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(A)Sociology by Paul B. Horton & Chester L. Hunt Sixth Edition: Three Perspectives of Sociology:
1) Interactionism Perspective: The interactionism approach refers that the society is based upon interaction between individuals and among the groups. It is to be noted that this interaction starts through symbol. These symbols include body language, gestures, signs like yes or no. symbolic type of interaction lies favorite near GH Mead and Ch. Cooley. So, the interactionism perspective is the most popular one in the world so far because the meanings of your thoughts can be easily be exchanged through personal and group interaction. So according to the definition we can sensibly decide that we can exactly convey our behavior through the interaction in a friendly manner. Berger and Luck Man had rightly said in their social construction of reality that the believe, that the objective reality lies among the people because our perception level can easily perceive it. In this regard, to have reality we interact by talking each other or by signing like winking or other gestures. The recent integrationist Herbert Blumer and Erving Goff man emphasize that people don¶t respond in a direct way instead they respond to whatever they think about people to be. In human behavior the reality is not mere that is in your mind it is also that is out there. So, we according to this approach cannot say that reality is only objective. It is also subjective in nature. 2) Functionalist perspective: According to this perspective the society is an organized network of cooperating groups that are operating in an orderly manner according to set of rules and values shared by the most members of the society. There is stability and equilibrium in the society because the actions and reactions in the society are there to make tendency. Let¶s have an example of a family to enumerate the functionalist approach in an easy way. Every person in a family has his or her own job to do individually but there is a relation of interdependency among the individuals of a family. In the same way this scenario can be observed when talking about different groups leaving to gather will be also interdependent for their life to carry on. Let¶s go across another example that a teacher takes half of the time of a day of a child and gets him or her far from parents and make them teachers, workers, engineers and other professionals. So, here the behavior is functionally useful. This functionality is the disruption of equilibrium of society. It can be changed into functional but it takes time. So, functionalist can decide easily that if a change in a society in a particular way promotes a harmonious equilibrium. It is seen as functional but if this changed causes disruption. It is said to be dysfunctional and if the society is insensitive to this change it is called as nonfunctional.
W. Similarly on the basis of gender women is treated badly.W. abilities and even gender. rather than on their image of society (as the functionalists do). we know that a male has superiority on women. Furthermore. creative participants who construct their social world. The conflict theorists say that harmony and equilibrium of a society is just an illusion. this focus on interaction and on the meaning of events to the participants in those events (the definition of the situation) shifts the attention of interactionists away from stable norms and values toward more changeable. For the interactionist. We see in our daily life there is conflict among the individuals for income. in this way the dominant group has command over the people exploited by them. humans are practical actors who continually must adjust their behavior to the actions of other actors.2 3) Conflict perspective: If we looked at the history. power and on the basis of races. Francis 1) Symbolic interactionism: Interactionists focus on the subjective aspects of social life. not as passive. (B) Perspectives in Sociology by E. Because in this society if one is benefiting then it is penalizing the others. So. there existed class conflict in the society and it was the major force moving the society.e. Sharock and D. despite relative stability in the basic framework governing those relations. macrostructural aspects of social systems. the interactionist theorist sees humans as active. Whereas for functionalists socialization creates stability in the social system. As we are living in a male dominated society. conforming objects of socialization. Thus. i. continually readjusting social processes. We can adjust to these actions only because we are able to interpret them. research by interactionists focuses on easily observable face-to-face interactions rather than on macro-level structural relationships involving social institutions. On the other way if we talk about income the head of the institution creates a difference between in ordinary clerk and himself because of salary.. conflict theory was never discussed by any sociologist because every sociologist used to think about the stable society which is not dysfunctional. This process of adjustment is aided by our ability to imaginatively rehearse alternative lines of action before we act. society consists of organized and patterned interactions among individuals. in this way the conflict theory is the most appreciated one because the conflict is everywhere in the society. C. classes. for interactionistsnegotiation among members of society creates temporary. So. according to Karl Marx. One reason for this focus is that interactionists base their theoretical perspective on their image of humans. Thus. rather than on objective. For interactionists. to denote them symbolically and treat the actions and those who perform them as symbolic objects. Similarly a son is considered to be better than a daughter and of which the live example is a child¶s share in an inheritance. Cuff. . The conflict theory believes that the society is held to gather with the power of dominant groups. socially constructed relations which remain in constant flux.W. But. The process is further aided by our ability to think about and to react to our own actions and even ourselves as symbolic objects.
