Applied Sociology for Nurses R Sreevani
Page numbers followed by b refer to box, f refer to figure, and t refer to table.
effects of 161
people vulnerable for 189, 190f
physical 160, 189
preventive social strategies 190
psychological 189
risk factors for 188
types of 160, 189, 189f
Accelerated Rural Water Supply Programme 177
Accelerating economic growth 150
Accommodation 31, 193
forms of 31
importance of 32
methods of 31, 31f
Accredited Social Health Activist 176
Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome 168, 193
major symptoms of 168
minor symptoms of 168
social impact of 169
Adolescent socialization 40
Adult socialization 40
Affectional function 89
Affordable education, lack of 155
Agrarian social system 134
growth and poverty alleviation 150
occupation 49
societies 13
Agriculture, low productivity in 146
abuse 161
dependence, risk factors for 166
Amalgamation 33
Annapurna Scheme 178
Anticipatory socialization 40
Antyodaya Anna Yojana 178
Appropriate technology, lack of 153
Artificial limb manufacturing corporation 180
Assimilation 32, 33, 193
characteristics of 33, 33b
conducive and hindering factors of 34f
Association 1719, 19t, 22t, 193
basic elements of 17, 17b
types of 18
Awareness 75
lack of 154
Ayushman Bharat 151
Badhte Kadam 180
Barbarian Social System 134
Basic institutions 21
Behavioral theories 165
Belongingness, sense of 26
Below poverty line 151
Bride price 93
Brothel prostitute 157
Cancer control program 179
Cardiovascular diseases
control of 179
prevention of 179
Case poverty 149, 193
Cast 193
Caste system 158
Central Government Health Scheme 179
Centrally Sponsored Schemes 181
Chain-reaction pattern 44
Child abuse 160, 193
causes of 161
risk factors for 161
types 160, 160t
Child health programs 179
Child Labor 159
causes for 159
effects of 159
Prohibition and Regulation Act 177
Child maltreatment, intergenerational transmission of 161
Child Marriage 93, 155, 193
Act, prohibition of 177
Restraints Amendment Act 175
Child socialization 40
Child Welfare
Programs 177
Schemes 177
Childless family 88
Civilization 72, 72t, 193
Civilized social system 134
Clean India Mission 151
Clinical sociology 186
functions of 186
role of 187
use of 187
Close physical proximity 33
Collective poverty 149, 193
Communicable diseases 50, 54
Communication 86
Community 15, 16, 16t, 19, 19t, 193
concept of 14
elements of 15, 15f
collaboration 174
programs 163
Competition 34, 193
characteristics of 34b
forms of 34, 35f
functions of 35, 35f
Compromise 31
Conflict 12, 35, 193
causes of 36
characteristics of 36b
effects of 36
negative effects of 36t
positive effects of 36t
types of 36
Conjugal family 86, 194
Consanguine family 86, 194
Conscious social control 138
Constitution, preamble of 173
Constitutional safeguards 177, 181
Conversion 32
Co-operation 12, 29, 194
characteristics of 29, 29b
importance of 30
types of 29, 30f
Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) 152, 169
social impact of 170
Corporate conflict 36
Corruption 148
Covert conflict 36
Creating awareness 156, 157
Creating employment opportunities 157
Creche Scheme for children of working 178
Crescive institutions 20
Crime 163, 194
causes of 163
effects of 164
Criminology 4, 194
Crisis 187
intervention 187
Cultural beliefs 77
Cultural competence care, advantages of 75
Cultural diffusion 68, 194
Cultural diversity 69, 70, 194
importance of 71
Cultural evolution, origin of 67
Cultural factors 45
Cultural inventions 68
Cultural lag 69, 143, 194
Cultural rights 173
Cultural transmission 68, 89, 194
Cultural uniformity 69, 70, 70t, 194
Culture 12, 53, 62, 72, 72t, 76, 194
and nursing 78
and socialization 73
bound syndrome 78
change, process of 68
characteristics of 63, 63f
competition 34
diversity and uniformity in 69
elements of 64, 65f
evolution of 67, 68f
functions of 66, 66f
nature of 62, 63f
types of 64, 64t
Custom 194
Delinquency 162
Acts 162
causes for 162
juvenile 195
Demography, sociology of 4, 198
Developmental socialization 41
control of 179
prevention of 179
Diet pattern 100
Digitalization 156
Direct conflict 37
Direct co-operation 30
Direct social control 137
Disruptive social change 143
Dissociative social processes 29
District disability rehabilitation center 180
Diversity, cultural elements of 70
Divorce Rules and Laws in India 97
Domestic violence 161
Dowry 93, 158, 194
causes of 158
