To summarise this section we can note the following key ideas:
1. Sociology can be defined as the study of the way people behave in groups. Sociologists, therefore, attempt to understand how the fact of belonging to a group (and the various social relationships this involves) affects our identity (how we see ourselves) and behaviour towards others.
2. The largest group to which people belong is a society.
3. Society is not as a thing; rather we should think about it as an invisible force - one that derives from the particular ways people relate to each other.
4. All societies have some form of social structure - a framework of rules and relationships that pressurises people to conform and penalises deviance. However, the relationships we form are significant to us only because of the meaning we give to them.
5. Overall, the main argument here has been that sociologists reject the idea that human social organisation is based on instinct. Rather, it is possible to show, through historical and cultural comparison, that the concepts of culture and socialisation (learned behaviour) are more plausible forms of explanation, for two main reasons:
a. The influence of culture and socialisation on human social development can be easily demonstrated and tested.
b. The concept of culture provides a more flexible explanation that allows us to account for both cultural similarities and cultural differences.
In the next section of the Pathway we have to develop the concept of culture in more depth, since having outlined the basic ideas involved we need to explore the specific aspects of cultural creation and transmission. In this respect, the key emphasis is placed on the concept of socialisation.