Without questioning the traditional way of treating disadvantaged groups. though later the theory was adapted and developed by other theorists such as Max Weber. point out that crime serves several purposes. or harmful.3 2) The functionalist perspective: Functionalism is one of the core perspectives of sociology. women. criminal investigators. The functionalist perspective evolved from the work of Emile Durkheim." Functionalism holds that everyone and everything in society. prosecutors. serves a purpose. acts perceived as criminal or deviant were critical in shaping the rights movements for African Americans. In many ways. theory in conflict states that the whole point of a society is to create social change. along with conflict theory and interactionism. The theory itself was originally coined by Karl Marx. There are a few ways that conflict theory can begin to form including: y y y Conflict between social classes Proletarian versus bourgeoisie Capitalism versus socialism . one must begin with an individual or group. In order to learn about conflict theory. Deviance can bring into question the status quo. and homosexuals in the United States. the norms of discrimination and prejudice could not be broken. Functionalism. functionalism can be summed up with one simple premise: "the world is a system of interrelated parts. Functionalists. According to Bohm. Crime creates the need for the employment of police officers. Durkheim concluded that crime and deviance serve three major functions for society: deviance clarifies or reaffirms societal norms. sociology examines the question of why the world is the way that it is. conflict theory really begins with the role that one person or group plays within the larger social scene. it promotes social unity. however. and it challenges the status quo. Crime. is viewed almost universally as a nuisance. For example. Additionally. 3) Conflict Theory: Conflict theory is a difficult concept to explain. Often. examining society through a functional framework which stresses that everything. is one of the major schools of sociological thought. hundreds of thousands of jobs related to the existence of crime would no longer be necessary and everyone in those positions would face unemployment. In essence. serves a purpose. forcing society to rethink previously held norms. out of place. lawmakers and other related fields of work. and each part makes a necessary contribution to the vitality of the system. defense attorneys. It is also suggested that the existence of crime is functional in its ability to rally families and communities together around a common purpose. for example. Sociology examines the contexts in which people live and how these contexts affect them. though it was shaped by Harvard sociologist Talcott Parsons during the mid20th Century. If crime were to suddenly disappear from the planet. no matter how strange it may seem. this change occurs through a matter of physical strife and struggle . no matter how seemingly strange.
What these symbols mean and how people interact with each other. make this subjective interpretation especially obvious. Mead introduced this perspective to American sociology in the 1920s. it does seek to study how those that have power stay in power. theory in conflict has to do with the ways in which one group can better its social position. The elite tend to set the laws and rules for the general population. directs sociologists to consider the symbols and details of everyday life. They require intention and interpretation. The words have a certain meaning for the sender and during effective communication.4 Clearly. and then they act according to their subjective interpretation of these symbols. (C)http://www. Sometimes. Of course. While there always seems to be some sort of struggle between social classes. Sometimes. At the top of the social scene sits the elite. conflict theory is a physical resistance.com/study_guide/Three-Major-Perspectives-inSociology.cliffsnotes. Thus.html 1) Symbolic interactionism: The symbolic interactionist perspective. and then seek to determine what meanings individuals assign to their own actions and symbols. Although symbolic interactionism traces its origins to Max Weber's assertion that individuals act according to their interpretation of the meaning of their world. In summation. but sometimes it¶s just a battle of the brains. as well as to those of others. Written music serves as an example. The American philosopher George H. symbolic interactionists give serious thought to how people act. The black dots and lines become more than mere marks on the page. this is not always the case. they will be labeled societal outlaws. conflict theory can be applied to ideologies including capitalism and socialism. While the conflict theory does not seek to support either side. to learn all about conflict theory is to study how the elite manage to hold onto their position at the top of the pyramid while they are being challenged by the masses. also known as symbolic interactionism. the conflict theory takes a number of things into consideration. They refer to notes organized in such a way as to make musical sense.articleId-26837.topicArticleId-26957. Conversation is an interaction of symbols between individuals who constantly interpret the world around them. In other terms. words are not static things. Speaking dialogues. As soon as the general population begins to rebel against this form of social order. in which spoken words serve as the predominant symbols. Often. people attach meanings to symbols. You can think of the conflict theory as a sort of trickle-down effect. . or as a pyramid. they hopefully have the same meaning for the receiver. anything can serve as a symbol as long as it refers to something beyond itself. According to the symbolic interactionist perspective. Most laws and rules of the land usually benefit those that have already been in power for many years.
