Sociological Theory

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INTRODUCTION TO SOCIOLOGICAL THEORY
Compare and contrast the views of three appropriate sociological perspectives to an area of social life of your choosing. Why do we act the way we do? Does the mass media really affect the way a people in a society behave? Sociologists focus on the environment and the social aspects of human behaviour in order to answer questions like these when studying a particular society. A society is defined as a large social group that shares the same geographical territory and is governed by the same political authority and cultural expectations. Culture is defined as the shared values of a society such as language, beliefs and ways of doing things (Burton, 2013, online). When looking at a society there are
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Functionalism was introduced by Emile Durkheim (1858-1917), who is considered by many intellectual thinkers to be the founder of modern sociology. The main principle of functionalism is that each part of a society is interdependent and contributes towards making society work as a whole. Each of these parts has to be working correctly but if something does go wrong then society has mechanisms to deal with them, such as the police and the legal system. Functionalists also believe that every social institution has many important functions to perform (Burton, 2013, online). Durkheim introduced the theory ‘anomie’, or ‘lack of social norms’, that could cause instability or chaos. This concept bought to light many instances that could affect a society in a negative way and especially the behaviour of individuals towards one another (Emile Durkheim org, 2013, online). Another concept put forward by Durkheim “the sum of all of its parts is larger than the whole”, defined at the introduction of the structural/functionalist theory, is as relevant today as it was when first introduced (Gamble, 2008, Online). Robert K. Merton (1910-2003) is one example of how Durkheim’s theories have lasted through the ages because his theory of ‘anomie’ was taken directly from Durkheim’s perspective and still remains a major theory in the structure of society, both in criminal justice and sociology (cited in
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