Factors Leading to the Emergence of Sociology YouTube Lecture Handouts

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What is Sociology?

  • Sociology can be defined as a study of societies and their development in terms of their political decisions, ethics, economic development, religion and laws.
  • The subject of Sociology allows people to look more objectively at society.

French Revolution: First Phase

  • The French revolution had lasted for ten whole years and was the first modern and ideological revolution of its kind.
  • It had a great impact on society because it changed its structure.
  • It managed to eliminate the social distinctions between people and the feudal society
  • The French Revolution brought significant changes to the family since it was followed by the Declaration of Human Rights which stated that all humans are born free and equal.

Industrialization: Second Phase

  • The second major event, that took place during the late 18th and early 19th century, was Industrialization.
  • Technology brought significant changes in the work place which led to great improvement and efficiency.
  • Machines were now helping people in production and thereby improving time efficiency and production volume as well as the conditions under which people worked.
  • Technological changes included the use of iron and steel, new energy sources.
  • These changes in technology improved both the quality of the products being produced as well as the work-conditions of the workers in production. Fewer efforts were now required by the workers in terms of producing a good.
  • Technology also improved transportation and hence trade and commerce between countries.
  • Markets expanded even more since goods and raw materials that were scarce in one country could be supplied from another.
  • Machines became the symbols of the new society and humanity could be seen to be all working into this machine.
  • In addition, the area of communication also saw great improvement during this time period and people could now travel easier and reach their destination quicker.

Enlightenment: Third Phase

  • The Enlightenment was a significant contributing factor to the emergence of sociology in the late 18th and early 19th century.
  • The Enlightenment is considered to be the source of critical ideas, such as the centrality freedom, democracy, and reason as primary values of society.
  • The thinkers of Enlightenment aimed to teach people stop listening and following blindly the church՚s opinion and decisions, and start thinking on their own.
  • People were now advised to try and solve their problems on their own rather than wait for God to provide a solution for them.
  • This new way of thinking was a big factor in economic growth. The increased education, through the emergence of upper-class philosophers, the publishing of newspapers and the emergence of new types of media resulted in the arts, such a writing and painting to only develop, improve and flourish during that time period.


  • Concluding this, it had been found that the French Revolution, the Industrial Revolution and the Enlightenment were the three major factors that contributed towards the emergence of sociology in the late 18th and early 19th century.
  • During this historical period, people՚s lives became much easier and better. All these changes helped people become more open minded and created for them a life with more choices.
  • This important turning point in history led to a technological and economic boom. It also resulted in people learning to live in societies

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