Sociology is the study of groups of two or more people and their interactions, including how they act and react, organize themselves, construct ideas, explain the world, communicate with each other, form groups, build institutions, protect themselves, produce, distribute, and consume things, work, play, eat, conform, resist, learn, love, live, die, and much else. Sociology focuses on the social forces that shape individual lives and how (groups of) individuals influence those social forces. Sociology emphasizes the causes and consequences of human thoughts and behavior. Sociology is society’s way of understanding itself.

Basic sociological questions for any given situation may include, but are certainly not limited to:

a) what are people thinking, saying, and doing there?

b) what kinds of people are there?

c) who is included and who is excluded?

d) what rules and norms govern behavior there?

e) how are roles assigned, tasks divided, rewards and punishments distributed?

f) who says so?

g) how are people socialized?

h) why are things the way they are?

i) whose interests do these social arrangements serve?

j) who benefits and who loses?

k) what powerful people, processes, institutions, and structures influence these arrangements?

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