Three Sociological Perspectives

1124 Words5 Pages
Three Sociological Perspectives This paper discusses three approaches that can be taken when studying Sociology. There are many subjects to be studied and discussed in the field of Sociology, and the approach chosen to study a particular subject is called a perspective. There are three different perspectives, and they are functionalist, conflict, and interactionist perspectives. This paper compares and contrasts these different perspectives with one another. When studying in the field of Sociology everyone is going to approach topics in a different manner. No two people are going to have the exact same view on a particular subject. There are however, three major categories in which people might choose to approach topics. The approaches are know as sociological perspectives and are the functionalist, conflict, and interactionist perspectives. These perspectives name different ways in which different people choose to analyze a subject, and how they look at a society as a whole. The following paragraphs compare and contrast the three, and identify major characteristics of each. Functionalist Perspective Definition "The functionalist perspective is a sociological approach which emphasizes the way that parts of a society are structure to maintain its stability,"(Schaefer & Lamm, 1998). This perspective looks at a society in a positive manner and sees it as stable, with all the parts working together. Under the functionalist view every social aspect of a society contributes to the society's survival, and if not, the aspect is not passed to the next generation. Founders There are two people who where mainly involved in the development of the functionalist perspective, they are Emile Durkheim, Talcott Parsons. Durkheim contributed to the functionalist perspective when she was studying religion, and how it was responsible for people feeling solidarity and unity in groups. Parsons was a sociologist from Harvard University who was greatly influenced by Durkheim. In return, he influenced Sociology by dominating the field, with his functionalist views, for four decades (Schaefer & Lamm, 1998). Characteristics When approaching a subject with the functionalist perspective, manifest and latent functions as well as dysfunctions are looked at and studied. A manifest function of an institution is one that is stated and expected. A latent function is one that is unexpected or can show a hidden purpose of an institution, and a dysfunction is a component of a society that can cause instability (Rothman, 1998). These functions and dysfunctions are use in analyzing a society.
Open Document