Sociological Theories

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Sociological theory creates ways to understand the social world by having different theories to explain understand social life. It aids to make sense of this social world. It draws together a wide range of perspectives to help provide the fullest picture. (Macionis & Plummer p.36) It shows that one theory can explain something that another cannot. My aim is to answer this question with reference to both functionalism and conflict theory. This will be done by comparing and contrasting both theories in relation to their perspectives on both suicide and gender discrimination as social issues relevant to this day and age. Functionalism and conflict perspectives are both macro theories. This means that they focus on the big picture, for example social structure, social institutions and economic change. Functionalism sees society as a complex system whose parts interconnect. This perspective came from the works of Emile Durkheim, who was concerned with how society remains relatively stable. Emilie recognised that society exists beyond us—it has a life of its own. (Macionis & Plummer p.124) He recognised that society has the power to shape our thoughts and actions. Functionalism sees that studying society as a whole can only capture human experience. Durkheim saw crime as a ‘vital function for the ongoing life of society itself.’ (Macionis & Plummer p.125) He believed that crime is quite normal, and society would not exist without it. Functionalism sees society as a integrated whole where the parts work to hold it all together and sometimes it does not function well and falls apart. (Macionis & Plummer p.37) Durkheim did not precisely define the factors and dynamics accounting for the unity of society. He focused m... ... middle of paper ... ...to explain issues that the other cannot. The interpretation of different social issues varies for different theories. References: Turner, Bryan S., 2009 Blackwell Companions to Sociology, The New Blackwell Companion to Social Theory, Actions, Actors, and Systems, Chapter 5, p.106-123, Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, UK. Turner, J. H., Beeghley, L., Powers, C. H., 2007 The emergence of sociological theory, 6th edition, Thomson Wadsworth Australia. Macionis, J. J. and Plummer, K. 2012 Sociology: A Global Introduction, 5th Edition, Pearson Education Limited England Plummer, K 2010, Sociology: The Basics, Routledge, Oxon. Back, L., Bennett, A., Edles, D, L., Gibson, M., Inglis, D., Jacobs, R. & Woodward I 2012, Cultural Sociology: An Introduction, John Wiley & Sons Ltd, West Sussex. Sociology: Understanding and changing the social world, Flat World Knowledge

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