Skip to Main Content

MHS Library | Sociology

Useful websites

(These websites are sourced from the Sociology libguide created by the University of Melbourne)
United Nations
World Factbook
​Australian Government
Australian Government directory
Victorian Government


Subject guide created by

Tania Sheko                 Suzannah Mandler


contact me 

What is Sociology?

A summary of the principles of Sociology:

  • by definition, human society involves people entering into forms of relationship with each other. Such relationships take many forms and may - for instance - be described as predominantly cultural, economic or political, although various combinations of these are normal.
  • patterns of human relationship become institutionalised in the course of their reproduction over time and may therefore be referred to as ´social institutions´.
  • the reproduction of social institutions has increasingly incorporated global influences and exchanges but local influences remain important. The outcome is a process of interchange between the global and the local.
  • in order to participate in society human beings maintain an understanding of their relationships with others and of the institutions in which they participate, whatever the scale.
  • the task for sociologists, therefore, is to capture this understanding in a more systematic way and provide substantive explanations which nevertheless are understandable in terms of everyday life. (Source: British Sociological Association)

What do sociologists do? (BSA)

What is sociology and its origins

Thinking like a sociologist (Karen Sternheimer)
Articles on class in Australia (The Conversation)

There are 15 Sociology lessons on video linked to this playlist

The origins of sociology

Sociology originated from and was influenced by the industrial revolution during the early nineteenth century. There are seven major founders of sociology: August ComteW.E.B. Du BoisEmile DurkheimHarriet MartineauKarl MarxHerbert Spencerand Max Weber. August Comte is thought of as the "Father of Sociology" as he coined the term sociology in 1838. He believed that society should be understood and studied as it was, rather than what it ought to be. He was the first to recognize that the path to understanding the world and society was based in science. W.E.B. Du Bois was an early American sociologist who laid the groundwork for the sociology of race and ethnicity and contributed important analyses of American society in the immediate aftermath of the Civil War. Marx, Spencer, Durkheim, and Weber helped define and develop sociology as a science and discipline, each contributing important theories and concepts still used and understood in the field today. Harriet Martineau was a British scholar and writer who was also fundamental to establishing the sociological perspective, who wrote prolifically about the relationship between politics, morals, and society, as well as sexism and gender roles. (Source)