Prohibition Act 99, 157, 175
system, effects of 159
abuse 161
easy availability of 166
Law Enforcement Agencies 181
Ecological disturbances 143
competition 34
development, low rate of 146
factors 44, 164
function 89
organization 130
provision 84
Economy 53
commercialization of 91
sociology of 4, 198
Education 46, 86, 90, 138
function 89
institution 42, 141
organization 130
programs 163, 176
rights 173
Electoral law 173
Emergency management 162
abuse 161
bonding 84
Employment and Income Generating Programs 176
degradation 148
factors 24, 44, 162
Equal economic opportunities 33
Equal Remuneration Act 176
Extended family 88, 194
Facilitates economic co-operation 95
Factors affecting social change 44, 45f
Factors influencing socialization process 39, 39f
Family 41, 83, 195
and marriage 83
basic needs of 85, 85f
characteristics of 83, 84f, 102
disability in 101
dynamics 101
functions of 88, 88f
illness in 101
income 100
practices 100
structure 164
support, absence of 154
types of 86, 87f
Fast paced life style 52
Faulty health practices 50, 54
Fertility variation 91
Fighting corruption 150
abuse 189
organization 130
resources, lack of 153
Folkways 195
Food 85
supplies 153
Formal social
control 138
interactions 51
Formative influence 84
Fraternal polyandry 195
Free meals 156
Frustration 52
duty 173
rights 172, 195
children 173
individual 172, 172f
women 173
social processes, focus on 5
Gender parity 156
General sociology 4, 195
Generational poverty 149, 195
disorders 54
vulnerability 165
Girl Child Protection Scheme 176
Gramin Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana 151
classification of 26, 26f
functions 67
Growth in non-farm employment 150
Handicapped 171
and Family Welfare Programs 179
facilities, lack of 50, 54
impact 155
negative implications on 79
positive implications on 79
programs 179
related function 89
sector, programs on 179
security for all 150
Healthcare facilities 55
Heterogeneity 51
High social mobility 51
High-density population 51
Higher education, lowering cost of 155
Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act 99, 177
Hindu Marriage Act 95
and Divorce Act 175
Hindu Widows’ Remarriage Act 99
Historical sociology 4, 195
Home, provision of 88
Homogeneity 49
Horticultural societies 13
Horticulture and pastoral social system 134
Hostile environment 161
Housing 85, 152
causes for 152
effects of 153
solutions for 153
Human culture and society, sociological analysis of 5
Human immunodeficiency virus 168
major modes of transmission of 168
social impact of 169
Human interactions, focus on 5
Human resource development 150
Human symbol method 138
Hunting and gathering social system 134
Illiteracy 154, 195
across generations 155
causes of 154, 154b
effects of 155
Illiterate parents 154
Immunization program 178
Impersonal ideals, conflict of 37
inequalities of 148
tax rebate 178
Indian Christian Marriage Act 96
Indian Family System, recent trends in 90
Indian Penal Code 99
Indira Awas Yojana 177
Indirect co-operation 30
Indirect social control 137
Individual 23
aggregate of 16
controls activities of 73
culture gratifies needs of 64
factors 23, 162
functions 66
group of 17, 25
prejudices 34
programs 162
Industrial social system 134
Industrial sociology 5, 195
Industrialization 48, 90, 143, 195
Infant socialization 39
Inflation 148
lack of 148
rapid development of 150
Institution 19, 22t, 195
characteristics of 19, 19b
concept of 19
functions of 21, 21f
inter-relationship of 135
types of 20, 20f
Integrated child development services 177
Inter-caste marriage 92, 195
Isolation 34, 37
effects of 37
Jal Jeevan Mission 152
Jawahar Gram Samridhi Yojana 176
Jawahar Rozgar Yojana Scheme 176
Joint family 50, 88, 195
Juvenile Justice Act, and Amendment Act 177
Knowledge, sociology of 4
complex division of 51
division of 11
extreme division of 142
simple division of 49
Land ownership 153
Language 64, 70
Law 138, 195
against dowry system 159
sociology of 4, 199
Legislations 46
on Indian marriage and family 95
related to
children 177
dowry 98
elderly 179
widow remarriage 99
Living, expression of mode of 63
Low density population 49
Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act 151
Mahila Mandals 176
Major health problems 50, 52, 54
Manmade environment 51
Marriage 91, 196
and family on health and health practices, influence of 100
change in age of 91
form of 84
