Modern social sciences develop inmainly in the fundamental and applied areas. This constitutes the basic levels of sociological knowledge. The first level is also called general theoretical. At this level, philosophical questions of the development and functioning of society and man are developed, the categorical apparatus and concept of the social, methods of investigating social processes and phenomena are determined, epistemological questions are solved, and much more.
It is clear that some theoretical concepts forfull-fledged development of sociological knowledge is not enough, it must be based on accurate, specific data, the facts that constitute the essence of the process of changing modern society. Thus, levels of sociological knowledge are replenished with one more - empirical. At this level, the science of society and man collects various facts, data, data, opinions of respondents who are members of different communities, their subsequent processing and interpretation.
Empirical research and obschesotsiologicheskiethe concepts are dialectically related, because a theory that is not supported by concrete facts becomes empty, lifeless, and practice, not connected with theoretical conclusions, can not explain the essence of phenomena occurring in society.
With the development of the sciences of society and manthe requirements for solving social problems on a practical level increased, a need arose to study and theoretically explain social phenomena. However, fundamental research has not been able to apply its theoretical apparatus to investigating such very different concepts as "state", "family", "deviant behavior", "ekspektatsii" and others. As a result, discrepancies arose between theoretical constructions and practical research.
The existing levels of sociological knowledge are notcould explain many social phenomena and phenomena, but this problem was eventually solved by the formation of another group of theories, which were called "middle-level theory." The term itself was introduced by R. Merton. These theories occupy a place between general theoretical concepts and empirical practices. In modern science of society and man, they firmly entered the scientific arsenal and organically supplemented the levels of sociological knowledge.
Scientists-sociologists believe that the emergence of theories of the average level gives a number of advantages, the main of which can be considered:
- the possibility of creating a solid theoretical basis for studying various spheres of human activity without the use of cumbersome, sometimes overly complicated fundamental theories;
- stronger interaction with the practical life of individuals and social groups;
- Demonstration of research opportunities for scientists and specialists in other fields of knowledge.
Scientists distinguish the following functions of sociological knowledge: