The study of the science of society, known as sociology, is significant — an important cog in the wheel of civilization’s history. Its development over the years has become a coalescing factor, determining relationships of national and global importance.
Sociology analyzes and explains the social life of man, reflecting various ethnic groups, customs and institutions. The term, sociology, was first used in 1837, by the French philosopher, Auguste Comte. He advocated certain principles of scientific thought, such as philosophy and history, derived from a study of developments that had taken place throughout the preceding hundred years.
Prior to Comte’s advocacy of the study of developments, the origin, basis, structure and functions of society were considered to be part of the province of philosophy. Comte made the study a separate branch of knowledge, constituting a series of developments, as far as human thought was concerned, advanced by scholars whose preoccupation with progressive social changes had marked the beginning of the development of the modern nation-state, as well as the capitalist system of production.
An Italian philosopher, by the name of Giovanni Vicco, was one of the first to provide some impetus to the new science that also included the first modern exposition of economics, advocated by the English economist, Adam Smith.
Comte’s innovation became the subject of intense interest on the part of Herbert Spencer, an English philosopher, whose works influenced German, French and American scholars, thus contributing to a wider range of development of sociology as a separate branch of science, which, in turn, provided the basis for Darwin’s concept of evolution, one of which being the development of biological species in terms of natural selection.
Social science incorporates anthropology, penology, social psychology and comparative religion. The science of sociology also covers criminology that is concerned with relationships, structures and situations. It also postulates a casual relationship between climatic conditions, distribution of flora and fauna, as well as other factors of geography, including ethnic characteristics, political organizations and societies, industries, as well as aesthetic development.