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The Major Theories of Sociology Essay

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Symbolic Interactionism
In the field of sociology, sociologists use many different theories to base their ideas and observations on; however, the three major theories that are used are symbolic interactionism, functional analysis, and conflict theory. It is these three theories that will be the focus of this paper. To begin with, we will start with symbolic interactionism.
Charles Horton Cooley and George Herbert Mead developed symbolic interactionism. In order to understand what this theory is all about though, we will look at the definition. Symbolic interactionism is a theoretical perspective in which society is viewed as composed of symbols that people use to establish meaning, develop their views of the world, and communicate with one another. (2010, Henslin) As we can gather from this definition, symbolic interactionism is all about symbols. Symbols tell us how we are related to other people or how we are not related to them, and symbols also tell us how we are to base each relationship we have with each individual in our social lives. Symbols tell us who our parents are and who our aunts and uncles are. They tell us who our boyfriends, girlfriends, or spouses are. Symbols also tell us how to act around each person. For instance, it would simply be immoral to share the same kind of relationship with an immediate family member that you would share with a boyfriend, girlfriend, or spouse. Without symbols we would not be able to function socially at all. To get a better understanding of how symbolic interactionism applies to every aspect of our lives, we will look to illegal immigration as an example. Illegal immigrants are called illegal immigrants because they cross over into another country, other than their homeland, wit...


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...l analysis do seem to have their own good ideas and interesting views on our social life, conflict theory appears to have a much more solid foundation than either of the other two. I can actually say that I experience conflict theory in my everyday life. I know there is constant conflict in the world. Everybody wants something that somebody else has, whether it is something such as a big house or something else such as the job promotion a co-worker received instead of you. Wherever you go, conflict is going to be brimming under the surface of what seems to be at the time a "perfect world."



References

Henslin, J. M. (2010), Sociology, A Down-to-Earth Approach, Tenth Edition, Glossary G7
Henslin, J. M. (2010), Sociology, A Down-to-Earth Approach, Tenth Edition, Glossary G3
Henslin, J. M. (2010), Sociology, A Down-to-Earth Approach, Tenth Edition, Glossary G1


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