Premium Essay

Major Theoretical Sociological Perspectives: Similarities and Differences

In: Social Issues

Submitted By ARNPrevalence
Words 2448
Pages 10
Major Theoretical Sociological Perspectives: Similarities and Differences
Sociology: the scientific study of the development, structure and functioning of human society (Oxford). When the topic of discussion is sociology, Auguste Comte, the “father of positivism” would come to mind, as it was he who first coined the term “sociology” (Kreis, 2009). Comte also emphasized that the study of society must be scientific and he pushed sociologists to employ the use of qualitative methods such as observation, historical comparative analysis and experimentation. Sociological Perspective is the way in which we view sociological phenomena (Long, 2011). Among the many perspectives that exist there are three theoretical perspectives that are widely acknowledged by sociologists, these are the symbolic-interactionist perspective, conflict perspective and functionalist perspective.
The analysis of social phenomenon occurs at varying levels by one of the three main theoretical perspectives or paradigms which provide sociologists with an orienting position or rather a philosophical position used to guide their questions about a society and its inhabitants. These phenomena range from evident interpretations to sweeping generalizations of society and its social behavior. Everything is studied from specific events straight up to the “big picture”, this would include the micro levels and macro levels of a society’s social patterns.
The origin of the symbolic-interactionist theory traces back to Max Weber and his assertion that people act in accordance to their interpretation of the meaning of their world. However, George H. Mead was the one to introduce the theory to American sociology. Although he was never able to publish this theory so his student, Herbert Blumer, did after his teacher’s death (Williams, W). The focal point of symbolic-interactionism is the manner in which people…...

Similar Documents

Premium Essay

Sociological, Theoretical Perspectives 1

...Sociological Theoretical perspectives: Functionalism, Conflict, and Interactionist perspective on Poverty. GEORGINA JACKSON ARIZONA UNIVERSITY Sociologists view society in different ways. Some see the world basically as a stable and on-going entity. They are impressed with the endurance of the family, organized religion and other social institutions. Sociologists look at the society in different theoretical perspectives such as functional, conflicts and interactional. The functionalist perspective emphasizes the way in which the parts of a society are structured to maintain its stability. Talcott parsons, a Harvard university sociologist refined functionalism with the work of Emile Durkheim who established functionalism perspective theory. Coming to the Conflict perspective, it deals with how society, institution may help to maintain the privileges of some people. The interactionist perspective looks at the society in micro level to get insight of the larger macro observation. In this paper, we are going to use functionalist, conflict and interactionist perspectives to evaluate poverty. Functionalist perspective views the society as a system we used to have poverty to be able to have rich people. If there is no poverty, there cannot be rich people. Poverty is a state where by someone lacks materials or......

Words: 621 - Pages: 3

Free Essay

The Sociological Perspective

...The Sociological Perspective John J. Macionis explains the sociological perspective as a special point of view that takes a look at how particular groups of people in society are influenced in making choices, feel and even the way they think. These are general patterns that occur in our daily lives and all around the world but differing from one social group to another. Macionis teaches us that our way of living is influenced by the particular group in society which we belong to. Unconsciously all our choices come from what society expects from us, either being our level of education, the partner we decide to marry, the amount of kids we decide to raise or even where we decide to live. The groups we belong in are based on economic status, gender, race, religion, age group etc. for example students attending college are fairly young because that is the specific age group that society expects to attend college. Moreover the level of education students achieve is determined by the economic status they hold because as education goes higher costs also goes higher, hence the institutions chosen by high income versus low income students differ. The amount of kids we decide to raise may be influenced by the education available on contraceptives which is very limited in poor countries. Whom we decide to marry and where we live is also influenced by economic status as we can see here in Belize that major political leaders live in the cities. The sociological perspective allows......

Words: 633 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

Theoretical Perspectives of Sociology

...In our society today, there are three theoretical perspectives that act as ways to view our lives. Symbolic Interactionism , Functional Analysis, and Conflict Theory. All of which are centered around the people they derived from who are : George Herbert Mead, Charles Horton Cooley, Robert Merton and Karl Marx. With these theories being a major part of sociology, the research that is collected to study the people in these societies should be looked at as a whole ,for, sociology comes in many forms. Symbolic Interactionism is the idea that one puts meaning to something. We attach our selves to names of certain people or things . Symbols are used to describe the relationships that we have with one another. Without symbolic Interactionism there would be no names to associate with people like a sister or brother . This also includes a teacher , an associate or a co-worker, These people may have names but they have a certain name that categorizes them into where they are related to you and how you should act towards them. Our actions towards people depend on the symbols we associate society with such as how you treat a boss compared to a sibling. Without this type of perspective there would be no way to socialize things such as the government which would mean that the most common things that are used in everyday life wouldn't be here. This theory is used describe things that are untouchable such as love, marriage or being a parent . It all goes back to how you rationalize these...

