Why some people do not regard sociology as a science?


Those who deny that sociologies are not a science, argue in the following manner.

i) Lack of universal Theory:

Social phenomena are complex and are influenced by many factors, such as physical social, psychological, cultural factors etc. Moreover no two individuals are equal or alike. Therefore, the conclusion in sociology cannot be uniform as it is in the field of physical and natural sciences. In mathematics two and two will always make four. But all sociologists will not agree that people everywhere in the world prefer to stay in nuclear family rather, than staying in joint family. Cultural differences and complexities of human life create problem for universal theories.


(ii) Lack of Measurement:

Social phenomena are qualitative is nature. Social relationships, customs and traditions etc. cannot be measured by any standard. It is only possible in natural science to quantify and measure physical objects.

(iii) Lack of Experimentation:

Experimentation and prediction is not possible in social sciences as in physical or natural sciences. Human relationship cannot be seen, neither weighed nor can be analysed in a test-tube of the laboratory. Neither microscope, nor any thermometer measure human behavior. Human relationships and human behavior are peculiar and uncertain. So, prediction and experimentation as found in physical sciences is just not possible in sociology. Furthermore, social units and institutions are not divisible. It is not possible to separate them and analyses just like analysing water as the parts of Hydrogen and are part of oxygen through experiments. Such experiment in the laboratory sense in sociology is just impossible and difficult.


(iv) Lack of Prediction:

A sociologist cannot make prediction about trends of social change, marriage, family and urbanisation and industrialisation, change etc. It is also difficult to make prediction about who will commit suicide when and why.

(v) Lack of Objectivity:

Objectivity means ability to examine various evidence without any biasness and prejudices. But biases and prejudices are absorbed by a man from childhood days. Man form assumptions regarding any object or event since infancy. It is therefore, not possible for him to observe his subject with complete detachment. Social relationships cannot be studied like physical objects. What we see in social relationship is only an outward expression of our inner life. A sociologist has to concern himself with the working of the inner mind of his subject in order to understand his external actions properly.


(vi) Lack of Exactivity:

Another characteristic of science is that it should be able to frame certain laws on the basis of observation. Such laws enable us to predict accurately. In sociology, such laws and conclusions cannot be expressed in precise terms. Moreover, the predictions might not come true or exact. The findings in sociology are often limited to time and space. Social phenomenons are too vast. Human motivations are often complex. Therefore, it is difficult to predict about human behavior.

(vii) Terminological Inefficiency:

Sociology as a social science suffers from inexact and clear terminology. Same words convey different meaning to different people. The term “caste” and “class” for example, has not yet acquired exact meaning. The concept of class cannot be separated from caste in some cases. But caste is not class. Confusion has not yet been removed. Words, concepts and terminologies are essential tools of thought in scientific investigation or otherwise. Sociology has not yet developed an adequate set of scientific terms. Many of the terms in sociology like religion, caste, class, and groups are words found in everyday use. The terms with vague and unclear meanings create terminological inefficiency, thus passing an obstacle in the way of sociology developing into a science.


In light of the above obstacles confronting social science in general, it is often said that there can be merely social studies but not social science. Others believe that dispassionate study of social phenomenon is not possible. The investigator cannot be neutral. He mostly takes sides. But without neutral analysis, science is not possible.

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