forms of 92, 92f
importance of 94, 94f
Mass media 42
Maternal Health Programs 179
Maternal mortality, causes for 50, 54
Maternity Benefit Act 176
Matriarchal family 87, 196
Matrilineal family 86
Matrilocal residence 86
Mechanical social system 134
education 179
sociology 5, 196
disorganization 24
factors 162
program 179
Mid-day Meal Scheme 178
Minorities (schedule caste/schedule tribes) and other marginal groups 172
Miserable life 155
Modernization 48, 79, 196
negative health implication of 79t
positive health implication of 79t
Monogamous 86, 196
Monogamy 92, 196
Moral aspects 46
Motivation, source of 35
Muslim personal law 96
Mutual awareness 26
and interaction 12
National Commission for Protection of Child Rights 177
National Council of Senior Citizens 178
National Health Policy for Children 177
National Institute for Disabled 180
National Institute of Co-operation and Child Development 177, 178
National Maternity Benefit Scheme 177
National Program for Health Care of Elderly 178
National Rural Health Mission 178
National Rural Livelihood Mission 151
National Social Assistance Program 178
National Urban Livelihood Mission 151
National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme 179
Negative social control 137
Neo-local residence 86
Neurobiological theories 165
Niramaya 180
Nomenclature 26
system of 84
Non-agricultural occupation 51
Non-communicable diseases 50, 54
Non-formal social interaction 49
Non-fraternal polyandry 196
Non-governmental organizations 50, 52
Non-material culture 64, 196
Non-sororal polygyny 196
Nuclear family 51, 75, 196
Nurse, role of 48, 142, 152, 154, 174
Nursing implications 158
Occupation 53
Operational institutions 21
Opportunity, equality of 173
Organic social system 134
Organization 129
Organized social control 137
Orientation, family of 86
Overt conflict 36
Parenting skills, lack of 161
Pastoral societies 13
Patriarchal family 87, 196
Patrilineal family 86
Patrilocal residence 86
Perpetual conflict 37
Perpetuates kinship groups 95
activity 36
conflict 36
disorganization 23, 197
causes of 23f
forms of 24
stages of 24
Personality disorders 23
disabilities 24
disorders 23
disorganization 24
force method 138
neglect 160
aspects 46
competition 35
factors 148
organization 130
sociology 4, 197
system 53
Polyandrous 86, 197
Polyandry 92, 197
Polygamy 92, 197
Polygynous 86, 197
Polygyny 92
Poor food supply
causes of 153
consequences of 153
Poor transport infrastructure 153
Population explosion 146
Positive social control 137
Postindustrial societies 14
Poverty 146, 147, 155, 197
absolute 148, 193
alleviation programmes 151
and health 149
causes of 147
eradication of 150, 150b
types of 148, 149f
Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana 151
Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana 151
Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana 151
Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana 179
Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana 151
Pradhan Mantri Vaya Vandana Yojana 178
Pre-conception and Pre-natal Diagnostic Technique Act 177
Pre-natal Diagnostic Technique Regulation and Prevention of Misuse Act 176
Preventive health 8
Primary group
characteristics of 27
functions of 27
Primary socialization 40, 73
Prime Minister Street Vendor's Atma Nirbhar Nidhi 152
Procreation, family of 86
Prostitution 156, 197
causes of 156
control of 157
effects of 157
prevention of 157
Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act 159, 176
Psychiatric disorders 166
Psychological factors 44, 164
advocacy 174
distribution system 150
health 8
Race 70, 197
Racial competition 35
Rapid population growth 147
Rapid social change 145
Rapid urbanization 52, 152
Rashtriya Mahila Kosh Scheme 177
Rashtriya Vayoshri Yojana 178
Rationalization 32
Reciprocity 26
Recreational programs 163
Regulates sexual behavior 94
Rehabilitate juvenile delinquents 163
Rehabilitation 168
and Distress Scheme 176
centers, establishing of 158
Council of India 180
Relative poverty 148, 197
Religion 42, 53, 70
sociology of 4, 199
Religious function 89
Religious organization 130
Remedial measures 153
Reproduction and Child Health Programs 178
Research, focus on 5
Resocialization 41
Revolution 46
Right against exploitation 173
Rules and regulations 86
Rural community 52t
characteristics of 49
institutional structures in 50
structure and characteristics of 49
