Three Theoretical Approaches to Sociology

1326 Words6 Pages
3 Major Theoretical Approaches to Sociology Functionalism (a.k.a. Structural Functionalism, Functional Analysis, Positivism): Until relatively modern times the prevalent sociological perspective was Functionalism, a paradigm which analyzes social structures (such as religion, schooling, or race relations) to deduce what social functions (such as marriage conventions, college attendance, or hiring practices) derive from them. This theoretical approach views society as a system of inter-dependent social functions each working to maintain equilibrium and stability within the whole. The social function of marriage, for instance, might be seen to derive from a religious structure. The values, norms, and behaviors surrounding marriage…show more content…
describing how those persons are interacting with social symbols ... helps illuminate why love in marriage is important to Americans. Society in the USA has long held to expectations of life-long fulfillment and satisfaction. Indeed the ‘American Dream’ has been crucial to American social development. With symbols of impending success all around them, Americans naturally also expect marriage to be fulfilling and satisfying as well. Symbolic Interactionism has been criticized for its inability to work with social structures (an important flaw) and macro-sociological issues. Also the approach favors qualitative data, thus creating research vagaries such as subjection in data interpretation and analysis. Conflict Theory: In the 1800’s Karl Marx (1818-1883) began to question the basic assumptions of Functionalism, particularly the premise that social functions exist naturally and develop over time to best serve all participants. His approach, called Marxism or Conflict Theory, emphasized four points;  A materialist view of human history,  Dialectical analysis in which one social convention (a ‘thesis’) creates its opposite (an ‘anti-thesis’), and a new convention (a ‘synthesis’) arises from conflict between the two,  A
Get Access