Words: 2012 - Pages: 9

Premium Essay

Similarities and Differences

...Black and White People: Differences and Similarities By Dercio Fernando Filipe Chauque Do not expect white to be the same as black people. In spite of their similarities, they are also very different from each other. Black and white people have feelings; they live in the same world. However, white people are racists, and black people are specials. Both groups are very sensitive. Black and white people have strong feelings. They can express their sensibility in many different situations. They help people suffering by hunger, natural disasters and many other different humanitarian cases. They cry when something afflicts their hearts. They get sad when do not reach their goals. They also share the same environment. Black and white people dwell at the same planet. They come from the same ancestors, Adam and Eve, who gave them the mortal sin. They have to breathe the same air. Wherever their location, there is only one sun that shine above them. None of them can skip from biological necessities. Both blacks and whites were made to live at the Earth without discrimination. When we treat someone differently because of the race, we call this action racism. In spite of a decrease of this kind of discrimination, most of white people are still racists. Some of them fear black people with no reason. Others think that black people cannot be intellectual. In short, white still despise black people. They feel themselves superiors and gods of the Earth. Even though blacks still respect...

Words: 390 - Pages: 2

Premium Essay

Depression: a Sociological and Psychological Perspective

...enviorment around us is the major cause of depression? It’s not really hard to believe when you think about it as we are faced with mass unemployment, and a recession which can put heavy strain on even the most balanced of individuals and their interpersonal relationships around them. There are many interpersonal instances that can have the ability to lead to the onset of depression, such as the family environment, the socialization setting, and the discrimination against gender in certain cultures and instances. Depression has many brothers and sisters in the medical world, ranging from disorders such as Dysthymia, postnatal depression and in some extreme cases of depression such as Bio polar, and major depression (Unipolar). But no matter what the diagnosis is or how serious the depression is, depression is not trivial and is a real health condition contrary to what some people believe. It is not something that you can just snap out of and more importantly it is not a sign of weakness. For many people depression can affect them in different ways to other people with the same condition but normally the symptoms are similar. These can range from lack of sleep or too much sleep, weight loss or gain, unpredictable mood swings, thoughts of self-harm or suicidal tendencies, low self-worth, and no interest or motivation. These are just a few of the psychological symptoms but the major question in which this essay will try to answer is what is the major cause of depression is.......

Words: 4908 - Pages: 20

Premium Essay

Theoretical Perspectives

...Theoretical Perspectives in Sociology By Adilene Benavidez Sociology B1 CRN# 71786 Prof. John Carpenter September 24, 2014 Theoretical Perspectives in Sociology Sociologist view society in three major theories: Structural Functionalism, Conflict Theory, and Symbolic Interactions. Each theory used allows us to understand the views of social life. Structural Functionalism: “ Functional Analysis, the central idea of functional analysis is that society is a whole unit, made up of interrelated parts that work together”(Henson 2015:17). Structural Functionalism is the idea that different parts of society work together like that of a body’s organs to create harmony. It’s seen on a macro level, looking at the big picture.   Conflict Theory: “provides a third perspective on social life. Unlike the functionalist, who views society as a harmonious whole with its part working together, conflict theorists stress that society are of groups that are competing with one another for scarce resources. The surface might show cooperation, but scratch that surface and you will find a struggle for power”(Henson 2015:20). A Conflict theorist, see society as two classes, the proletariat (worker) and the bourgeoisie (owners).  It’s like a sports arena one team and fans being the workers and the other team being the owners competing for the win.  The higher class you are, the more power you have. Status is very important for power and so is being in a political party.  This theory is also......

Words: 324 - Pages: 2

Premium Essay

Comparing the Major Theoretical Perspective in Social Psychology

...The historical root of social psychology can be summarized into three basic concepts that originate from well-known psychologists, such as Freud, Kohler, Skinner, and others, in the early 1900s. These theories are as follows: Psychoanalytic Theory focuses on the powerful inner drives, impulses, and motivations of the individual mind and how those motivations are formed by sexuality and aggression. A second challenger called Behaviorism offered that motivations are subject to environmental factors and that learning shapes and determines future responses. To conclude, the perspective of Gestalt psychology regarded itself as a democratic and humanistic view of motivation. The theory says that individuals form coherent and meaningful perceptions and determine their responses based on the “whole”, not individual parts. While social psychology has its roots in psychology, the following major contemporary theories are used to understand and study the behaviors and problems of today. Motivational Theories (influenced by psychoanalytic theory) general approach concentrates on the individual’s own needs or motives that influence perceptions, attitudes, and behavior. In short, when an individual is presented with adversity, these conditions create or provoke needs that trigger behaviors in the individual to satisfy those needs. For example, the experience of moving away from home to Europe with my husband created feelings of loneliness. Cognitive Theories (influenced by......