Rural health services 179
Rural poverty 149, 197
Rural sociology 4, 197
Rural youth and self employment, training for 176
Safety 86
Sahyogi 180
Samarth 180
Sambhav 180
Sanskritization 48, 197
Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan 178
Saubhagya scheme 151
Savagery social system 134
School 42
Secondary group
characteristics of 27
functions of 27
Secularization 48, 197
Security 86, 158
Senior citizen
integrated program for 178
welfare fund 178
Sexual abuse 161, 189
Sexually transmitted disease 168
Single parent family 88
Situational poverty 149, 197
Skill 75
Social barriers 155
Social change 43, 44, 48, 197
aspects of 46
cause for 34
nature of 43
process of 46, 47, 47f
Social class 198
Social competition 35
Social control 21, 27, 135, 138, 198
agencies 141, 141f
formal means of 51, 138, 138t
functions of 136
informal means of 50, 138, 138t
need for 136
objectives of 136
process of 137
types of 137
Social crimes 155
Social crisis 24
Social custom
and tradition 158
related to marriage 93
Social disorganization 24, 129, 142, 198
causes of 142, 143b
Social environment 163
Social evolution 46
Social exclusion 148
Social group 25, 198
characteristics of 25, 26b
Social heritage, transmitters of 20
Social institutions, development of 5
Social interactions 39
Social isolation 198
causes for 37
Social life, analysis of primary units of 5
Social mobility 48, 198
Social morphology 4, 198
Social norms 24
Social organization 129, 198
elements of 129, 129f
types of 130, 130f
Social physiology 4, 198
Social problems 28, 144, 198
causes of 145, 146f
characteristics of 145
classification of 147f
nature of 145
types of 147
Social processes
elements of 28
forms of 28, 29f
Social regulations 84
Social relationships 100
Social rules, violation of 143
Social stratification 198
Social structure 10
importance of 55
Social support 100
Social system 198
elements of 132, 132b
structural element of 134
types of 134
Social values, degeneration of 143
Social welfare
programs 175, 178, 180, 181, 198
system 198
Socialization 37, 89, 198
agencies 41, 41f
characteristics of 38, 38b
importance of 38
process, stages of 39, 39f
role of culture in 73
secondary 40, 73
types of 40, 40f
Societal factors 24
Society 10, 16, 16t, 18, 18t, 23, 198
basic concepts of 10
characteristics of 10, 11b
level 144
rapid changes in 24
types of 12, 13f
Sociology 1, 2, 10, 199
applications of 3
basic branches of 4f
branches of 4, 78
nature of 2, 2b
new branches of 4b
scope of 3, 3t
significance of 6, 6f
subject matter of 5
Special Marriage Act 97
Spontaneous social control 137
Statutory and public institutions 50
children, integrated programs for 178
prostitute 157
Stress 52, 161
control of 179
prevention of 179
Substance abuse 162, 165, 199
causes of 165
consequences of 166
prevention of 167
Swachh Bharat Abhiyan 151
Swarnajayanti Gram Swarojgar Yojana 176
Taboos 199
Tax system 148
Teacher training 156
Temporary conflict 37
Tolerance 32, 33
Traditional informal control, failure of 145
Transcultural society 74, 199
concept of 74
formation of 74
Transfer cultural elements 22
Tribal community
characteristics of 53
institutional structures in 54
structure and characteristics of 49
Ujjawala Scheme 177
Unconscious social control 138
Underemployment 148
Unemployment 146, 148, 154
Universality 84
Unorganized social control 137
Urban community 52t
characteristics of 51
institutional structures in 51
structure and characteristics of 49
Urban poverty 149, 199
Urban sociology 4, 199
Urbanization 90
Vayoshreshtha Samman 178
Vocational training 156
Voluntary association 131, 199
functions of 131
Voting rights 173
Vulnerability, concept of 170
Vulnerable group 170, 171f, 199
War 143, 153
Water 85
measures 158
schemes 154
Western culture, impact of 90
Westernization 47, 199
Women and Children in Rural Areas Scheme, development of 176
Women Health Volunteers 176
Women Welfare Services 175
Chapter Notes

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IntroductionCHAPTER 1

The most distinct feature of a human life is its social character. All human beings have to interact with each other to survive. Aristotle, the great Greek philosopher remarked that man is a social animal. While both nature and necessity urge a man to live in a society, his behavior is primarily determined by various forces both physical and social.
