Publication Date


Degree Program

Department of Sociology

Degree Type

Master of Arts


The specific purpose of this study is to examine various definitions of sociology since the invention of the term. From this examination, an attempt will be made to determine the extent of agreement among sociologists as to what sociology means. The Procedure: Chapter II, Part A, is concerned with the early European conceptions of sociology, from Comte through Pareto. The extent of agreement among these conceptions is examined. Part B is concerned with the extent of agreement of the early American Conceptions of sociology. Part C examines definitions found in Introductory texts from 1921 through 1950. The three sections of Chapter II may be considered as a review of the literature if one views this paper in the traditional thesis - framework. Chapter III is concerned specifically with introductory sociology texts and the extent of agreement among definitions found in a sample of the current texts (1951-1970). The importance of introductory texts in examining current definitions of sociology is explained in Chapter III along with the specific rationales for the years chosen and the sample which is used. In Chapter IV, a comparison will be made between Furfey's study and Chapter III of the present investigation to see if there is some continuity between the two and if not the reasons for ^ e lack of it. In this chapter further evidence will be presented concerning the extent of agreement among sociologists on the definitions of the term during the periods studied. Chapter V will discuss briefly the extent of agreement and continuity of the definitions from Comte to the present. Any conclusions concerning the extent of agreement will be made at this time. It should be noted that this investigation is not an attempt to formulate a final definition of sociology.



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