Sociology quickly evolved as an academic response to the perceived challenges of modernity , such as industrialization , urbanization , secularization , and the process of " rationalization ".  The field predominated in continental Europe , with British anthropology and statistics generally following on a separate trajectory. By the turn of the 20th century, however, many theorists were active in the English-speaking world . Few early sociologists were confined strictly to the subject, interacting also with economics , jurisprudence , psychology and philosophy , with theories being appropriated in a variety of different fields. Since its inception, sociological epistemology, methods, and frames of inquiry, have significantly expanded and diverged.