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Origin of Sociology

Germov and Poole (2018) discuss the origin of sociology. Sociology is the basic study of changes within society. Auguste Comte is regarded as the first person to define sociology in 1939. Over time, changes have occurred in the definition of sociology to the Enlightenment period in the 18th Century. Therefore, this assignment is a summary of explanations by different sociologists on the origin and evolution of society.

Sociology Summary

Comte stated that sociology is a science. Comte recommended that sociology be studied using scientific methods such as physics, chemistry and biology to explain societal occurrences. Additionally, Comte associated the evolutionary changes to God’s will as the first stage. The second stage was societal changes attributed to supernatural forces. The third stage uses science to explain occurrences (Germov & Poole, 2018, p. 25). Comte stated that science was associated with positivism.

Herbert Spencer agreed with Comte that societies change through stages. In his writing, Spencer stated that societies change from less complex forms to more complex ones. Spencer was also involved as the predecessor to the writing of Charles Darwin on evolution and “Survival for the fittest.” (Germov & Poole, 2018, p. 26).

Karl Marx is renowned for historical materialism and his discussion about the emergence of industries and their impact on society. Karl Marx based his arguments that societies change because of economic activities on what he later termed capitalism (Germov & Poole, 2018, p. 27). Additionally, Karl explained capitalism using the concepts of proletariat, bourgeoisie, and alienation. Capitalism would change to socialism and communism. Marx developed the conflict theory arising from functionalism.

Émile Durkheim discussed factors such as structure and law that influenced society. Durkheim argued that society should be studied as a science and correlating factors that affect its co-existence. Moreover, Durkheim illustrated that society is governed by social cohesion that leads to solidarity (Germov & Poole, 2018, p. 29). Durkheim also discussed types of suicide and how they influence cohesion in society.

Max Weber’s standpoint on society was based on rationalization, social stratification, and ethics. The rationalization concept argued that bureaucracies would soon replace the world. The ethics discussed by Weber were the protestant ethics that stated that work ethics govern society. Moreover, protestant ethics through religion contributes to economic development, as stated by Marxism (Germov & Poole, 2018, p. 30). Social class was evident through stratification, as discussed in the social theory.

Georg Simmel stated that social interactions governed society. This interaction was known as symbolic interactionism. Simmel appreciated that the world was changing, and interaction was essential in growing societies and creating spaces for advancement (Germov & Poole, 2018, p. 32). Finally, Germov and Poole (2018, p. 34) discussed the view of Harriet Martineau in sociology. Martineau explained that the changes in society were associated with science).


Auguste Comte, Herbert Spencer, Karl Marx, Émile Durkheim, Max Weber, Georg Simmel, and Harriet Martineau have written sociology work that shows the evolution of society. Additionally, they highlight compounding factors that influence society, such as science, social interaction, social stratification, ethics, rationalization, capitalism, communism and social class. Therefore, this teaching creates an understanding of sociology.


Germov, M., & Poole, J. (2018). Sociological foundations: Early theorists and theories. Chapter 2.


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