Sociology and Commonsense.
Commonsense ideas and explanations represent a form of social perspective since they claim to represent the things that "everyone knows" about the social world and / or human behaviour. These ideas, whatever they may be, are not necessarily incorrect, but they do tend to have one characteristic that sets them apart from sociological forms of knowledge, namely that commonsense ideas are simply assumed to be true.
By extension, since commensense ideas are things "everyone knows to be true" there can be no argument about their validity. In this respect, a major problem with common-sense explanations is the fact that they effectively close-down any possible argument in favour of a conformity of belief. This, sociologists argue, is not a recipe for human progress or understanding...
Sociological knowledge, on the other hand, has greater validity than most forms of commonsense knowledge. This is because it has been tested in some way. In simple terms, sociologists try to base their statements about human behaviour on evidence rather than simple assumption. In this respect, sociologists are concerned with arguments and proofs rather than with simple assertions of "fact".
To complete this section of the Pathway we can illustrate some differences between commonsense and sociological perspectives by examining a number of commonsense statements about various forms of human behaviour. This should give you an insight into the difference between knowledge that is produced sociologically and knowledge that, however plausible, obvious or self-evident it may appear, doesnt necessarily give us a true (or valid if you prefer) picture of the social world.
Finally there are two particular points to note:
Firstly, sociological knowledge is frequently at odds with "what everyone knows". Whether this makes sociological forms of knowledge "superior" to common-sense forms is a matter of debate. However, in it's favour is the fact that sociological knowledge is the product of theory development and testing, whereas common-sense knowledge is simply the product of assumption.
Secondly, sociological knowledge is not simply the "statement of the obvious" using lots of long, complicated, words whose main purpose is to obscure the fact that all sociologists are really doing is making simple, self-evident, statements. As I've just noted, sociological knowledge frequently states things which are not immediately obvious; this is what gives the subject its unique insight into human society, culture and behaviour.