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What is sociology?
Sociology is a thing, which if it didn’t exist, would have to be invented…
Leonard Broom (2005, p. 210)

If you’re new to sociology, and trying to get your head around exactly what it entails, you probably haven’t realised that you’ve encountered it many times already. Sociological analysis features regularly in media commentary and public debate.
One sociologist noted “ours has become an age pervaded by sociology’ and sociological concepts have ‘drifted into our everyday language.’ Robert Merton 1981, p. 42.
This familiarity with the subject matter of sociology – we are all members of society and thus by definition, should be automatic experts on the topic – can too often lead to the dismissal of the sociological enterprise as mere common sense. Yet, it is much more than that.
Sociology involves a methodical study of human behaviours and societies. It is the study of the relationship between the individual and society, investigating how human thought, action and interaction shapes and is shaped by society, or how ‘we create society at the same time as we are created by it’. As sociologists, we need to view our own society as an outsider would.
As sociologists, we need to view our own society as an outsider would.

Questions: 1. Imagine you are looking through the telescope at our society. In your own words, how would you describe the society we live in? 2. How are you influenced by society? 3. How do you influence society?
Figure 1 Understandascope: Leunig cartoon (1984)
Figure 1 Understandascope: Leunig cartoon (1984)

Figure 2 Scene from Czech National Puppet Theatre's 'Don Giovanni'
Peter Berger, (1963) a famous sociologist, thought about sociology in this way:

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