Compare And Contrast Symbolic Interactionism In Sociology

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In sociology, several theories provide broad perspectives that help to explain the different aspects of social life. A theory in a sociological sense, is a way to explain social interactions and to create testable concepts about society. Today sociologists explore about three different sociological perspectives which include the symbolic interactionist perspective, the functionalist perspective, and the conflict perspective. These three outlooks, offer sociologists theoretical paradigms for explaining how society effects people and how people effect society. The perspectives help to stress the broader social contexts by examining an individual based on their gender, race, religion, ethnicity, age, education, etc. and comparing these social…show more content…
Functionalists make a critique of symbolic interactionism as not seeing the big picture that functionalists focus on. For example, a symbolic interactionist would not account for large social forces such as racism or gender inequality, which strongly influence how we interpret race and gender. A functionalist examines the behaviors of entire family systems or groups of people while interactionists look at an individuals’ behavior. A functionalist would also make the critique that symbolic interactionism is not a unified theory; it is a framework that can support many specific theories. For example, Goffman’s dramaturgical theory has concepts within the interactionist perspective that are more clearly defined, but still capable of deception. A functionalist perspective is routine and can usually predict how something will happen. For instance, Talcott Parsons’s sex role theory displays each person’s role in the family and the family seems to stay stable. In symbolic interactionism, it is difficult to predict how a person will react or interpret a symbol or behavior. Using both perspectives, sociologists are able to interpret human behavior based off a large group or off an

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