Words: 521 - Pages: 3

Free Essay

Sociological Perspective

...Sociological Perspective Paper: Conflict Perspective Team "B' SOC/101- Introduction to Sociology October 13, 2014 Angela Rudibaugh Sociological Perspective Paper: Conflict Perspective Recently I viewed a video named Three Cups of Tea. The video highlighted the works of Nobel Peace Prize nominee Greg Morrison’s work through bringing educational institution to girls across the world. The video has brought up points pertaining to conflict perspective theory of sociology covering two classes looking out for their own interest. The struggle between the two groups clearly shows a dominant and a submissive side. In the video men are portrayed as the dominant group, while women are the submissive group. This is made valid by Morrison’s comments throughout the video. The video Three cups of Tea is of a short interview of a man named Greg Morrison and his young daughter that discusses his humanitarian work. Morrison has built 78 schools for young girls in third world countries such as Afghanistan and Pakistan. Three cups of Tea is a book that is dedicated to helping spread his message; books not bombs. Morrison aims to educate young girls with the hope that they will grow up to make education a priority for their own children (NBC News Archives, 2010). The conflict perspective theory of sociology was developed by Karl Marx. In this theory “social injustice and uneven destitution of wealth give rise to criminological conditions.” (Conflict Perspective, 2011, para. 1). ......

Words: 720 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

Sociological Perspectives

...Unit: 7 Sociological perspectives in Health and Social Care P2 In this assignment I will be defining the different concepts of health& ill health and how theorists relate their theories to health. I will also assess the biomedical and socio-medical models of health. There are many definitions of health; many sociologists have a difficulty in finding a definition for the word health. Health can be defined in negative terms, as ‘the absence of disease’. According to http://www.who.int/about/definition/en/print.html this is contrasted with a positive definition such as the provided by the World Health Organisation (WHO) IN 1974: “Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”. A negative concept of health is therefore opposed to a positive concept of health as being worried with people’s physical, intellectual, social and emotional wellbeing. According tohttp://www.who.int/about/en/ The World Health Organisation is an organisation which directs and coordinates authorities for health in the United Kingdom. It is responsible for global health matters and shapes the health research agenda, setting norms, standards and providing support in countries. In the health and social care settings, health care professionals usually implement a holistic approach to care and support for people. They see their role as addressing the needs of the whole person rather than single matters or identified problems. A person......

Words: 1135 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay

Differences Between Sociological Perspectives

...three major theoretical perspectives in sociology are the functionalist perspective, the conflict perspective and the interactionist perspective. The functionalist perspective focuses on society as a whole, and that each member of society contributes equally. Theorists involved with the functionalist perspective are Emile Durkheim, Talcott Parsons, and Robert Merton. Durkheim was a major theorist involved in the observation of “anomie”, a state where norms are unclear, confused or not present. In the conflict perspective, society is viewed as a struggle. The theorists involved are Karl Marx, W.E.B Dubois and Ida Wells-Barnett. Karl Marx concluded that the power struggle between social classes was inevitable, in the Marxist View. Lastly, the interactionist perspective focuses on everyday social interactions and explains society as a whole. The theorists involved in the interactionist perspective are George Herbert Mead, Charles Horton Cooley and Erving Goffman. With all three of these sociological perspectives, there are both similarities and differences. The functionalist perspective and the conflict perspective are similar in that they both focus on the relationships and behaviors amongst themselves. They both explain how the effects that society has on people and how people affect the society. Both the functionalist perspective and conflict perspective have a macro level analysis, meaning that they focus on large-scale phenomenon or entire civilizations. The differences......

Words: 815 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

Major Principles of Sociological Theory

...Major Principles of Sociological Theory According to the text, social structure “theories look at the formal and informal economic and social arrangements (or structure) of society as the root causes of crime and deviance” (Schmalleger, 2012, "Social Structures Theories/Definition of Social Structure Theories"). In addition, the social structure theories look at the negative aspects of society’s structure, such as disorganization, poverty, and disadvantages associated with lack of educational success as the cause of criminal behavior (Schmalleger, 2012, "Social Structures Theories/Definition of Social Structure Theories"). The major principles of the sociological theory that are addressed in the video are Tent City’s social group arrangements of society that provides focus for study, group dynamics and subgroup relationships from which crime develops, society’s structure and degree of organization/disorganization, and specific behaviors that can statistically estimate characteristics to engage in crime. The social groups formed in Tent City are racially motivated, meaning that each inmate is segregated to their own racial group to keep the different racial groups separated from each other. The group dynamics in a population of criminals that are divided into subgroups by race offers two examples the major principles. One example relates to the group being made up of all criminals, and the second example relates to the racially segregated......

