The study of sociology has a great value especially in modern complex society. Some of the uses of sociology are as follows:
(i) Sociology studies society in a scientific way. Before the emergence of sociology, there was no systematic and scientific attempt to study human society with all its complexities. Sociology has made it possible to study society in a scientific manner. This scientific knowledge about human society is needed in order to achieve progress in various fields.
(ii) Sociology throws more light on the social nature of man. Sociology delves deep into the social nature of man. It tells us why man is a social animal, why he lives in groups, communities and societies. It examines the relationship between individual and society, the impact of society on man and other matters.
(iii) Sociology improves our understanding of society and increases the power of social action. The science of society assists an individual to understand himself, his capacities, talents and limitations. It enables him to adjust himself to the environment. Knowledge of society, social groups, social institutions, associations, their functions etc., helps us to lead an effective social life.
(iv) The study of sociology helps us to know not only our society and men but also others, their motives, aspirations, status, occupations, traditions, customs, institutions, culture etc. In a huge industrialised society our experience is comparatively limited.
We can hardly have a comprehensive knowledge of our society and rarely have an idea regarding other societies. But we must have some insight into an appreciation of the motives by which others live and the conditions under which they exist. Such an insight we derive from the study of sociology.
(v) The contribution of sociology is not less significant in enriching culture. Sociology has given training to us to have rational approach to questions concerning ourselves, our religion, customs, mores, institutions, values, ideologies, etc. It has made us to become more objective, rational, critical and dispassionate.
The study of societies has made people to become more broad minded. It has impressed upon its students to overcome their prejudices, misconceptions, egoistic ambitions, and class and religious hatreds. It has made our life richer, fuller and meaningful.
(vi) Another aspect of the practical side of sociology is the study of great social institutions and the relations of individuals of each one of them. The home and family, the school and education, the state and government, industry and work, religion and morality, marriage and family, law and legislation, property and government, etc. are some of the main institutions, through which our society functions. More than that, they condition our life in countless ways. Knowledge of sociology may help to strengthen them to serve man better.
(vii) Sociology is useful as a teaching subject too. Sociology is a profession in which technical competence brings its own rewards. Sociologists, especially those trained in research procedures, are in increasing demand in business, government, industry, city planning, race relations, social work, social welfare, supervision, advertising, communications, administration, and many other areas of community life.
A few years ago, sociologists could only teach sociology in schools and colleges. But sociology has now become practical enough to be practised outside of academic halls. Careers apart from teaching are now possible in sociology. The various areas of applied sociology are coming more and more into prominence in local, state, national and international levels.
(viii) The need for the study of sociology is greater especially in underdeveloped countries. Sociologists have now drawn the attention of economists regarding the social factors that have contributed to the economic backwardness of a few countries. Economists have now realised the importance of sociological knowledge in analysing the economic affairs of a country.
(ix) The study of society is of paramount importance in solving social problems. The present world is beset with several social problems of great magnitude like poverty, beggary, unemployment, prostitution, over-population, family disorganisation, community disorganisation, racial problems, crime, juvenile delinquency, gambling, alcoholism, youth unrest, untouchability etc. A careful analysis of these problems is necessary in order to solve them. Sociology provides such an analysis.
(x) Sociological knowledge is necessary for understanding and planning of society. Social planning has been made easier by sociology. Sociology is often considered a vehicle of social reform and social reorganisation. It plays an important role in the reconstruction of society.
(xi) The practical utility of sociological techniques: The techniques developed by the sociologists and other social scientists are adopted by others. Let us think the example of social survey.
Developed and used mainly by sociologists and statisticians, it has become an essential tool of market research and political polling. In the same way, sociologists provide a great deal of information that is help fulfill in making decisions on social policy.
(xii) Study of society has helped several governments to promote the welfare of the tribal people. Not only the civilised societies, but even the tribal societies are faced with several socio-economic and cultural problems.
Studies conducted by sociologists and anthropologists regarding tribal societies and problems have helped many governments in undertaking various social welfare measures to promote the welfare of the tribal people. Efforts are now being made to treat the tribals on par with the rest of the civilised people.
(xiii) Sociology has drawn our attention to the intrinsic worth and dignity of man. Sociology has been greatly responsible in changing our attitudes towards fellow human beings. It has helped people to become catholic in outlook and broadminded in spirit. It has made people to become tolerant and patient towards others. It has minimised the mental distance and reduced the gap between different peoples and communities.
(xiv) Sociology is of great practical help in the sense, it keeps us up-to-date on modern social situations and developments. Sociology makes us to become more alert towards the changes and developments that take place around us. As a result, we come to know about our changed roles and expectations and responsibilities.
(xv) Finally, as Prof. Giddings has pointed out “Sociology tells us how to become what we want to be”.
In conclusion, it can be said that the question of value of sociology’ is not a question whether or not we should study a subject. But it is a simple question of how it is actually to be used. Sociology, in short, has both individual and social advantages.