French philosopher august Comte(1798-1857) referred to sociology as the scientific study of society .It is amethod of inquiry that required systematic testing and beliefs against evidencewhereas common sense is based upon observation and casual knowledge .Commonsense has been known to be tradition based and in up keeping the status quo ,is resistant to change.
It upholds beliefs and enforced stereotypes, lacksvalidity and reliability .Sociology on the other hand is based greatly onempirical evidence .For example the latent function by R.K Merton is a case inpoint. A common sense approach to poverty may indicate that people areunwilling to work or the sins of the past life may have inflicted poverty inthis current life but the sociological thought states that poverty is due tostructural inequality or unavailability of opportunity or lack of skill.Common senseis greatly poised on people’s immediate and limited experience equating to a distortedview of reality however as previously states sociology is supported by rigorousresearch or evidence be it in depth qualitative or quantitative thereforebecoming a product of theory development .An analytical comparison betweencommon sense and sociology by Nagel states that Sociology cannot be levelledwith common sense. (1974, p.
21). In his counter to Nagel’s claim, Elliot aimedto prove that common sense is a part of science in simple ways such as inconducting an experiment the level of observation and engagement andobservation of the researcher . (1974, p. 24). To further assert the claim,Emile Durkheim delved into the positivist methodology in social science withhis theory on suicide. He states that sociology is a science on the same levelsas biology and psychology (2004, p. 31).
Sociological thinking views the socialworld from an objective standpoint whereas commonsense feeds off individual’s subjective experiences andtherefore, the latter cannot be considered science.Commonsense is culturally diverse and variesbetweens societies and cultureal backgrounds . However, sociological thinking suggestsa greater level of consciousness and objectiveness to the social trends and happeningsin relation to the society as a whole. C.
Wright Mills once wrote, “Thesociological imagination enables its possessor to understand the largerhistorical scene in terms of its meaning for the inner life and the externalcareer of a variety of individuals.”(1959, p. 5)It can be concluded thatsociological thinking is commonsense developedto allow a greater understanding of society and therefore cannot outweigh the valueand contribution of sociological thought. In closingit would be remiss to ignore that Everything around us exists in close relationto common sense in one way or another. for example the clothes we wear , whyshould be drive a BMW versus a Toyota or why we feel good about having adegree.
What and who determines which body type is a small? These are thethoughts that sociological thoughts could implicate that common sense cannot. AsBergeronce claimed,”To ask sociological questions, then, presupposesthat one is interested in looking some distance beyond the commonly accepted orofficially defined goals of human actions. It presupposes a certain awarenessthat human events have different levels of meaning, some of which are hiddenfrom the consciousness of everyday life.” (Berger, 1963)