posted on Mar, 16 2009 @ 08:07 PM
"Sociology" is just the study of social systems. It doesn't argue or explain anything; sociologists argue and explain things, and come at the study
from all different viewpoints.
I don't know what exactly it is that you're reading that's bringing up these questions recently, but I don't think you're getting a balanced view
of the breadth of these studies.
Both sociology and (social or cultural) anthropology study how humans exist in groups. They can be pursued from the point of view of radical
individualism, but as it turns out that doesn't usually explain how society actually works.
It's not a moral question though. You seem to be assuming that there is no difference between reason and excuse, which is not true.
Our society and culture (that of the late 20th to early 21st century United States of America) raise the idea of the autonomous individual to a
privileged position that almost no other human society has or does. We have reified (that's a nice sociology word for you) the individual, arguing
that a person is nothing more than the sum of their biological and mental processes, and can be examined without reference to his or her social
Yet we don't behave that way. In experiment after experiment we find that social relations shape individual behavior. That doesn't mean that they
make individual behavior right, or moral; just different.
Crowds behave differently than small groups of people.
Families behave differently than random groups of people.
Peer groups behave differently than intergenerational groups of people.
All these differences are different in different settings.
Sociology and anthropology attempt to study these interactions, not to excuse behavior.
Do you really think that your sense of morality is not affected (or even effected) by the social setting that you grew up in, and the social setting
that you're in now?
ATS itself is a social setting, and our interactions here can be studied to see how they are shaped by the medium (text-based, short messages with
long lifespans) as opposed to the medium of a chat room (text-based, short messages with short lifespans) or "real life" (mixed verbal, visual,
physical, pheromonal, etcetera messages with differing lifespans).
Sociology does not mean "society excuses your behavior".