French philosopher ‘Auguste Comte’ widely recognized as the ‘Father of sociology’ with his general approach to the study of human society laid the foundation to the science of sociology during the 19th century. He first coined the term sociology in the year 1839 (Figure 1.1).
The term “sociology” is derived from the Latin word “socius” meaning companion or associate or society and the Greek word “logos” meaning science or study. Etymological meaning of the term sociology is thus the study of society or science of society.
zoom view
Figure 1.1: Auguste Comte (1798–1857)
Sociology is the systematic study of social events, social organizations, social behavior and human groups. It examines patterns of social interactions, social relationships, social processes, institutions, groups, norms and values that preserve and change them. As a field of study, it deals with family, gangs, business firms, political parties, schools, religions and labor unions. It is concerned with poverty, conformity, technology, discrimination, illness, alienation, overpopulation and community. It also focuses on the influence of social relationships upon people's attitudes and behavior and how societies are established.
Though a new entrant to the family of social sciences, the importance of this study has increased considerably as it deals with social problems, social relationships and social behavior. The methodology, scope and approach have considerably developed and attempts are now being made to study each social problem scientifically and objectively, thus eliminating subjectivity to the maximum extent possible.
Sociology has been defined by different sociologists in different ways considering various aspects of a society in their definition. It is very difficult to give a single definition that would encompass all aspects of the society. To get a clear understanding below are some definitions proposed by some famous sociologists.
  • Sociology is the science of social phenomena “subject to natural and invariable laws, the discovery of which is the object of investigation”.
—Auguste Comte
  • Sociology deals with the behavior of men in groups.
—Kimball Young
  • Sociology is concerned with the study of social life and its relationships to the factors of culture, natural environment, heredity and groups.
  • 2Sociology is the science of society or of social phenomena.
Lester Ward
  • Sociology is the study of the relationship between man and human environment.
HP Fairchild
  • In the broadest sense, sociology is the study of human interactions and inter-relations, their conditions and consequences.
—Morris Ginsberg
From the wide variety of above definitions, it can be concluded that sociologists are not unanimous about the meaning of sociology. It shows that there is a continued controversy about the nature and scope of the subject. However, it is abundantly clear that sociology is concerned with human relations and social institutions.
Sociology is a branch of knowledge having its own characteristics. Robert Bierstedt (1957) listed the following main characteristics of sociology in his book “The social order” (Box 1.1).
  1. Sociology is an independent science: Sociology is treated as an independent science with its own subject matter, theories and methods. It is not treated or studied as a branch of any other science.
  2. Sociology is a social science, not a natural science: As a social science it deals with human beings and social phenomena. It concentrates on a man's social behavior, social activities and social life. It is closely related to other social sciences like anthropology, political science, psychology and economics.
  3. Sociology is a positive science, not a normative science: Sociology studies things “as it is” and not “as it ought to be”. It does not make any value-judgments or decide the directions in which sociology ought to go. It concerns with what it is like but does not concern with what it should be or what it ought to be.
  4. Sociology is a pure science, not an applied science: The main aim of pure science is acquisition of knowledge while that of an applied science is its application or utilization. Sociology does not deal with practical works. It simply observes the society in a theoretical way and studies the factors underlying various social phenomena. It never determines questions of public policy or recommends any legislation. However, the knowledge acquired by a sociologist is of great help to the administrators, legislators, social workers and citizens.
  5. Sociology is an abstract science, not a concrete science: Sociology studies the society in general and does not confine itself to the study of particular events. It studies abstract forms of human events and their patterns such as marriage, religion, family, group, etc.
  6. Sociology is a science of generalization, not a particularizing or an individualizing science: Sociology tries to determine general laws or principles about human interaction and association, structure of human groups and societies. It tries to make generalizations on the basis of the study of some selected events. It does not study social phenomena from a particular angle.
  7. Sociology is a general social science, not a special social science: The area of inquiry of sociology is general, not specialized. It is concerned with economic, religion, social activities in a general way.
  8. Sociology is both rational and an empirical science: There are two broad ways of approach to scientific knowledge. Empiricism is an approach that emphasizes 3experience and the facts that result from observation and experimentation. Rationalism stresses on reasoning and logical inferences. An empiricist collects facts where as a rationalist coordinates and arranges them. Sociologists avail both empirical and rational resources.
