"Sociology is the study of different aspects of society and its members. The discipline studies the relationship between different groups in a society and the behaviour of its members towards each other. It is also interested in social problems and in seeking their solutions. Social groups are of different kinds. They may be as small as a family and as big as a state. The sociologists work in close collaboration with demographers, economists, statisticians, psychologists, anthropologists and political scientists.
Sociology began as a field of study in the 19 century. Auguste Comte (1798-1857) was the inventor of the term 'sociology'. He used the term in his book, Positive Philosophy (Vol. IV, 1838) for the first time. Since then a number of thinkers such as Emile Durkheim (1858-1917), Karl Marx (1818-83), Pitirim A. Sorokin (1880-1968), Herbert Spencer (1820-1903) and Max Weber (1864-1920) have contributed to the growth of sociological studies and given it varied dimensions like the sociology of development, sociology of education, sociology of everyday life, sociology of the family, sociology of gender, sociology of health and illness, sociology of religion etc.
Sociology has evolved a number of key concepts and theories, some of which are: accommodation, acculturation, action theory, affluent society, ageism, alienation, altruism, anomie, ascription, communication and community.
The present dictionary deals with all the branches, concepts, ideas and institutions of sociology. The book will be found useful by all those scholars and enlightened citizens who want to understand the contemporary society in all its complexities." (jacket)