Sociologists develop theories to explain and analyze society at different levels and from different perspectives. Sociologists study everything from the micro level of analysis of small social patterns to the “big picture” which is the macro level of analysis of large social patterns.
Sociologists employ three major theoretical perspectives in sociology today. They are the structural-functionalist perspective, the conflict perspective, and the symbolic interactionism. The structural-functionalist perspective is done at a macro level and its focus is on the relationships between the parts of society. The Conflict perspective is done at a macro level and its main focus is on how the wealthy controls the poor and weak. Symbolic Interactionism is done at a micro and it focuses on the use of symbols and face to face interactions.
The structural-functionalist perspective looks at society as a complex system composed of various parts much like a living organism. Each aspect of society contributes to society's functioning as a whole. Social institutions play a key role in keeping a society stable. All societies need certain things to survive (Newman 2010).
Auguste Comte (Newman 2010) pointed out the need to keep society unified as many traditions were diminishing. He created the term sociology. Auguste Comte suggests that sociology is the product of a three-stage development.
Talcott Parson (Parsons 1951) sees society as a collection of systems within systems Parson determined that each individual has expectations of the other's action and reaction to his own behaviour, and that these expectations would be derived from the accepted norms and values of th...
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...analyzing a social issue because neither of the perspectives solely addresses all the possibly circumstances of an issue.
Durkheim, Emile. 1915. The Elementary Forms of the Religious Life: A Study in Religious Sociology. Translated by Joseph Ward Swain. New York: Macmillan.
Goffman, E. 1959. The presentation of self in everyday life. Garden City, NY: Double Day
Parsons, Talcott. 1951. The Social System. Glencoe, IL: Free Press.
Newman, David N.2010. Sociology: exploring the architecture of everyday life.
Mead, G. H. 1934. Mind, self and society and society. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Merton, Robert K. 1957. Social Theory and Social Structure. New York: Free Press.
Mills, C. W. 1956. The power elite. New York Oxford University Press.
Weber, M. 1947. The theory of social and economic organization. New York: Free Press.
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