Welcome to Sociology Online

Welcome to Sociology Online, the UK's resource for all students of sociology
The site is primarily dedicated to the subject matter of Sociology.
Please use the menu in the left-hand column to navigate to the various sections of the site. 
We hope you find the site both educational and enjoyable to use.

Quizzes and Crosswords

Now with ten new and recently updated quizzes and crosswords! Try Sociologyonline's Games section for a fun way to discover sociology.
Visit the Games section.  

Max Weber....hero or zero

Max Weber (21 April 1864–14 June 1920)  developed a comprehensive and coherent framework of social science, which recognised the problems of the interpretation of the social action. He argued that sociology could not develop the concepts of the state and family unless they could be stated in the terms of individual action. Sociology had to look at understanding the meaning of actions.

Weber distinguished four types of action theories.

Traditional- actions, which are performed because they have been performed in the past.

Affectual- actions to express emotions.

Instramental- action in which the actor compares different means to a goal and assess the utility of the goal itself.

Value rationality- the actor takes the goal as an end in itself and may not even compare the different means to the goal.

Max Weber


Introducing Sociology

If you are new to Sociology or one of its fundamental ideas or concepts, visit the Sociology section of the site. Here you will find discussions of important sociological ideas such as: The sociological imagination; class; gender and ethnicity.
Visit the Sociology section.


The Classics

All academic disciplines have what Raymond Williams once referred to as a 'selective tradition' of writings and texts to which the contemporary practitioners of the discipline would allude to as forming the classics of the discipline. Sociology is no different in this regard. Visit the Classic section of the site to learn more about the works of Max Weber, corporate hospitality Emile Durkheim, Harriet Martineau, Karl Marx and Georg Simmel amongst others in the classic tradition of sociology. 


Sociology News

Thursday Sept 9th, 2009 

Thinking Globally
Social Life
Thinking Online

Chavez interviewed 
In his first interview in the USA, the president of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez talks with Amy Goodman of Democracy Now about the war in Iraq, President Bush, the role of the media in the aborted coup against him and Venezuela's request for the extradition of Cuban anti-Castro militant Luis Posada Carriles. Watch, listen or read the interview: Part 1 | Part 2 

Africa's time has come 
Larry Elliott, economics editor of The Guardian examines the futures for Africa in the light of the rhetoric of Gleneagles and the disappointing recent UN summit on world poverty. More 

China: Gender equality 
China has for the first time outlawed sexual harassment and domestic violence, establishing gender equality as a national policy. BBC.
People's Daily 

The second age of globalisation? 

Welcome to the second age of globalisation, and the labour practices of Victorian mill owners argues Larry Elliott 

Globalisation is an anomaly 
James Kunstler argues that cheap energy and relative peace helped create a false doctrine and its time is running out. More 

Aborigines' island life 
Nick Squires visits the Tiwi Islands, a pair of remote islands situated 80 km (50 miles) north of Darwin, Australia in the Arafura Sea and finds a very different way of Aboriginal life. More 

Enlightened globalisation 
Anthony Barnett talks to Jeffrey Sachs who hopes that the Gleneagles summit will generate an Enlightened globalisation for the world's poor. open Democracy. 

Sleepwalking to Segregation? 
In the speech, titled After 7/7: Sleepwalking to Segregation, given to the Manchester Council for Community Relations, Trevor Phillips, the chairman of the Commission for Racial Equality, highlighted how Britain's younger generation were less integrated than their parents. More 

So much more than blood 

Libby Brooks launches a year-long project chronicling the day-to-day lives of 11 diverse British families. More 

Fatwa on Indian tennis star to cover up 
A group of Muslim clerics has issued a religious diktat demanding that India's teenage tennis star Sania Mirza cover up during matches, saying that her skirts and T-shirts are "un-Islamic" and "corrupting". More | BBC 

Gender gap in primary school
Boys have fallen even further behind girls in their writing skills despite a marginal overall improvement in youngsters' performance in compulsory national tests taken this spring in English and maths, new figures revealed yesterday. More 

The average family: 1961 
From the Guardian archive comes this article from 1961 summarising Social Trends on the family.More 

