Is Empathy Important In Sociology. Why Or Why Not?

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Write a 400-500 word response to: If you agree that empathy is important in sociology. Explain why or why not. Lastly write down your own definition of sociology and explain if you believe the above statement by the speaker is true.


Empathy and sociology

Empathy encompasses the ability to be attached emotionally to the feeling and experiences of other people. Empathy should not be confused with sympathy as the latter is instead a detached form of expressing how one feels about the social situations of others. People are well-attuned to their feelings, but getting into the exact emotional state of others so that empathy can be expressed requires more nuance. It requires the sociological imagination term coined by sociologist C. Wright Mills in 1959 (Krznaric & OverDrive Inc., 2014). It describes being aware of the relationship that exists between an individual and the general society in the present and the past. Without empathy in society, it would be impossible to create meaningful social connections that foster the positive development of society. However, expressions of empathy are not universal even though it might seem incomprehensible when another person responds with hostility and indifference to the suffering and pain of others.

Understanding empathy requires differentiating it from other constructs that are related. For instance, empathy involves being self-aware and making a distinction between the other and self. When understood from such a perspective, it becomes different from mimicking or imitating the other person’s emotions (Krznaric & OverDrive Inc., 2014). For example, animals might express mimicking, or emotional contagion to another animal is suffering from pain. However, without the level of being self-aware, that is at the core of showing empathy, it is not empathy. Human culture and behavior have evolved beyond the attunement that is expressed by animals, and their socialization is core to their culture and behavior. As indicated earlier, empathy should not be confused with sympathy, which entails expressing concern for the pain another individual is undergoing or having a desire to help. When empathy is expressed to others, then an individual is inclined to take the interests of the others in consideration during interactions. Therefore, empathy is essential in sociology as individuals in society will refrain from particular routes of action or pursue ends that incorporate the well-being of others.

In my understanding, sociology is a broad field that examines the social relationship of humans and institutions that exist in society. The subject matter that is covered in sociology is extensive and encompasses areas such as crime, divisions in social classes, family and state issues as well as social solidity and changes that are radical resulting in the transformation of whole societies. From the definition that I have elucidated, it is clear that empathy is vital in sociology. For the different relations that are experienced from the areas that sociology covers to be better understood, having an understanding of empathy, and the role it plays in those relations is important.


Krznaric, R., & OverDrive Inc., (2014). Empathy: Why it matters and how to get it. New York: Penguin Group US.


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