Discussion: Sociology and History
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Even though we do have the discipline of Social Science, I do believe we still need History as its own discipline. John Stuart Mill’s
essay Of The Inverse Deduction, or Historical Method actually had the name “Social Science” to describe a new discipline.1 History’s
relationship to Sociology, I believe, comes from the two fields sharing the common discipline of Social Science. We find the makeup
of social science as the following disciplines; sociology, physiology, anthropology, economics, and political sciences to name a few.
History is included with these other disciplines, but it can stand alone outside of social science.
History and sociology couldn’t exist without each other. We see History as dealing with past events in, at most times, a chronological
account of past activities of human experiences, as well as studying the past in looking at the economic, political, and social events of
countries and their people. Both history and sociology, I believe, can influence each other. Sociology depends on history in order to
look and study past historical events and historical situations in a given country or culture. The histories of various cultures require an
understanding of sociology and the putting together materials of certain time periods being studied. Whereas in order to understand
the past societies we want to study, we need the assistance and help of history.
Not everyone believes that history and sociology are liked and could not exist without each other. Emile Durkheim is one of these
people. Durkeim spoke negatively about history. Saying that this discipline was “reluctant to compare its findings across periods,
nations, and cultures.”2 With all his negativity towards History as a discipline, Durkheim says “without History’s fact based
accomplishments, Sociology’s intellectual ground would be less secure.”3 So we can see Durkheim as kind of a flip flop-per in his
views of other disciplines. Durkheim saw Sociology as a “theoretical and research field,” where History was more of a research and
data collecting discipline.4 Durkheim further sees Sociology as a separate discipline from History. He say Sociology as more of a
scientific field, over the “fact-gathering ancestor,” which was History.5
Max Weber on the other hand thought of himself as a Historian, even though he became a Sociologist. He saw History as a research
and data collecting discipline that did not use bias or “preconceived hypothesis,” as Sociology did.6 Weber linked both History and
Sociology together and viewed then important. This link with Weber helped create “the comparative and interdisciplinary” elements of
the field of Social History.7 Weber used History and Sociolgy in his attempt of interpreting “modern industrial societies, and the “role
of culture in the production of social meanings and values.”8
In my paper, sociology and history go hand in hand to tell the story of individuals and groups in the pursuit of making life for the
everyday person important. Sociology plays an important role in the development of my central character from his birth to his death
and everything inbetween.
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