C. Wright Mills

What is sociology?

Sociology is the study of the social world around us, the social causes and consequences of human behavior. Sociologists investigate the structure of groups, organizations, and societies, and how people interact within these contexts. Since all human behavior is social, the subject matter of sociology ranges widely, from the family to the anonymous crowd, organized crime to organized religion, from inequality along the lines of race, gender and social class to the shared beliefs of a common culture, and from the sociology of work to the sociology of sports.

Sociology offers a unique way of observing and understanding the social world in which we dwell. Sociology looks beyond taken-for-granted views of reality to provide deeper, more illuminating and challenging understandings of social life. Through its particular analytical perspective, theoretical approaches, and research methods, sociology expands our awareness of social relationships, cultures, and institutions that profoundly shape both our lives and human history.

Sociology also helps us to understand more clearly the forces shaping the particulars of our own lives. The ability to see and understand this connection between large-scale social forces and personal experience, what C. Wright Mills called "the sociological imagination," offers invaluable academic preparation for our personal and professional lives in an ever-changing society.