Sociology constantly debates how society works. Sociology cannot be proven right or wrong but on the other hand, debated. Every sociologist is entitled to their opinion on the way society forms, works, and influences a specific people of a culture. This is why there are many different sociological perspectives formed from different sociologists that all have different theories on how society works. The founding fathers of sociology developed the three main perspectives: Functionalism, symbolic interactionism, or conflict. In short, the conflict perspective was developed by Karl Marx and he thought that society was a capitalist system. Everyone in society craves power and manipulate others in order to reach power. (Mooney, Knox, & Schacht, 2007) Then, symbolic interactionism also known as micro perspective, is the theory that our daily interactions through small groups are symbolized and make up societal norms and expectations that create society. Lastly, functionalism is the theory that everything in society is connected and needs to balance in order to function properly. Functionalism is the correct perspective in sociology on topics of education, religion and family.
Emile Durkheim had a very large part in developing the theories and explanations for the functionalist perspective of sociology. Durkheim believed that the public education system could work but only if both student and instructor understood and followed his perspective on education. First, the
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Sociology is the study the different aspects of humanity and society. It encompasses a very broad and varying range of topics. It can be studied on a large world-wide scale spanning across several countries, which is called Macrosociology. It can also be studied on a small scale looking at only individual families or neighborhoods, which is called Microsociology. Not only does it peer into humans’ interactions with each other but examines why they act the way they do. It considers the environment, as well as how access to different luxuries can contribute to the people that we become. In this fascinating field there are three primary views on exactly what the fundamental driving force behind society is. Symbolic Interactionalism, the belief that symbols and the meaning that they are given, define how we will perceive life, in this philosophy these meanings are influenced by society and the events of individual lives. Functional Analysis, views society as any other organism, in this theory all parts of the whole must work together cohesively to function. Conflict theory takes a somewhat opposite view than Functionalism, this perspective suggests that rather than wanting to work in unison, society’s underlying motive is a power struggle for resources. Over the course of this paper the reader will explore these different perspectives.
Three of the most widely used theoretical approaches used by sociologists are the functionalist, conflict, and interactionists perspectives. Functionalists highlight the contributions made by society that lead to social stability. Talcott Parsons, a key figure in the development of functionalist theory, viewed society as of a vast network of connected parts, each of which helps to maintain the system as a whole (Schaefer 2015). Conflict theorists take the approach that social behavior is understood in terms of tension between competing groups over power or the allocation of resources. Interactionist explain society by generalizing about the everyday forms of social interaction in places such as work, parks, or in public places. Functionalist and conflict approaches to the study of society focus on large scale phenomena or entire civilizations, or macrosociology, while the interactionist approach focuses on microsociology which stresses the study of small groups (Schaefer 2015). Functionalists reason that individuals are socialized to perform certain societal functions. However, conflict theorists consider that individuals are socialized by power of authoritative groups. In the interactionist view, individuals are shaped by their everyday interaction within small groups. Social order is maintained through cooperation and overall consensus in the functionalist’s perspective; laws are created to reinforce social order. Similarly, interactionists believe social order is
Sociology has its unique perspectives and each perspective makes sense on its own basis. From the three perspectives which are called conflict theory, symbolic interactionism, and functionalism the one that makes most sense to me is symbolic interactionism. Symbolic interactionism as stated in the book is, “[A] theoretical perspective in which society is viewed as composed of symbols that people use to establish meaning, develop their views of the world and communicate with one another.” The sociological perspective of symbolic interactionism was developed by Charles Horton Cooley and George Herbert Mead. Symbolic interactionism is analyzed at a microsociological level unlike conflict theory and functionalism.
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.
Emile Durkheim, a functionalist’s view of education is that it teaches us the norms and value of society. Education helps to unite all the individuals of society which creates a sense of belonging and commitment to that
This perspective originated with Émile Durkheim, a French sociologist, social psychologist, and philosopher, and the one who formally established and is considered the father of sociology, as the social sciences was not considered an independent field of study separate from philosophy at the time of his writings. Durkheim was interested in how social order and society as a whole remains stable, and used a scientific approach to study society. As Kenneth Allan quotes from Émile Durkheim (2005), “…if, in addition, society lacks the unity based upon the commitment of men’s wills to a common objective, then it is no more than a pile of sand that the least jolt or the slightest puff will suffice to scatter” (p. 136). Using this view of society as a creation of a collective group of individuals that work toward a common objective, functionalism looks at the institutions of society and how they contribute to the society’s stability. These institutions include the government, family, education, medicine, the justice system, the military, mass media, and other similar formal organizations. Each of these institutions are organized to fulfill the different needs of society and are all interdependent. Functionalism focuses on the order and social stability of a society, and credits disorganization and a lack of adaptation to new and changing times as the causes of social
Along with Marx and Weber, Durkheim is considered one of the founding members of modern sociology. He is also credited with making sociology a science through his application of scientific and empirical research. Durkheim believed that sociology should be seen as a science separate from other sciences such as psychology, by studying “social facts” objectively as things. (Kiviston, 2011)
Social conflict also focuses on macro-sociology. Symbolic interaction paradigm says society functions well through interactions. Communication is spreaded through symbols created by society. Social interaction is important, because it causes social change. Many variables such as behavior events are explained through social contact with others. The people are the ones who determine what is reality, and what is not reality. Life works in a dramatization point of view. Symbolic interaction paradigm focuses on the small issues that affect communities in society, therefore making it a micro-level orientation. Functionalist paradigm sees society as a well integrated, self-regulating system that meets people’s needs. While Social conflict views society having many groups that are self reliant, with their own goals and needs. Symbolic interaction explains society is shaped, and constructed through interaction, and communication with others.