Words: 915 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

Sociological Perspectives

...Sociological Perspectives In this assignment I will explore the sociological perspectives. In sociology there are 7 perspectives. Sociology is “The study of human social behaviour, especially the study of the origins, organization, institutions, and development of human society.” (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 2011). The seven perspectives of sociology are functionalism, Marxism, feminism, interactionism, postmodernism, new right and collectivism. Definitions “Functionalism interprets each part of society in terms of how it contributes to the stability of the whole society. Society is more than the sum of its parts; rather, each part of society is functional for the stability of the whole society” (Crossman, 2015). “Marxism is a political, social, and economic philosophy derived from the work of the 19th-century historians Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. It views human history as a struggle between social classes and asserts that capitalism is inherently exploitative.” (Chegg.com, 2015) “Feminism is a complex set of political ideologies used by the women’s movement to advance the cause of women’s equality and to end the sexist theory and practice of social oppression. (Crossman, 2015) “The interactionist perspective is one of the major theoretical perspectives within sociology. It focuses on the concrete details of what goes on among individuals in everyday life. Interactionists study how we use and interpret symbols not only to......

Words: 905 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

Similarities and Differences

...including the University of Miami, the University of Georgia and a few other public schools in Florida. Her first volume of poems appeared in 1981, and since then, has published a novel, essays and many poetry collections. Taslima Nasrin was born in Mymensingh, Bangladesh. She earned her degree in medicine from Mymensingh Medical College and practiced as a government doctor for a few years. Nasrin earned a number of important literary prizes in 1992 and 1993. Then she went on to win the UNESCO-Madanjeet Singh Prize and the Simone de Beauvoir feminist award in 2008. The differences between Latin Women Pray by Judith Ortiz Cofer and Things Cheaply Had by Taslima Nasarin are what is being worshiped, the setting and social status (Abcarian, Richard, Marvin Klotz, and Samuel Cohen. Literature: The Human Experience: Reading and Writing. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2007. Print.). There are a few similarities and differences between what is worshiped in Latin Women Pray and Things Cheaply Had. “If they get a jewel for their nose they lick feet for seventy days or so…” (Nasrin,T.C.H.). The women will become so desperate that they will do almost anything for material objects. “They pray to an Anglo God with a Jewish heritage” (Cofer, L.W.P). The Latino community worships more or less non-material objects whereas the Indian prostitutes worship jewels and oils for their hair. “If they get a small bottle of alta for their feet they spend three nights sleepless for sheer joy” (Nasrin,......

Words: 725 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

Similarities and Difference

...Starting from birth, a person will go through a number of phases of development that will continue throughout his or her lifespan. The first step of development begins during infancy in which the development cycle will continue through his or her childhood, adolescence, adulthood along into his or her elderly stage of life. This assignment will discuss the similarities and differences in adolescent development on both males and females. The adolescent stage is when a human reaches the age of 12 to 19 years of age. Males as well as females will go through different stages of life that will stay with each gender throughout his or her lifespan. Is the experience of being an adolescent the same for males and females? Both male Both genders are unique; For example, various personalities along with life experiences. An adolescent can be influenced by a number of factors which include but are not limited to physical development, cognitive development, emotional development and social development. Both genders will go through all four stages of development in his or her own way. When a girl goes through the age of eight to eleven, they tend to be androgynous. A girl in this age group will view themselves as strong and confident as well as not afraid to express her feelings on what she may think about specific issues. Once she cross over into adolescence, she will begin to experience more pressure toward rigid conceptions of her gender role of development. According...

Words: 961 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

Sociological Perspectives

...Sociology Assignment 1 Maninder Kular October 20, 2015 Sociological Theorists Emile Durkheim was a pioneer in sociology; his major focus was on social structure. He insisted, “Behavior must be understood within a larger social context, not just in individualistic terms” (Schaefer, 10). According to him the most important thing in life is a sense of belonging. The opposite of which is anomie- a feeling of isolation and loneliness. He would argue these are the worst things in life. Social attachments to others are important to avoid anomie. For example, religion reinforces a group’s solidarity because it is a form of group behavior (Schaefer, 10). Durkheim believed the industrial revolution caused anomie due to a change of pace in life. People became busy, and as a result there were less meaningful interactions. He believed modern capitalism caused anomie, and people who are unable to cope may resort to taking their own lives (Schaefer, 10). Therefore, he advocated the creation of social groups between the family and the state to provide a sense of belonging for members of a society (Schaefer, 10). Durkheim is linked to the structural functionalist perspective. Its main focus is on how people and institutions serve as a function. As long as every person and institution does this, there will be order and stability within society. This leads back to his idea that behavior cannot be understood in individualistic terms, but within a larger social context. He believed......

Words: 1499 - Pages: 6