Sociology is the study of social groups, institutional structures, and social interaction. It deals with the contexts of human action: systems of beliefs and values, the patterns to which social relations conform, and the processes whereby social institutions are created, maintained, and transformed. Sociology combines the elements of a search for social order with a vision of a just, free, and egalitarian society - a vision that may require fundamental social change. Developing an understanding of this double aspect of the sociological tradition, the interrelationship between social order and social change, is one of the teaching goals of sociologists at Santa Cruz. An equally important and necessarily implicated aim is the development of an appreciation for disciplined inquiry, observation, and research.