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What are the Main Branches of Sociology

What are the Main Branches of Sociology

Sociology is a science that studies human society, human behavior and interactions between people and other elements. It is a very broad social science that uses empirical investigation and critical analysis to gain knowledge about society and social behavior. Given that it is a very broad science, it is not divided into clear separate fields such as other sciences. Sociology studies aspects of human social life, which can be broke down into an endless list. It would be impossible to mention all the branches of sociology, but there are some that are more common than others. In this OneHowTo article we're going to explain what the main branches of sociology are.

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Main branches of sociology according to Émile Durkheim

Émile Durkheim was a French sociologist often referred to as the father of sociology. Much of Durkheim's work was focused on how societies could maintain coherence and integrity when tradition and religion ties are no longer important. According to him, sociology was divided into three main branches:

  • Social morphology: studies geographical aspects of society, such as how density of population affects society
  • Social physiology: studies the influence of religion, law, economy and other aspects on society
  • General sociology: the philosophical part of sociology, as it discovers social laws from social associations

Nowadays there are many other branches of sociology due to the evolution of societies and the relations with the environment. As previously said, sociology is a very broad science and new branches emerge day by day. Listed below are some of the most important, depending on the basis of their content.

Historical sociology

Historical sociology is one of the main branches of modern sociology and it studies the background of social events. In a sense, all sociological research is historical, given that sociologists dig into the past of societies and behaviors to study them. However, historical sociology especifically studies the history of human relations, how and when different groups and societies originated...

Sociology of knowledge

This branch of sociology believes that our knowledge is a social product. What this branch tries to show is that all the things we know come predetermined by social phenomena and social relations.


Another important branch of sociology in our everyday lives, criminology studies the criminal behaviour of individuals or groups. Take a look at how to get into criminology if you're interested in this field.

Political sociology

This branch of sociology is also widely useful for today's societies as it studies the interrelationship between society and politics. Other topics of study within this branch are the origin of different political views and the relation between social structures and political institutions.

Human ecology

Ecology is a branch of biology that studies the relation between organisms and their environment. However, it can also be applied to sociology if studied with humans. Human ecology in this case studies the relations of humans with their natural, social and built environment. Therefore, it studies the natural living environment of humans.

Other branches of sociology

Sociology is a very varied social science that studies many aspects of society. Besides the previously mentioned, these are some of the other important topics of study:

  • Rural sociology: it studies societies in rural areas.
  • Urban sociology: it studies societies in cities and other urban areas.
  • Sociology of demography: studies the distribution of human populations.
  • Economic sociology: it studies economic phenomena.
  • Sociology of culture: it studies the meaning of culture inside a specific society.

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What are the Main Branches of Sociology