Scope means subject matter or area of study. It is difficult to study a science systematically unless its boundary or scope is determined precisely. The scope of a subject can usually be discussed under the limits of its operations/applications and branches and subject matter with which it deals.
Limits of its Operations and Applications of Sociology
Sociology as a science has its own scope or boundaries. There is no one opinion about the scope of sociology. There are two main schools of thought as regards to scope of sociology: (1) Specialist or formalistic school and (2) Synthetic school. There is a good deal of controversy about the scope of sociology between the two schools. Formal school of thought believes that scope of sociology should not be generalized, while the synthetic school believes that sociology should study the society as a whole (Table 1.1).
Table 1.1   Scope of sociology
Specialist school
Synthetic school
  • Scope of sociology should not be generalized but confined to the study of certain specific aspects of the society
  • Sociology should study the society as a whole and that its scope is very vast
  • Some of the exponents of this school of thought are Max Weber, Vier Kandt, George Simmel, Vone Wiese
  • Some of the exponents of this school of thought are August Comte, Sorokin, Emile Durkheim
1. Specialist or Formalistic School
The supporters of this school believe that the scope of sociology should not be generalized but confined to the study of certain specific aspects of the society. It should deal with social relationships, activities and processes of socialization. Exponents of this school wish to keep the subject pure and independent. The views of this school regarding scope of sociology are:
  • Sociology should deal with interpretations of social behaviors only.
—Max Weber
  • Sociology should confine itself to the study of formal behavior and not the actual behavior of people in the society.
—Alfred Vierkandt
  • Society is a collection of psychic interactions between individuals and not just a collection of individuals.
—George Simmel
  • Sociology is a special science and is more important than general sociology.
—Vone Wiese
2. Synthetic School
The supporters of this school believe that sociology is a general science and that its scope is very vast. It should study the society as a whole and not confine itself to the study of only limited social problems. The views of this school regarding scope of sociology are:
  • The scope of sociology should be considerably widened as the study of one aspect of a society can led to misleading results. All aspects of the society are inter-linked to each other as are the parts of a human body.
—August Comte
  • Scope of sociology should be general and not narrow. It should study the society as a whole. In the modern times no social science can remain isolated by ignoring other subjects of study.
—Hobb-House and Sorokin
  • Sociology is a systematic science with manifold interactions. It is concerned with general facts of social life.
  • Sociology is a science of collective representation.
—Emile Durkheim
According to Emile Durkheim (1858-1917), sociology has three principal divisions (Figure 1.2):
  1. Social morphology: It studies the geographical aspects of a society such as how the density of population can affect a society.
  2. Social physiology: It studies the influence of dynamic processes in a society such as how religion, morals, law, economics and political aspects can affect a society.
  3. General sociology: It studies general social laws and the process and interaction of human beings with a goal to improve day-to-day activities of the society.
zoom view
Figure 1.2: Basic branches of sociology
Due to evolution of societies and their relationship with the environment new branches are continuously emerging. Some of them are (Box 1.2):
  1. Historical sociology: It focuses on how societies developed through history. It studies how and when different social groups or organizations originated, their social structure and how they were shaped by complex social processes.
  2. Sociology of knowledge: It studies the relationship between human thought and the social context within which it arises. It indicates that our knowledge is the product of social phenomena. This means our knowledge is always influenced by society.
  3. Criminology: It studies the criminal behavior of individuals or groups and different aspects of criminal behavior such as its origin, nature, extent, causes, consequences, control and prevention.
  4. Political sociology: It studies the interrelationship between society and politics. It includes the study of different political ideologies, their origin, development and functions. Various activities and behavior of political parties are studied in this branch.
  5. Sociology of religion: It studies the structure of religion in the social system and the influence of religion and religious constitutions in the social system.
  6. Sociology of economy: It studies the economic activities of a society such as production, distribution, consumption and exchange of goods and services.
  7. Rural sociology: It studies the rural life in a scientific way. It focuses on the pattern of life in rural people such as their behavior, beliefs, culture, tradition, norms, values, etc. It also studies social institutions, social structure, social processes, etc., of a rural society.
  8. Urban sociology: It studies the way of life among urban people. It focuses on social organizations or institutions, social structure, and social interactions of urban society. It also studies the social pathology of urban society such as crime, corruption, robbery, beggary, unemployment, prostitution, environment, pollution, etc.
  9. Sociology of demography: It studies the size, composition, density, distribution and measurement of population. It determines factors of population change and its trend.
