Questions tagged [sociology]

Questions regarding the history of the scientific study of societies and how humans act and interact in groups.

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48
votes
5answers
13k views

How do we know baroque art depicted obese ladies because of a different ideal of beauty?

I've often heard that the obesity of women in baroque art signs that such women were the ideal of beauty. How could we know that? And how could we know it wasn't just "cultural rationalization" of a ...
26
votes
2answers
12k views

When did homosexuality become unacceptable in Europe?

In the ancient greek world male homosexuality was common and didn't attract the same scorn as it did even 100 years ago. So 2,000 years ago, it was acceptable, and 100 years ago it was unacceptable. ...
21
votes
1answer
2k views

Is the scarlet letter 'A' a real historical thing?

I've heard someone say something like: It's not a scarlet letter, it's not a mark on your forehead you keep for life. Obviously this was said in terms of permanency of a badge of shame, or ...
18
votes
8answers
24k views

Why did Nazi soldiers do Hitler's bidding?

The atrocities committed by Nazi soldiers during World War II are well known. I'd like to know what motivated those soldiers to do Hitler's bidding. Were they brainwashed? Did they believe they were ...
18
votes
3answers
4k views

Pre-war comments on Hitler: Just figures of speech, he doesn't really mean it, just a way to whip up supporters?

I've got to this interview with a historian about the pre-war mood between the American reporters and one with that especially impressed me was the quote that some sources used as a this year's US ...
14
votes
4answers
4k views

What is the name of the theory opposite to the Great Man theory?

The Great Man theory is a 19th-century idea according to which history can be largely explained by the impact of "great men", or heroes; highly influential individuals. In nearly every lecture on ...
14
votes
3answers
1k views

Was it ever illegal for two people of different religions to marry in the UK?

Was it ever illegal for 2 people of different religions (e.g. Catholic & Anglican) to marry in the UK? I'm refering only to "civil marriage". I'm sure, even now, that the Catholic church may not ...
13
votes
1answer
1k views

What are the social preconditions for division of labour, when compared in different emerging civilizations?

I would like to know if historians/economists/sociologists agree on the preconditions required for division of labour in ancient and/or earlier societies. Are there any common preconditions and ...
11
votes
3answers
947 views

At what point do armies tend to break?

I remember hearing something about where it was discerned that after a certain percent of losses armies tend to break (ie retreat). Does research on this exist? If so, at what point do armies tend ...
7
votes
1answer
793 views

When was divorce made illegal again in Ireland?

Divorce has been legal in the UK for a long time (since Henry VII obviously). Ireland was part of the UK since 1800 (Act of Union of 1800), so I assume that civil divorce was legal in Ireland in the ...
6
votes
1answer
244 views

Are there any examples of people being able to predict the consequences of communication revolutions?

I often read predictions about future technologies from analysis companies like Gartner Group. These studies often strike me as awfully linear in their view on development. I would, therefore, like to ...
5
votes
1answer
416 views

In a challenge to duel, what happened if a thrown gauntlet (and later, glove) was refused?

What would become of a gauntlet or glove after a denied duel? I'm not finding any hints on Google. Would the challenger abandon it after throwing it to their challengee's feet, as a matter of honor? ...
4
votes
6answers
628 views

How do nations maintain sovereignty over conquered nations?

After the battle of Hastings, William defeated the English with ~7000 men. What I don't understand fully, is how an army of 7000 can maintain control over England, which had around 1.7 million people ...
4
votes
2answers
416 views

How did the Mongol Nomads' System of Raiding and Trading Work?

I've read (in a source I no longer remember) that the Mongol tribes of the Steppe, like some other cultures, had this habit of raiding each other without it being seen as an act of war. More ...
4
votes
1answer
175 views

Did people during the Renaissance believe that the heart had two chambers?

Short question (adapted from @Oddthinking at Skeptics.SE): How many chambers did the scientific population of the world (excluding Leonardo da Vinci), think the human heart had during the Renaissance?...
4
votes
1answer
307 views

What is the status of Weber's protestant ethic thesis?

Max Weber in his famous book The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism elaborates a thesis that relates the development of the capitalistic system is a result of the work ethic that emerged ...
2
votes
1answer
99 views

Are there documented shifts in how history, time, and accuracy were regarded in society? [closed]

I recall an interview where Reza Aslan described that History, in its present form, didn't always exist that way. That is the rigor, validation, and peer review wasn't present. Instead, it was a ...
0
votes
1answer
296 views

Have there been any notable people that have claimed that classism and not racism is the current cause of racial inequality? [closed]

Particularly in the United States, class and race seem to be interrelated, i.e., people are generally separated by both their wealth and by their race. Given the history of racism in the United States,...
-4
votes
2answers
997 views

When did polygamy start becoming illegal? [closed]

Anyone knows when the greek/roman (or anyone else) start prohibiting polygamy and why?