Sociology literally means the study of companionship. It comes from the Latin “socius” meaning “companion” and the Greek “logos” meaning “the study of.” Another way to think about this: what makes up #social membership? How and why do people form different social groups? What are the societal structures that shape social interaction and subsequently give our lives meaning? Comte first popularised this term in 1824. He sought to investigate the laws of society using methods from the natural sciences. Later sociologists developed different methods that were less about cause and effect and more about the complex interactions between individuals, history and social institutions like the law, economy, religion, medicine, media, and so on.
This photo comes from the Penguin Dictionary of Sociology by Nicholas Abercrombie, Stephen Hill and Bryan S. Turner.