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- Sociology and Modern Social Problems - 1/45 -


SOCIOLOGY AND MODERN SOCIAL PROBLEMS

BY

CHARLES A. ELLWOOD, PH. D.

Professor of Sociology, University of Missouri

PREFACE

This book is intended as an elementary text in sociology as applied to modern social problems, for use in institutions where but a short time can be given to the subject, in courses in sociology where it is desired to combine it with a study of current social problems on the one hand, and to correlate it with a course in economics on the other. The book is also especially suited for use in University Extension Courses and in Teachers' Reading Circles.

This book aims to teach the simpler principles of sociology concretely and inductively. In Chapters I to VIII the elementary principles of sociology are stated and illustrated, chiefly through the study of the origin, development, structure, and functions of the family considered as a typical human institution; while in Chapters IX to XV certain special problems are considered in the light of these general principles.

Inasmuch as the book aims to illustrate the working of certain factors in social organization and evolution by the study of concrete problems, interpretation has been emphasized rather than the social facts themselves. However, the book is not intended to be a contribution to sociological theory, and no attempt is made to give a systematic presentation of theory. Rather, the student's attention is called to certain obvious and elementary forces in the social life, and he is left to work out his own system of social theory.

To guide the student in further reading, a brief list of select references in English has been appended to each chapter. Methodological discussions and much statistical and historical material have been omitted in order to make the text as simple as possible. These can be found in the references, or the teacher can supply them at his discretion.

The many authorities to whom I am indebted for both facts and interpretations of facts cannot be mentioned individually, except that I wish to express my special indebtedness to my former teachers, Professor Willcox of Cornell and Professors Small and Henderson of the University of Chicago, to whom I am under obligation either directly or indirectly for much of the substance of this book. The list of references will also indicate in the main the sources of whatever is not my own.

CHARLES A. ELLWOOD.

UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI.

CONTENTS

CHAPTER I: THE STUDY OF SOCIETY

CHAPTER II: THE BEARING OF THE THEORY OF EVOLUTION UPON SOCIAL PROBLEMS

CHAPTER III: THE FUNCTION OF THE FAMILY IN SOCIAL ORGANIZATION

CHAPTER IV: THE ORIGIN OF THE FAMILY

CHAPTER V: THE FORMS OF THE FAMILY

CHAPTER VI: THE HISTORICAL DEVELOPMENT OF THE FAMILY

CHAPTER VII: THE PROBLEM OF THE MODERN FAMILY

CHAPTER VIII: THE GROWTH OF POPULATION

CHAPTER IX: THE IMMIGRATION PROBLEM

CHAPTER X: THE NEGRO PROBLEM

CHAPTER XI: THE PROBLEM OF THE CITY

CHAPTER XII: POVERTY AND PAUPERISM

CHAPTER XIII: CRIME

CHAPTER XIV: SOCIALISM IN THE LIGHT OF SOCIOLOGY

CHAPTER XV: EDUCATION AND SOCIAL PROGRESS

INDEX

SOCIOLOGY AND MODERN SOCIAL PROBLEMS

CHAPTER I

THE STUDY OF SOCIETY

What is Society?--Perhaps the great question which sociology seeks to answer is this question which we have put at the beginning. Just as biology seeks to answer the question "What is life?"; zo÷logy, "What is an animal?"; botany, "What is a plant?"; so sociology seeks to answer the question "What is society?" or perhaps better, "What is association?" Just as biology, zo÷logy, and botany cannot answer their questions until those sciences have reached their full and complete development, so also sociology cannot answer the question "What is society?" until it reaches its final development. Nevertheless, some conception or definition of society is necessary for the beginner, for in the scientific discussion of social problems we must know first of all what we are talking about. We must understand in a general way what society is, what sociology is, what the relations are between sociology and other sciences, before we can study the social problems of to-day from a sociological point of view.

The word "society" is used scientifically to designate the reciprocal relations between individuals. More exactly, and using the term in a concrete sense, a society is any group of individuals who have more or less conscious relations to each other. We say conscious relations because it is not necessary that these relations be specialized into industrial, political, or ecclesiastical relations. Society is constituted by the mental interaction of individuals and exists wherever two or three individuals have reciprocal conscious relations to each other. Dependence upon a common economic environment, or the mere contiguity in space is not sufficient to constitute a society. It is the interdependence in function on the mental side, the contact and overlapping of our inner selves, which makes possible that form of collective life which we call society. Plants and lowly types of organisms do not constitute true societies, unless it can be shown that they have some degree of mentality. On the other hand, there is no reason for withholding the term "society" from many animal groups. These animal societies, however, are very different in many respects from human society, and are of interest to us only as certain of their forms throw light upon human society.

We may dismiss with a word certain faulty conceptions of society. In some of the older sociological writings the word society is often used as nearly synonymous with the word nation. Now, a nation is a body of people politically organized into an independent government, and it is manifest that it is only one of many forms of human society. Another conception of society, which some have advocated, is that it is synonymous with the cultural group. That is, a society is any group of people that have a common civilization, or that are bearers of a certain type of culture. In this case Christendom, for example, would constitute a single society. Cultural groups no doubt are, again, one of the forms of human society, but only one among many. Both the cultural group and the nation are very imposing forms of society and hence have attracted the attention of social thinkers very often in the past to the neglect of the more humble forms. But it is evident that all forms of association are of equal interest to the sociologist, though, of course, this is not saying that all forms are of equal practical importance.

Any form of association, or social group, which may be studied, if studied from the point of view of origin and development, whether it be a family, a neighborhood group, a city, a state, a trade union, or a party, will serve to reveal many of the problems of sociology. The natural or genetic social groups, however, such as the family, the community, and the nation, serve best to exhibit sociological problems. In this text we shall make particular use of the family, as the simplest and, in many ways, the most typical of all the forms of human association, to illustrate concretely the laws and principles of social development. Through the study of the simple and primary forms of association the problems of sociology can be much better attacked than through the study of society at large, or association in general.

From what has been said it may be inferred that _society_ as a scientific term means scarcely more than the abstract term _association_, and this is correct. Association, indeed, may be regarded as the more scientific term of the two; at any rate it indicates more exactly what the sociologist deals with. A word may be said also as to the meaning of the word _social_. The sense in which this word will generally be used in this text is that of a collective adjective, referring to all that pertains to or relates to society in any way. The word social, then, is much broader than the words industrial, political, moral, religious, and embraces them all; that is, social phenomena are all phenomena which involve the interaction of two or more individuals. The word social, then, includes the economic, political, moral, religious, etc., and must not be thought of as something set in opposition to, for instance, the industrial or the political.

Society and its Products.--Beneath all the forms and processes of human society lies the fact of association itself. Industry, government, and civilization itself must be regarded as expressions of collective human


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