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Science of society, social institutions, and social relationships, and specifically the systematic study of the development, structure, interaction, and collective behaviour of organized human groups. It emerged at the end of the 19th century through the work of Émile Durkheim in France, Max Weber and Georg Simmel in Germany, and Robert E. Park and Albion Small in the U.S. Sociologists use observational techniques, surveys and interviews, statistical analysis, controlled experiments, and other methods to study subjects such as the family, ethnic relations, schooling, social status and class, bureaucracy, religious movements, deviance, the elderly, and social change.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on sociology, visit Britannica.com.