The different traditional focuses of sociology include social stratification, social class, social mobility, religion, secularization, law, sexuality, gender, and deviance.As all spheres of human activity are affected by the interplay between social structure and individual agency, sociology has gradually expanded its focus to other subjects, such as health, medical, economy, military and penal institutions, the Internet, education, social capital, and the role of social activity in the development of scientific knowledge.
The sociological treatment of historical and moral problems, which Comte and after him, Spencer and Taine, had discussed and mapped, became a precise and concrete study only when the attack of militant Marxism made its conclusions a burning issue, and so made the search for evidence more zealous and the attention to method more intense.
Herbert Spencer (27 April 1820 – 8 December 1903) was one of the most popular and influential 19th-century sociologists.
The range of social scientific methods has also expanded.
Social researchers draw upon a variety of qualitative and quantitative techniques.
It is estimated that he sold one million books in his lifetime, far more than any other sociologist at the time.
So strong was his influence that many other 19th-century thinkers, including Émile Durkheim, defined their ideas in relation to his.The linguistic and cultural turns of the mid-20th century led to increasingly interpretative, hermeneutic, and philosophic approaches towards the analysis of society.Conversely, the end of the 1990s and the beginning of the 2000s have seen the rise of new analytically, mathematically, and computationally rigorous techniques, such as agent-based modelling and social network analysis.Social research informs politicians and policy makers, educators, planners, legislators, administrators, developers, business magnates, managers, social workers, non-governmental organizations, non-profit organizations, and people interested in resolving social issues in general.There is often a great deal of crossover between social research, market research, and other statistical fields.Comte believed a positivist stage would mark the final era, after conjectural theological and metaphysical phases, in the progression of human understanding.In observing the circular dependence of theory and observation in science, and having classified the sciences, Comte may be regarded as the first philosopher of science in the modern sense of the term.while ancient philosophers such as Confucius wrote about the importance of social roles.There is evidence of early sociology in medieval Arab writings.Sociological reasoning predates the foundation of the discipline.Social analysis has origins in the common stock of Western knowledge and philosophy, and has been carried out from as far back as the time of ancient Greek philosopher Plato, if not before.