One sociological perspective is the Functionalist theory. Functionalism is one of the earliest sociological theories. Emile Durkheim (1858-1917) was a professor and was interested in how society was possible and how society remains stable. This theory focuses on the macro-level of social structure rather than micro-level of everyday life. Functionalism sees society in parts which form a system, the parts depend on each other. Functionalist theory looks at the parts of society such as
In addition too, Symbolic Interactionism perspectives, there is Functionalism Perspective. The idea of the Functionalist perspective leads back to Emile Durkheim, a French sociologist whose writings form the core of the functionalist theory (McClelland, 2000). Functionalism is what happens when social structures have positive effects on the constancy of society. It is the frame work for building theory that sees society as a complex system whose parts work together to promote harmony and stability. There are also three assumptions behind functionalism theory, Stability, Harmony, and Evolutions. Those who use social structure theory focus on studying the nature and the consequences of social structures. It also focuses on a relatively state pattern of social behavior. This gives our lives shape in
Emile Durkheim is a French sociologist and views the world from the functionalist perspective (Leon-Guerrero, 2016). Durkheim believes that rapid cultural changes contribute to the anomaly that inhibits an individuals’ ability to align their behavior with the expected societal norm; he describes this as anomie (Leon-Guerrero, 2016). As a result, the previously stated can influence an individual to become socially isolated, creating barriers to their normative cognitive functions (Leon-Guerrero, 2016). These individuals commonly suffer from adverse effects related to mental health illness such as anxiety and posttraumatic stress disorders, which often contribute to a life of substance abuse (Leon-Guerrero, 2016). During my service learning
Functionalist theory is one of the major theoretical perspectives in sociology. It can be argued that the functionalist theory has made a significant contribution to the study of society. It originates from the work of Emile Durkheim who suggests that social order is possible and society remains stable due to the functioning of several institutions. Everything has a specific function in society and society will always function in harmony. The main institutions studied by functionalism are the family, the education system, religion and crime and deviance.
The functionalist perspective believes that each aspect of society is interdependent and makes the society function as a whole. Deviance may seem as though it is dysfunctional for society, but functionalists believe that deviance is necessary because it puts an emphasis on behaviors that are normal and creates a social standard for behavior. Symbolic internationalism is a sociological theory that uses symbols of everyday life. According to this theory, people attach meanings to symbols and act according to their interpretation of the symbols. Sociologists hold that the symbolic interaction theory shows that deviance and criminal behavior are attributed to the meanings surrounding deviance and how people view those meanings. The functionalist and symbolic theories focus on the positives of society. The third theory that sociologists use is the conflict theory. The conflict theory focuses on the negative aspects of society. Conflict theorists encourage social change. The conflict theory looks at how different groups of people compete against one another because of differing values.
Throughout the semester, we have learned about a variety of things that have changed the way I perceive people and the world around me that I never did before. One thing we learned about is sociological perspective. This is a perspective on humans and society as a whole. It means looking at society and how it is affected by humans, then looking at humans to see how the different changes in society have affected us. Before our Soc 101 class, I thought stuff just happened. The way perceive things and act as humans is because of the way society has socialized us. The three main sociological perspectives are the functionalist perspective, conflict perspective, and symbolic interactionism. The functionalist perspective claims that all parts of society
Durkheim is a highly influential name to remember when thinking of sociology. Durkheim’s mission was to develop sociology so it could be defined and to develop a method on how sociology should be used. Durkheim’s main concern in his career was primarily associated with how societies might preserve their integrity and rationality within modernised society, when things such as shared religious views and ethnic backgrounds are seen as things of the past. In relation to Durkheim’s social realism his concern was with the growing individualism in society. Durkheim argues that we are in an era which is imperfectly moving towards a morality based on individualism as “Durkheim regarded individualism as a collective representation, a force that