  10. Sociology of law: This branch of sociology is related to moral order of the society. It studies rules, regulations, law and order in the society.
  11. 5Industrial sociology: It studies the different industrial organizations and their inter-relationships with institutions of the society.
  12. Medical sociology: It deals with application of sociological perspectives and methods in the study of health issues in societies with a focus on the sociocultural milieu that is related to health and illness.
Subject Matter of Sociology
Sociology being a recent science, the sociologists in their attempts to enrich knowledge of sociology developed its own subject matter through different approaches from time to time. Subject matter of sociology is diverse ranging from crime to social organization, family to state, divisions of race to common culture and from stability to radical change. A general outline of the field of sociology is as under:
  • Sociological analysis of human culture and society: Sociological analysis being the main concern of the subject, it attempts to provide an analysis of the human society and culture with a sociological perspective. While displaying a keen interest in the evolution of the society an attempt is made to reconstruct the major stages of the evolutionary process. An effort is also made to analyze the factors and forces responsible for the historical transformation of the society.
  • Analysis of primary units of social life: Sociology has put a lot of thought into the study of primary units of social life. It deals with social acts, social relationships, individual personality, groups, communities, associations, organizations and population. The subject matter also ranges from the intimate family to the hostile mob, from organized crime to religious cults, from the division of race, gender and social class to the shared beliefs of common culture, from the sociology of work to the sociology of sport.
  • Development of social institutions: Sociology has been concerned about the origin, development, structure, function, changes and challenges of a wide variety of social institutions like family, kinship, religion and various other economic, political, legal, educational, scientific, recreational, welfare, aesthetic institutions.
  • Focus on human interactions: Sociology focuses on human interactions—mutual and reciprocal, associated feelings, attitudes and actions. Sociological enquiry is on people as social beings and their activities change in relation to one another. Attention is on the way people structure their relationships, form, sustain and change social ties.
  • Focus on fundamental social processes: Fundamental social processes such as co-operation and competition, accommodation and assimilation, social conflict including war and revolution, communication including opinion formation, expression and change, social control and deviance including crime, suicide, social integration and social change have assumed importance in sociological studies.
  • Focus on research: Sociology has placed a great premium on methods of research as contemporary sociology has evolved from simply being philosophical and idealistic to being more rational and empirical. Sociologists are directing their efforts on formulating concepts, propositions and theories.
  • Emergence of new branches: Many new branches such as sociology of knowledge, sociology of medicine, sociology of law have emerged.
Thus, the scope of sociology is very wide. It is not only a general science but also a special science. The subject matter of all social sciences is society. What distinguishes them from one another is their viewpoint. Economics studies society from an economic viewpoint; political science studies it from political viewpoint while history studies it from a historical viewpoint. It is neither possible nor essential to delimit the scope of sociology.
Sociology is the study of human relationships and institutions. It plays a significant role in the field of medicine and nursing with the common goal of preventing illness and restoration of health. While sociology emphasizes on the study of society, community and people, nursing as a profession emphasizes on assisting individuals, families and communities in attaining and maintaining optimal health and functioning.
The study of sociology is essential for healthcare professionals as it allows them to better comprehend the social conditions responsible for various health problems. It also helps them understand the causal relationship between the disease and the social condition.
Study of sociology helps nurses in the following ways (Figure 1.3):
  1. Comprehend social processes
    • A nurse can better position herself by understanding the characteristics of social relationships within the community, factors such as economic status, political influences, moral values, religious practices and the impact of their complexities on healthcare services.
    • A study of subject sociology provides her with an insight into the prevalent social practices, superstitious beliefs, family structure, community and the society. All these factors are important for planning and implementing nursing care.
    • It also helps to understand social stressors which affect patient adversely.
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    Figure 1.3: Significance of sociology in nursing
  2. Understand social life of patients
    • Health is in a major way determined by customs, beliefs and traditions both social and cultural. A nurse needs to recognize these social determinants of health as individuals from diverse social groups experience the world differently. This will allow her to perceive the subjective experiences 7of patients accurately. Sociology thus offers a valuable base of knowledge for nursing practice.
    • Many socioeconomic factors and pressures like status, stigma, cultural taboos and customs may be playing on the patient's health adversely. A nurse with awareness of these factors can provide better care to patients.
    • An understanding of the strata of society the patient comes from gives a clear hearing of the patient's thoughts and feelings which in turn helps her in providing comprehensive care to patients.
