Critical Review for Invitation to Sociology: A Humanistic Perspective

Critical Review for Invitation to Sociology: A Humanistic Perspective

Peter Berger, the author of the book Invitation to Sociology, is an Austrian-born American sociologist who critically examines sociology as a mode of consciousness, the responsibility of man in the society, the functionality of society in man and the humanistic discipline of sociology. Berger is attentive and interested in inspecting the roles that human beings play in relation to maintaining beliefs and values in their communities. The scientific logic of social science states that sociology teaches individuals about relativity of institutions and measures taken to ensure that ids peaceful co existence between people in the society (Berger, 2003).

The author argues that sociologists are communal workers who are viewed as professionally trained individuals who help people find solutions to collective issues in a community. It is worth noting that there is a key dissimilarity between sociology and social work. Social work is termed as a definite humanitarian activity put into practice in the society while sociology is a discipline that tries to comprehend the human individual and how he/she goes about humanitarian activities (Berger, 2003). In reality, sociologists are usually engaged in methodologies of providing advice through lessons to the people of a community depending on the prevailing social conditions.

However, the scope of sociology extends to carrying out reforms on the best practices of changing the said social conditions. Berger is trying to clarify the difference between the two through addressing the images of sociologists. Based on his findings, sociological information is valuable to anyone while humanitarian information is not. The reason behind this difference may be that humanitarian information usually becomes known when fighting crime as well as promoting felony. Statistics are very useful in understanding most sociological phenomena. However, a sociologist is always keen when deciding on what terms to employ when writing an explanation about as sociological happening.

In addition, one is able to point out that in sociology, the definition for society is a large compound of human relations with institutions that govern and guide the dealings among them. These institutions include the family, education, and religion among others, and are solely responsible for instilling norms into an individual. For instance, the writer gives an example that two people talking in a street corner would not form a society but three people who marooned in an island would be termed as a society (Berger, 2003).

Berger makes a note of the human perception to the economic world. It is clear that everyone in the society credits good life to the presence of financial security and that is the reason behind individuals working hard every day for long hours in order to get wealth and fulfill this mythical recommendation. For instance, a director at a manufacturing plant will opt to draw pie charts and other tables to display how the firm is organized and demonstrate that every individual in the organization has a job description. Based on this, an individual is able to note that a sociologist is more interested in trying to smash through the bureaucratic versions of reality and get to know what goes on within the workers. There will therefore be more interested in the problems that the workers face every day at the work place (Berger, 2003).

The author critically examines the role of the family and marriage in the community. He cites that different people have different reasons for marrying including companionship, procreation and others. A sociologist looks at this issue of matrimony based on what happens beyond love and attempts to explain the motives related to the institutional structure that causes people to get married (Berger, 2003).

In conclusion, the writer, in his works, explains that the problems that are of interest to the sociologist may not qualify to what individuals in real life call issues of life. For instance, while others think that divorce is a problem and rush to the sociologist for a solution, the advice given underlines its basis on what goes on in the interaction. Thus, it is worth noting that the sociological frame of orientation always looks for levels of reality other than the bureaucratic understanding by the society.


Berger, P. L. (2003). Invitation to Sociology: A Humanistic Perspective. Ames, IA: Blackwell Publishers

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