Sociology and common sense, unlike popular belief, do not refer to the same thing. Many people believe that sociology is just common sense. This misconception arises due to people not trying to even study sociology in the first place. In this article, I am going to discuss how sociology and common sense are different from each other.
To study this, we need to define what they exactly are. In layman terms, the social science which helps people to study the structure and dynamics of the society is called Sociology. It is more than common sense and this is why it is studied as a discipline. Common sense, on the other hand, is based on individual and natural hypotheses that one makes and this varies from person to person since opinions are not the same among a group of people. Though there is a close relationship between sociology and common sense, there is still a gap between them. While in sociology, the sociologist’s research on whether which theories are fact or fiction by elaborately researching beliefs as well as evidence, in common sense, there is no hard and fast rule that a particular theory applies to everyone (since people have conflicting opinions). Though common sense is of use at times, it is not a systematic study and not everything can be predicted correctly.
Differences between sociology and common sense:
- Common sense differs from person to person and is influenced by the customs and beliefs of the family one is born into. It, therefore, calls for no social changes and wants the status quo. Sociology, on the other hand, studies the intricate details of evidence as well as the beliefs and decides upon what can be applied and what cannot. It questions the present situation when the opinions and evidence conflict and then supports changes in society.
- Common sense of a person just an assumption. In this case, one has no evidence to back what one believes. Unlike common sense, sociological theories are not mere assumptions but a sociologist concludes upon the theories by collecting evidences and studying them in-depth. Given this research, the points put forward by these theories are reliable and truly applicable to real life.
- Common sense is based on personal experiences. But Sociology looks at the society not with respect to individuals but as a whole. While common sense develops as one experiences various situations but Sociology demands thoughts that are not merely individual experiences.
- Sociology is a scientific study of society. But common sense is not. Since Sociology is an elaborate study of the society (and includes research), it is a science. But since common sense doesn’t require the same it isn’t.
- In Sociology, while one is researching, one comes across the patterns that can be found everywhere in the world. But common sense is subjective since it differs from one individual to another based on the society one comes from.
- Common sense is very limited since the person’s horizon is nowhere beyond the environment in one’s vicinity. But Sociological findings are applicable to a huge number of people who come from varying backgrounds.
Sociology calls for a great of research and this allows for the authenticity of the data provided as well as the theories formulated. But this doesn’t imply that common sense is of no use at all. Common sense is very useful and in fact, has helped many sociologists ponder over them and probe into them. So, both common sense and sociology are different but are closely knit.
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