Theoretical Perspectives Sociology

Theoretical Perspectives Sociology

Miranda Petrifies Professor Barbour Tacky Intro to sociology WITH 10:45 September 5, 201 3 Theoretical Perspectives in Sociology There are three main theoretical perspectives in sociology. The functionalism and conflict theories are macro theories or the “big picture” of a society, while the symbolic interaction theory is a micro theory that focuses on small group actions in a society. The functionalism theory was based off the ideas of Mile Druthers, a French intellectual who was concerned with social order and moral behavior.

Functionalism questions whether or not current systems meet the needs of society. Druthers and others who support to functionalism theory’ believe that society is relatable to a human body, there are many organs that work as a whole to keep the body going, if one fails the body suffers. This is the same for society, every part has a specific function and everything is interconnected, we need stability in society because if a function fails then the society as whole fails. The types of functions in a society are manifest, latent and dysfunction.

Manifests are positive functions that are intended to better society, latent functions are also positive but are unintended, and dysfunctions are negative and gives society reason to change in order to make life better. The problems with functionalism are that it doesn’t explain change, doesn’t make everything equal and it assumes that all conflict is bad for society when it can actually lead to greater stability. The conflict theory is based off of Karl Mar’s ideas. This theory focuses on society being in a constant struggle and focuses on inequality.

Society is always fighting over scarce resources in society like economics, power and tutus. There’s always bias in our social system that creates unfair treatment or inequality like white vs.. Black, men vs.. Women and rich vs.. Poor. These constant struggles create conflicts that will lead to change and hopefully positively affect society by bringing order. Although change is viewed as a good thing in this theory, it does not give information of a micro-level and can’t explain cohesion or cooperation. The symbolic interaction theory focuses on small group actions between people and is based off ideas by Max Weber.

Weber was a German intellectual who was concerned with the loss of human connections in society. This theory explains how humans interpret symbols and situations and make sense of them, basically people make their own reality and give meaning to symbols based on interactions. Humans view the social world based off their own experiences, we define situations as we see them and then react accordingly. This theory does however neglect the bigger issues in society because it focuses on small group interactions. Although these theories differ, one is not more valid than the others.

Functionalism sees change as harmful to society while the conflict theory views change as a constant and positive thing that leads to betterment in society. Conflict views inequality as unfair where functionalism sees it as normal way for society to function. The symbolic interaction theory sees differences in perspective of cultures focusing on a small group while the other two theories focus on a bigger picture. In a sense, all three theories have their rights and wrongs and no matter how you look at a society there will always be different viewpoints based primarily off of perspective.

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