When people view their world and society, they use their own individual worldview, which significantly impacts whether they have a negative or positive outlook on the world around them. In sociology, this worldview becomes evident as the person applies one of the three sociological perspectives in examining society. These three sociological perspectives (structural functionalism, the conflict theory, and symbolic interactionalism) are distinct from each other and seek to describe society as it truly exists by means of interactions and structure.
Sociology is the study of society and the interactions that occur within society itself. There are numerous methods of analyzing societies and the way the function, nonetheless, most methods fall in micro and macro level theories. Micro level theories allow sociologist to study smaller relationships such as individual or compact groups of people. On the other hand, macro level studies permit for larger scale investigations to take place. With both of these theories there are three theoretical perspectives used in sociology. Micro level theories include symbolic interactionism which focuses in interactions done with language and gestures and the means which allow such interactions to take place. Macro level theories include structural functionalism
“Origins of sociological thinking can be traced to the scientific revolution in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth century” (Kendall 11). In this time, great store was put on one’s possession of critical reasoning and experiences. In France the Enlightenment was dominated by a group called philosophes; these men believed that human society could be improved through scientific discoveries (Kendall 11). In France during this time period women were excluded from public life, but some women were able to influence the philosophes by participating in a “salon” which is much like an open house which encouraged discussion and debates. During these salon’s the men typically viewed the women as someone that was a good listener, or maybe even a mistress; they did not consider them intellectual equals. Sometimes they would even use the women’s thoughts and ideas like they were theirs (Kendall 11)
The three (3) major sociological theories include: symbolism (which relates to the use of symbols and/ or face to face interactions); functionalism (which relates to matters that are associated with the society and how these variables are functional to one another) and conflict theory (which related to conflicts that are associated with the competition for limited resources and how the wealth people deprive the poor and/ or weak people the right to access these resources for their needs) (Mooney et al., 2010).
Symbolic interactionism perspective is defined as “the study of how people negotiate the meanings of social life during their interactions with others” (Rohall, Milkie, and Lucas, 2014, p.27). It asserts that “we construct meaning about things that are important in our own lives and in our society” (Rohall, Milkie, and Lucas, 2014, p.28). These meanings derive from social interactions among individuals which
One of the sociological theories is conflict theory. The conflict theory deals with people's level on wealth, or class. The conflict theory says that social change is beneficial, contrary to focuses on social order. In the story of the woman and her children, the conflict theory plays a big role on the situation.
When it comes to comprehending or understanding any concept to why individuals may do some of the things they do, there are social theories out there to help better explain those actions. Sociological theories help to focus more on the aspect of social life, as well as explain behaviors that can be driven by passion, tradition, self-interest, religion, and the laws we have set out today in stone. “Unlike scientific theories, social theories tend to be more evaluative and critical than the theories in the natural sciences” (Appelrouth A. S.; Edles D. L 2012) Today, an analytical frame is used to help guide the comparing and contrasting of the several theoretical perspectives and traditions. In simpler terms, this four way frame is basically used to help compare and contrast theorist better. There are four main cells that make up this analytical frame which include, individual-rational, individual-nonrational, collective-rational, and collective-nonrational. Also included into this basic theoretical orientation or framework, are the core classical theorists. Those influential theorists included into the framework are Mead, who falls into the individual-nonrational side, Durkheim whom falls into the collective-nonrational side, Weber whom falls into the collective-rational side, and Marx who is also included into the collective-rational side.
Overall, the symbolic-interaction approach is a major concept in sociology and in society. The symbolic-interaction approach is a main part of understanding how people interact and how society interacts as a whole. This approach involves symbols, language, and body language all perceived by each individuals in society. The symbolic-interaction approach focuses on patterns of interaction is certain settings in society. It is important to understand this concept to learn that not everyone’s interpretation of society may be the same and to work towards creating a better
To be able to evaluate Functionalism, Marxism and Interactionism we
must first look at the strengths and weaknesses in each. There are
many variations and interpretations of each of these theories,
therefore for the sake of simplicity only the key ideals will be
Functionalism looks at society as an organized structure of
inter-related institutions; and the various ways these institutions
interact together within a social structure. Examples of these
'institutions' are the family, work, education and religion.
Evaluation of Sociological Theories
Deviance can be described as: "Nonconformity with existing/traditional
social norms. This nonconformity is often said to be pathological when
it challenges power and privilege; yet it is said to be indicative of
innovation or creativity when the gatekeepers of morality approve it.
A loaded term, deviancy is a negative asset when the environment is
stable but can be a positive asset to a society when the environment
is irreversibly changing." Each perspective asks different questions
and focuses on different issues regarding crime and deviance.