Monday, December 7, 2020

Summary: Sociology as a Form of Consciousness by Peter Berger

From: Invitation to Sociology

Peter Berger's "Sociology as a Form of Consciousness" presents sociology as a unique form of modern thought. Berger lists three main characteristics of sociology:

1.Underestimating the character.


3.Putting things on their relative footing.

According to Berger these motifs of sociological thinking place it as a "modern" form of Western consciousness. This uniqueness is expressed in several ways. The terms "society" and "social" take on a different meaning in sociology. Berger argues that society as the object of research should be a cohesive set of relationships sufficient to be able to analyze itself on its own as an independent entity. Sociological research is a type of abstraction that differs from other types (legal / economic, etc.) in that it is much more comprehensive and deals with unofficial aspects of the objects of its research. Sociology needs certain conditions to be formed - the main of which is historical circumstances that are characterized by severe shocks to self-perception. However, there is a universal aspect in sociology (i.e., it can evolve in many places, not necessarily Western ones) but with the onset of modern times in the West sociology began to take on the face of a systematic and centralized set of rules. Berger argues that the sociology perspective involves seeing through the facades of social structures (ample examples in the text). In conducting strong research the sociologist wills to go beyond the accepted social interpretations. For example, the concept of "social problem" (like young offenders) is not a sociological problem - the sociologist may identify with the claim that young offenders are a problem, but sociologically this fact does not matter - it is an expression of underestimation, the ability to examine situations from competing value systems. Durkheim's functionalism is characterized by the analysis of society on the basis of its actions as a system, Robert Merton's addition of analysis of functions as overt and covert - allows a deeper vision into the activities of society as a system. Another distinction is between "fair" and "unfair" sectors of society, Berger argues that the absolute fairness of thought means death to sociology, that is, sociology deals with the hidden and unofficial aspects of society, which is, in Berger's view, the reason that sociology is almost non-existent. In totalitarian countries. Finally, sociology according to Berger also requires a certain degree of relativism, the ability to place value systems in a relative and not absolute way.

Additional summaries from Peter Berger's Invitation to Sociology:

Sociology as an Individual Pastime

the sociologist's motivation

Great books by Peter Berger and other invitations to sociology: