Three Sociological Perspectives

Three Sociological Perspectives

Length: 1124 words (3.2 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Excellent

Open Document

Essay Preview

More ↓
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.

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"Three Sociological Perspectives." 123HelpMe.com. 23 May 2019
    <https://www.123helpme.com/view.asp?id=126466>.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Essay about Sociological Perspectives On The Sociological Perspective

- Sociology helps us understand how societies influence people, and how people within a society influences the society. We, as human beings, are part of societies that have different customs, beliefs, and morals. When things are normal to us we assume that it is normals to everyone around the world as well, but in reality what is normal or important to one society may not be important to the other one. Because of this, being able to understand how the sociological perspective works is especially important....   [tags: Sociology, Jeans, LGBT, Slim-fit pants]

Research Papers
1127 words (3.2 pages)

Sociological Perspectives On The Nature Of Religion Essay

- Religion has been a source of fascination to the scientists for very many years, hundreds of years. Anthropological theories of taboos and totem, sociological theories of functionalism, biological investigations of the ‘religious mind, or the evolutionary theories of optimal adaptation, are just a few of the examples of the several attempts to understand the origin and the prominent existence of religion in the human societies. It is argued that a fundamental feature of any of these religion theories should be an explanation between two aspects that are most observed, the individual and the social aspects....   [tags: Sociology, Religion, Émile Durkheim]

Research Papers
1143 words (3.3 pages)

Sociological Perspectives Of The United States Essay

- 1. There are three major sociological perspectives, these are three major theories are conflict theory, functionalism theory, and interactionist theory. Conflict theory is defined as a theory that focuses on societal groups competing for scarce resources. Functional theory (or also called structural-functional theory) is defined as assumes that all parts of a social structure (groups, organizations, and institutions), the culture (values and beliefs) and social processes (social change) work together to make the whole society run smoothly....   [tags: Sociology, Poverty, Economic inequality]

Research Papers
980 words (2.8 pages)

Essay on Sociological Perspectives On Social Life

- 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....   [tags: Sociology, Symbolic interactionism]

Research Papers
1101 words (3.1 pages)

Sociological Perspectives Of Functionalism, Conflict And Interactionism Essay

- The information in this paper will discuss the three major sociological perspectives of functionalism, conflict and interactionism. One must first possess an understanding of Sociology, which is the study of society and social interactions. With the understanding of sociology and the factors that make studying the social interactions an interested topic of sociologists. There have been many changes in the family structure in families in the United States as the dynamics of families have been reversed....   [tags: Sociology, Anthropology, Conflict theory]

Research Papers
1069 words (3.1 pages)

Sociological Perspectives On Teen Depression And Suicide Essay

- There are three main types of sociological perspectives in which you can perceive different sociological issues and concepts; structural-functional, symbolic-interaction, and social conflict. Structural-functional looks at society as a whole and how it works together. Symbolic-interaction is how different symbols spark particular thoughts and emotions by examining the meanings that people impose on objects, events and behaviors. Social conflict studies how power and coercion affect social order....   [tags: Sociology, Psychology, Suicide]

Research Papers
716 words (2 pages)

Sociological Perspectives Are Structural Functionalism, Conflict, And Symbolic Interactionism

- “I had always looked down on sociology as this arriviste discipline. It didn 't have the noble history of English and history as a subject. But once I had a little exposure to it, I said, 'Hey, here 's the key. Here 's the key to understanding life and all its forms” (Wolfe). “Sociology is an invitation to look behind the scenes of the social world-a passport, as it were, to a different way of viewing life” (James). Define sociology and explain the three major sociological perspective. Sociology is the science of society, social institutions, and social relationships; specifically, the systematic study of the development, structure, interaction, and collective behavior of organized groups o...   [tags: Sociology, Symbolic interactionism]

Research Papers
891 words (2.5 pages)

Sociological Perspectives and Theories Essay

- Sociological Perspectives and Theories Sociologists try to explain how society orders itself but there are many different theories for this, which often conflict with one another. Some of these classic theories include Marxism, Functionalism, and Interactionism. There are also more modern or contemporary theories such as Feminism. Each sociological perspective has different beliefs. Marxists are concerned with the distribution of economic power and wealth. They believe that society is in conflict between two classes....   [tags: Papers]

Research Papers
2035 words (5.8 pages)

Sociological Perspectives Of Functionalism And Feminism Essay

- This essay will critically discuss the key sociological perspectives of Functionalism, Marxism and Feminism and how they relate to the way relationships are structured within society. In addition to this it will aim to discover which of the three perspectives have the most relevance in modern life. Functionalists believe that all people share the same values and norms, a value consensus and this leads to the achievement of social solidarity, a sense of unity. Functionalism suggests that society needs to be thought of as a whole and in order for it to function all of the parts, social institutions need to work together....   [tags: Sociology, Feminism, Feminist theory, Marxism]

Research Papers
1408 words (4 pages)

Essay on War in Afghanistan: A Sociological Perspective

- Canada has played a vital role in international relations for the majority of its 144 year history since the signing of Confederation in 1867. Canada first participated in World War I, then World War II in 1939-1945. Following World War II, Canada was also involved in the Korean War. Canada has been primarily a peacekeeping nation. There are many questions people ask when a high income country goes to help a lower income nation such as Afghanistan. What are Canada’s motives for helping out Afghanistan....   [tags: Sociology ]

Research Papers
1151 words (3.3 pages)


Functionalist perspective is an approach to studying a society on the macrosociological level. This means that a society is studied on a large scale as a whole. The view of the individual in a functionalist perspective is that people are socially molded, not forced, to perform societal functions. Order in a society, as viewed by a functionalist, is maintained when members of a society cooperated with one another. Functionalists view social change as being predictable and positive. The main idea of functionalist perspective is that of stability (Schaefer & Lamm, 1998).
Conflict Perspective
Definition
"The conflict perspective is a sociological approach which assumes that social behavior is best understood in terms of conflict or tension between different groups," (Schaefer & Lamm, 1998). In contrast to the functionalist view of stability, conflict sociologist see a society as being in constant struggle. The idea of conflict is not necessarily violent; it could just refer to disagreements that are worked out through a mediator (Platt, 1999).
Founders
The two main contributors to the formation of the conflict perspective are Karl Marx and W. E. B. Du Bois. Karl Marx explained that conflicts between classes of society are inevitable, since workers will always be exploited as a result of capitalism. It is through the expansion of Marx's work that sociologist now apply conflict theory to all aspects of society. Even though there are parallels between Marxist theories and conflict perspective they are not the same. An important aspect of conflict perspective is that it encourages sociologists to look at a society through the eyes of those in the population who does not influence decision making. Du Bois contributed to the conflict perspective by studying society in reference to blacks and their struggles within society (Schaefer & Lamm, 1998).
Characteristics
The conflict perspective sees society as being full of tension and struggle between groups. It also, like functionalist, analyzes society on the macrosociological level. As for the individual, they are perceived as being shaped by power and authority. Social order is viewed as being maintained not through cooperation, but through force. And social change is not predictable, but is constantly taking place. The conflict perspective's main idea is that there are competing interests between groups and social inequality exists, therefore there is always conflict of some kind.
Interactionist Perspective
Definition
"The interactionist perspective is a sociological approach which generalizes about fundamental or everyday forms of social interaction," (Schaefer & Lamm, 1998). Interactionist perspective focuses on the way that small groups act, in order to understand society as a whole. Interactionists study people in their everyday behavior and how they react to their surroundings. Such surroundings may include material things, actions, other people, and symbols.
Founders
George Herbert Mead is most often credited with founding the interactionist perspective, but Charles Horton Cooley also shared Mead's views. Mead was a professor at the University of Chicago, and he focused on the analysis of one-to-one situations and other small groups. He paid particular attention to body language such as a frown or nod, and he also asked the questions of how other group members effected these gestures. His students passed down his views after his death, as a result of hearing his lectures (Schaefer & Lamm, 1998).
Characteristics
The interactionist view of society is that we influence each other's everyday social interactions. In contrast to functionalist and conflict perspectives, the interactionist perspective studies society on a microsociological level. In other words they study on a small scale in order to understand the large scale. Interactionists believe that an individual creates their own social world through his or her interactions, and it is thought that social order is maintained when people share their understanding of everyday behavior. Interactionists say that social change occurs when the positions and communication with one another change. The main idea of an interactionist sociologist is to study nonverbal communication and small groups paying particular attentions to objects and symbols (Schaefer & Lamm, 1998).
As one can tell from reading these three approaches are very different in the way in which they study sociological issues. They all strive to give meaning to why people do what they do, and neither is better than the other, they just go about reaching the same goal in a different way.




Bibliography:

References

Platt, J. http://www.vcm.es/info/isa/contr1.htm
Rothman, R. A. http://www.phptr.com/ptrbooks/hss_0136128148.html
Schaefer, R. T., & Lamm, R. P. (1998). Sociology. New York: The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
Return to 123HelpMe.com