1st – 12th Century) – Renaissance (14th – 17th Country) or scientific and cultural modernity – Political modernity (French resolution) thin economic modernity (industrial resolution)

There is a solid connection between the Social conditions of a period and the evolution of different ideas which arises or dominant in that period.


The emergence of sociology as a scientific discipline can be trounced to the period of European History which witnessed huge sound political and economic changes which are imbibed in French resolution and industrial resolution.

This period is called as enlightenment because it embodies the spirit of ne awakening in the French philosophers of the 18th century.

The completely new thoughts and outlook developed as a result of the commercial resolution and scientific resolution. Which gave birth to the sociology as a separate discipline.

Structural changes in European Society

Old Europe was traditional, Land was central to its economic system, classes were distinct and clearly demarcated. The religious heads decided what was moral and correct and used to interfere in the lives of people. Monarchy was firmly rooted in Society.

The new Europe ushered in by the two revolutions, The French revolution and industrial revolution challenged each and every central feature of old Europe. For the peasants, the present was intoxicating as it offered new opportunities and power.


THE COMMERCIAL REVOLUTION-  commercial resolution refers to a series of events between 14th and 18th Century. The commercial revolution in this series, signified the expansion of trade and Commerce that took place from the 15th Century onwards, it was of such a large scale and organized manner that we call it a revolution.


Credit facilities were expanded, it became easy for  the merchants to do business all over Europe. The “cheque” was invented in the 18th Century. Paper money came to replace gold and silver coins.

RISE OF A NEW CLASSES- By the end of the 17th Century, the new and middle class had become an influential group in nearly every western European Country. It included merchants, bankers, ship-owners, traders and investors. Thus Europe Paved the way for new areas for economic expansion.


Science does not develop independent of Society. Rather it develops in response to the human needs. for example,  Various vaccines were not developed based on wish but out of necessity to care diseases and illness.

THE RENAISSANCE PERIOD – Renaissance meaning Rebirth, was a cultural movement that profoundly affected European intellectual life in the early modern period.

Its influence was felt in literature, philosophy, art, politics, Science, religion and other aspects of intellectual enquiry.

The invention of the printing press allowed the rapid transmission of these new ideas, As it spread, its ideas also became diversified and changed and being adapted to local culture. Renaissance scholars employed the humanist method and looked for realism and human emotion in art.


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