According to (…) sociology “is about the scientific study of human social interaction and the social forces which shape much of human behaviour” their definition of an otherwise exceptionally complex concept narrows it down to a degree that we can break down, analyse, engage with and ultimately understand as a ‘tool’ that aims to investigate; how human behaviour is influenced or can be influenced by the trends, patterns or social structures that exist within their particular societies, but also aims to investigate how human behaviour influences the formation of these patterns, trends or social structures within their society (…). Part of sociology then is to study the relationship between the two’ phenomena’. The various patterns, trends, organisations and institutions of a particular society such as; the laws, norms, and values governing the functioning’s of a particular society and institutions such as the economy of the society, the religions practiced within the society, the schooling and/ or education system of the society form the structure of the particular society.
To put it to perspective (….) provide an even simpler but just as explicit definition, they define sociology as a science that “generally studies (1) group memberships, (2) group values and norms, and (3) group pressures (or rewards), as they affect people’s behaviour and preferences. For example we can somewhat analyse “group membership” in a South African high school context where different sub-social groups are formed within the high school society, we can look at how the extent of how well learners perform (academically) in high school is more or less influenced by how different learners occupying different sub-social groups in their school value education. I have seen this in the high school I attended and the high schools in and around my community where the groups of learners who perform particularly well in high school usually have a higher value for education, and the groups of learners who don’t perform particularly well in high school usually have less or no value for education.
Having defined ‘norms’ as merits shared within society, and ‘values’ as supported by societal norms as to what constitutes proper behaviour within a given society, we can see the influence of values and norms in learners behaviour and preferences within southern African schools (…). for insistence, using the same scenario as the one I used above, we can see the effects of what the sub-social group of learners who value education and the learners who don’t value education has on their overall academic performance, if part of the norms and values of the students who value education is to study, and do their school work then the is a higher chance that their overall academic performance will be higher than that of the students who don’t values education as much, and hold the ideology of not studying, or doing their school work as part of their norms and values.
(…) attest that, these norms and values are supported by “group” pressures or (rewards), the learners that value education will each encourage each other, to work hard in their school work as to that ideology being part of their norms and values, whist the learners who don’t value education will bring humiliation, distance themselves or discourage anyone within their sub-social group who works hard in school. In understanding this definition of sociology it is important to note that the above examples focus primarily on the more ‘localized social actions’ instead of global social actions which might also influence the learners overall performance and even the formation of their norms and values, “hence sociology deals with a very wide variety of social aspects”(…xv).
In completing their detailed description of sociology (…) extend a distinction between individual relationships in a society and global social process as micro and macro sociology. Micro sociology will study how individuals within a society or in the above example a school, interact with each other and how those interactions ultimately influence their overall behaviour, whilst macro sociology will study how global social forces such as; trends, patterns, organisations or global structures including the economy, politics and/or education system influences the behaviour of the individuals within a given society.
Condensed, sociology examines the broad social actions; human encounters and interactions, and the social structures that a breed from such encounters, these encounters can either be universal social process or more localized individual encounters (…). It is empirical then to understand the relationship between micro sociology and macro sociology, and one way of understanding this relationship is by understanding the concept of Social Imagination.