About Sociology and Library of Congress
Call Numbers and Subject Headings

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     Sociology is the social science which studies human behavior in society. Sociology seeks to understand patterns of behavior within society, and how culture and social institutions shape human behavior. Economics, political science, anthropology, and psychology are also social sciences. Each of these focuses on human behavior and how it is related to society. Economists seek to understand production and distribution of goods and services. Political scientists center their attention on government and politics. Anthropologists focus on understanding culture in variously defined and developed societies. Psychologists seek to understand mental processes and problems of individuals how people cope in relationships. Sociologists explore the social consequences of politics, government, and distribution of goods and services. Sociologists wish to understand how culture dictates daily interactions and how people adjust to difficulties of life. Sociology combines all of the disciplines together, and studies human behavior on a large scale.

     Sociologists follow the scientific method when doing research, just as physicists and chemists do. The goals of scientific research include explaining why phenomena occur, making generalizations from individual cases and using data collected from wider groups. Most important, sociologists try to understand the social fabric in order to predict and perhaps improve the future.

     The science of sociology developed out of the pervasive social changes of the Industrial Revolution. The actual term "sociology" was originally coined by Auguste Comte (1798-1857) who was interested in applying scientific method to the study of society. Comte wished to study society not to fix what was wrong but to learn about it. Comte’s ideas came from a time when people were beginning to accept positivism (belief in scientific explanations instead of theological or metaphysical ones). Comte believed that society operates according to particular laws, just as the physical world operates according to laws of gravity and nature.

     From Comte’s basic idea of social research, three men made their contribution to sociological theory. Karl Marx (1818-1883), Émile Durkheim (1858-1917), and Max Weber (1864-1920) constructed theories to explain how and why society functions. These theories have been drawn from extensively and continuously over the years. These theorists laid the framework for the entire discipline of sociology. New theories have sprung forth from their work, but current research confirms their approaches.

     Several women and minorities have made their names in sociology as well. Jane Addams (1860-1935) was the first and only sociologist to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize (1931) for her work with urban sociology. Addams also established a center for reform in Chicago where sociologists worked on problems using sociological theory and the scientific method. Harriet Martineau (1802-1876) contributed to the field of sociology by translating Comte’s writings from French to English. She also worked to eliminate slavery and advance the position of women. W. E. B. Du Bois (1868-1963), an African American, recognized racial inequality, spoke out against it, and became a founding member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Du Bois also established the nation’s second Department of Sociology at Atlanta University (the first Department of Sociology was at the University of Chicago). Sociologists research religious cults, domestic violence, race relations, and poverty. They may specialize in criminology, social psychology, work, organizations, or inequalities related to race, class, and gender. An especially new area in sociology is the study of behavior patterns linked to computers and the internet.

In applied sociology, the scientific method is combined with social theory to provide solutions for problems. For example, if a city wanted a new type of water treatment center that would benefit the public but would required increased taxes for residents, sociologists might be employed to find out how individuals feel about the new plan. Sociologists use surveys, interviews, and existing data to find answers.

Source:  World of Sociology, 2002.  XreferPlus Database

Selected Library of Congress Call Numbers

H 1-99 General Social Sciences
HA 1-4737 Statistics
  29-32 Theory and Method of Social Science Statistics
  36-37 Organizations, Bureaus, Service
  38-39 Registration of Vital Events, Registration
  154-4737 Statistical Data
  154-155 Universal Statistics
  175-4737 By Region or Country


HM 1-299 General Sociology
  10-121 Culture, Progress
  126 Unity, Solidarity
  131-134 Association, Mutuality, Social Groups
  136-146 Individualism, Differentiation, Struggle
  201-221 Social Elements, Forces, Laws
  251-291 Social Psychology
HN 1-981 Social History, Problems, and Reform
  30-40 The Church and Social Problems
  41-46 Community Centers, Social Centers
  251-291 By Region or Country
HS 1-3369 Societies: Secret, Benevolent, etc.
  101-330.7 Secret Societies
  351-929 Freemasons
  951-1179 Odd Fellows
  1201-1350 Knights of Pythias
  1355 Other Societies, A-Z
  1501-2460.7 Other Societies, By Classes
  1501-1510 Benevolent and "Friendly" Societies and Mutual Assessment Fraternities
  1525-1560 Religious Societies
  1601-2265 Race Societies
  2275 Occupation Societies
  2301-2460.7 Political and "Patriotic" Societies
  2501-3369 Clubs and Societies for Special Classes (including boys' societies, Boy Scouts, girls' societies)
HT 51-1595 Cities, Communities, Races
  51-65 Communities
  101-395 Urban Groups, Urban Sociology, The City
  161-165 Garden Cities, "The City Beautiful"
  165.5-169.9 City Planning, Zoning
  170-178 Urban Renewal, Urban Development
  201-221 City Population (including children in cities, immigration)
  231 Effect of City Life
  251-265 Mental and Moral Life
  281 Recreation, Amusements
  321-325 The City as Economic Factor, City Promotion
  330-334 Metropolitan Areas
  351-352 Suburban Cities and Towns
  361-384 Urbanization, City and Country
  388 Regional Economics
  390-395 Regional Planning
  401-485 Rural Sociology
  601-1445 Classes
  621-635 Origin of Social Classes
  641-657 Classes Arising from Birth
  675-690 Classes Arising from Occupation
  713-725 Caste System
  731 Freedmen
  751-815 Serfdom
  851-1445 Slavery
  1501-1595 Race (including race as a social group and race relations in general)

Selected Library of Congress Subject Headings

Baby Boom Generation
Comparative Education
Classroom Environment
Corporate Culture

Educational Sociology
Fraternal Organizations
Generation X

Generation Y
Greek Letter Societies
Group Identity
Group Work in Education
Industrial Sociology
Intercultural Communication
Middle Class

Organizational Behavior
Organizational Sociology

Power Social Sciences
Primitive Societies

Secret Societies
Small Groups
Social Classes
Social Medicine

Social Prediction
Social Problems

Social Psychology
Social Systems

Sociological Jurisprudence
Sociology Rural
Teams in the Workplace
Working Class











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