    • Sociology enables nurses to understand the attitude of persons towards medical care, barriers of communication, and interpersonal components of disease process.
    • Sociology allows nurses to understand the cause and meaning of patient behavior and gain greater insight into human problems as related to illness.
    • A fine understanding of the inter-relationships between socio-economic variables and the health parameters helps the nurse in identification and control of various diseases.
    • Study of sociology makes her aware of the factors contributing to positive outcome and the barriers to treatment and rehabilitation.
    • It helps in recognizing community health resources and facilities available for individuals.
    • All healthcare professionals including nurses must have an understanding of their patient's social background if they have to deliver the best services possible. Nurses must understand who their service users are and who they are likely to be caring for so as to ensure delivery of best caring experience. Sociology as a subject provides this understanding and is thus capable of constituting valuable theoretical knowledge.
  3. Provide quality care to patients
    • Sociology being a study of social facts enables the nurses to relate to the client as a whole. Community nurses are required to deal with the family and other related problems such as housing, economic status, social isolation and psychosocial disturbances among patients. A proper perception of the above factors helps her provide comprehensive care to patients.
    • An awareness regarding the social support available for a patient helps the nurse plan for rehabilitative care.
    • Sociology empowers the nurses in meeting the challenges they will encounter while providing patient care.
    • An awareness of the social distribution of health provides nurses with a broad understanding of the health issues associated with individuals from different social backgrounds and the kind of patients they are likely to come in contact with. The benefits are evident when attention is paid to the locality where the nurse is employed.
    • An understanding of each individual patient's social context provides a significant insight into their healthcare experience. While seeing the world from patient's perspective the nurse is able to employ the required skills and practice depending upon the social backgrounds they come from.
  4. Acquaint with the social environment
    • A proper understanding of the social environment helps a nurse provide better care for improving the patient condition.
    • It helps the nurse to perceive behaviors, conflicts, inter-personal relationships, hierarchies and group dynamics among various people working in the hospital.
    • It helps to build interpersonal relationships between patients, medical personnel and other healthcare providers.
  5. 8Adjust to the situation
    • Knowledge of sociology helps the nurse adjust to various situations in the hospital environment.
    • Sociological knowledge promotes a better understanding of the patients and co-workers among nurses.
  6. Change the patient environment
    • Medical sociology while recognizing the significance of social forces in health takes into account such forces while organizing public health programs so as to change the behavioral pattern. Medical sociology investigates health and medical issues from an independent sociological perspective.
    • Sociology allows the nurses to develop a critical understanding of the social circumstance the individuals are in and the forces and pressures which threaten their health. This provides them with an opportunity to promote social change.
  7. Act as an agent of change
    • A nurse with a capacity to heal or make the patient feel better is not only treating his illness but also improving the quality of their lives.
    • Armed with an understanding of how society works and its impact on health, nurses can become a powerful force advocating for a fairer society to eradicate the social factors contributing to poor health and uneven distribution.
    • Knowledge of sociology prepares the nurse for impending challenges, and impart such knowledge to patients thus allowing them to confront their own challenges.
    • Patients are empowered to challenge their situation, enhance their own wellbeing both in terms of individual lifestyle changes and more radically by changing the system responsible for causing the health inequality.
  8. Provide care to special groups in the society
    • A patient with physical handicap should be understood in the context of his social milieu. Psychological, social and vocational handicaps of disabled people and patients are often related with false attitudes of people.
    • Knowledge of sociology helps nurses recognize social needs of special population (children, aged, physically challenged, mentally impaired, HIV/ AIDS patients) and provide them suitable care.
  9. Know social landscape
    • All regions have social characteristics because of their being dominated by certain social groups and social issues. For example, a hospital in a backward area can expect a higher proportion of patients from lower social classes, single mothers, ethnic minorities and alcohol addicts along with the effects of poverty such as poor diet and substandard housing. Nurses need to be aware of the social make-up of the locality within which they are more likely to be caring for and the problems they are more likely to encounter as professionals.
  10. Preventive and public health
    • Preventive medicine attempts to control and manage development and distribution of ill health before individuals become susceptible to it. Having prior knowledge of subject sociology provides nurses with a greater understanding of individuals and the factors contributing to their ill health.
    • By understanding the social circumstances from which ill health arises and how social groups are affected in different ways, community nurses can develop a more detailed knowledge of the lifestyle of different social groups. Through this knowledge the nurse can subsequently offer advice on changes the patients and service users should make within their own environment to improve health.