The Theoretical Perspectives Of Sociology

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Symbolic interactionism is the first of the three theoretical perspectives in Sociology. This avenue of examining sociological factors looks at more personal interactions than the other two perspectives. Sociologist observe patterns and behaviors of these smaller interactions to define, or redefine, the use and evolution of symbols in society. Some sociologist see this approach as being too focused on one person’s view and take on society rather than trying to understand society as a functioning whole (Turner, "Symbolic Interaction Theory”). One example of symbolic interactionism put forth by Erving Goffman (1974) uses Roger, an engineer, as an example. Even though he and his parents believe that Roger is an amazing engineer, their perspective would not take into account that Roger’s boss found his skills to be insufficient and fired him. Without combining these two perspectives, that of Roger and his parents and of his boss, there is not a complete understanding of Roger and his skills, or lack there of. The following two perspectives in Sociology examine society at a larger scale. The second theoretical perspective in Sociology is functional analysis. Functional analysis is used to identify and define relationships between different aspects of society. These relationships are determined to be either functional, which is beneficial to society, or dysfunctional, which is not beneficial. The two previous labels are then broken down further and actions can be deemed
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