Britain to re brand ethnic minorities 
THE Government is proposing to rename ethnic minority groups along US lines in an attempt to strengthen and highlight their British roots. The Times 

Strangers in London? 
What would you do if you came across a dying man - stop to help or walk away? Last week 'Tara McCartney' was caught up in a horrific attack on a bus. She was shocked by the response. More 

There is no such thing as community 
The idea that society comprises homogeneous groups is deluded More 

Walking towards a better life 
Rambling in the countryside has never been so popular, but a conference this weekend will examine how taking a daily stroll down the High Street can breathe new life into towns. More
Living Streets 

BBC1 too focused on white suburbia, say governors 
BBC chairman Michael Grade today reignited the debate over the corporation and the "white middle classes". more 

BBC directors 
Broadcasting unions yesterday criticised senior BBC executives for "gross" and "cynical" behaviour for accepting bonuses totaling £546,000 at a time when the corporation is making up to 4,000 staff redundant. more

In praise of Charles Tilly? 
Geoff Mulgan provides an introduction for UK readers to the work of Charles Tilly, who Mulgan considers "America's most prolific and interesting sociologist". Interesting but cannot help thinking that in terms of the range of writing emanating out of US sociology at the moment Mulgan 'doesn't get out much'! More 

City of Panic 
Ian Pindar reviews Paul Virilio's apocalyptic study of the modern metropolis, City of Panic. 

Love and/vs money 
US sociologist Viviana A Zelizer suggests the New Orleans disaster highlighted two very different ideas about the economics of life and intimacy. Intimate truths 

Jacques Lacan 
From The Philosophers' Magazine comes this brief introduction to Jacques Lacan and his work More 

A Hobbesian state? 
Timothy Garton-Ash suggests once we "..remove the elementary staples of organised, civilised life - food, shelter, drinkable water, minimal personal security - and we go back within hours to a Hobbesian state of nature, a war of all against all." More | Others disagree 

Ramadan joins task force 
Muslim scholar, Professor Tariq Ramadan, accused by critics of sympathising with violence, has been appointed to a government taskforce attempting to root out Islamic extremism in Britain. More 

Creative Commons License. 
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Sociology Online UK The Sociology resource for students

  • Socio Quote

    Public Enemy (1991)
    "You can't see who's in cahoots, 'cos now the KKK wear three-piece suits." 
    (Apocalypse 91. The Enemy Strikes Back)

Article of the Week

Sociology is a relatively new study among other social science disciplines including economics, political science, anthropology, psychology
The term was coined by Auguste Comte, who hoped to unify all studies of humankind--including history, psychology and economics. His own sociological scheme was typical of the 18th century; he believed all human life had passed through the same distinct historical stages and that, if one could grasp this progress, one could prescribe the remedies for social ills.

In the end, Sociology did not replace the other social sciences, but came to be another of them, with its own particular emphases in terms of subject matter and methods. Today, Sociology studies humankind's organizations and social institutions, largely by a comparative method. It has concentrated particularly on the organization of complex industrial societies.

Further information on the Carbon Trust's main areas of activity. Learn about Carbon management and our support for low carbon companies and R&D programmes.

Major Branches
conflict theory
interactionism or Social Action theory and symbolic-interactionism
sociology of knowledge (or: social constructionism)

Specialised areas
Environmental sociology
Human ecology (sometimes included into sociology proper)
Industrial sociology
Medical sociology
Micro sociology
Political sociology
Rural sociology
Sociology of religion
Sociology of science and technology
Systems theory
Urban sociology

Key Sociological Topics:
justified irresponsibility
role and role homogeneity
social structure

Sociology and the internet

See our latest evidence briefings, on social mobility and innovation in the UK. 

    The internet is of interest for sociologists in three views at least: as a tool for research, for example by using online questionnaires instead of paper ones, as a discussion platform (see 'External links' section below), and as a research topic. Sociology of the internet in the last sense includes analysis of online communities (e.g. as found in newsgroups) and virtual communities, organisational change catalysed through new media like the internet as well as societal change at-large in the transformation from industrial to informational society (or to information society).

    Terms and Methods
    sociological perspective
    social fact
    Methods: quantitative method, qualitative method, ethnography