and productivity. and flowers and music.´ while the other may see them as a mere financial expense. a Church ceremony. but individuals also maintain their own perceptions of what these and other symbols mean. a white bridal dress. American society attaches general meanings to these symbols. Symbols may include wedding bands. social programs are trimmed or cut. the family is dependent upon the school to help children grow up to have good jobs so that they can raise and support their own families. but hold to varying values and beliefs and engage in varying types of work. In contrast. simple societies such as those in which everyone herds cattle or farms. organic solidarity is a form of social cohesion that arises when the people in a society are interdependent. the parts of society produce order. each aspect of society is interdependent and contributes to society's functioning as a whole. stability. one of the spouses may see their circular wedding rings as symbolizing ³never ending love. provides education for the children of the family. Mechanical solidarity most commonly occurs in traditional. and productivity. If all goes well. which in turn pays taxes on which the state depends to keep itself running. Families tighten their budgets. taxpaying citizens. That is. Amish society exemplifies mechanical solidarity. or cohesion.5 Consider applying symbolic interactionism to the American institution of marriage. If all does not go well. Much faulty communication can result from differences in the perception of the same events and symbols. stability. and output occur. Organic solidarity most commonly occurs in industrialized. For example. in which members of the society agree upon. The functionalist perspective achieved its greatest popularity among American sociologists in the 1940s and 1950s. American functionalists focused on discovering the functions of human . during a financial recession with its high rates of unemployment and inflation. also called functionalism. And a new social order. complex societies such those in large American cities like New York in the 2000s. a wedding cake. what is best for society as a whole. Schools offer fewer programs. 2) The functionalist perspective: According to the functionalist perspective. stability. Emile Durkheim suggested that social consensus takes one of two forms: y y Mechanical solidarity is a form of social cohesion that arises when people in a society maintain similar values and beliefs and engages in similar types of work. In the process. the parts of society then must adapt to evoke a new order. who in turn support the state. vows of life-long commitment. While European functionalists originally focused on explaining the inner workings of social order. Functionalists believe that society is held together by social consensus. the children become law-abiding. The government. For example. and work together to achieve. or state.
conflict theorists find social conflict between any groups in which the potential for inequality exists: racial. altruism. They also expanded Marx's idea that the key conflict in society was strictly economic. and so on. 3) The conflict perspective The conflict perspective. The manifest function of attending a church or synagogue. conflict theorists challenge the status quo. and believe rich and powerful people force social order on the poor and the weak. Whereas American sociologists in the 1940s and 1950s generally ignored the conflict perspective in favor of the functionalist. causing them to compete against one another. Conflict theorists note that unequal groups usually have conflicting values and agendas. religious. which originated primarily out of Karl Marx's writings on class struggles. Conflict theorists. while latent functions are unintentional and not obvious. Unlike functionalists who defend the status quo. Critics of the conflict perspective point to its overly negative view of society. A sociological approach in functionalism is the consideration of the relationship between the functions of smaller parts and the functions of the whole. and other positive aspects of society to capitalistic designs to control the masses. Yet this is not necessarily the case for latent functions. avoid social change. conflicted. Today. economic. who divides human functions into two types: manifest functions are intentional and obvious. manifest functions become easily apparent. In this regard social conflict is found everywhere in the society and is considered to be the latest and known perspective of the sociology that was primarily not discussed by sociologists but later Karl Marx gave its concept in detail. the conflict perspective focuses on the negative.6 behavior. gender. and everchanging nature of society. for instance. civil rights. the tumultuous 1960s saw American sociologists gain considerable interest in conflict theory. . for example. not to inherent interests in preserving society and social order. This constant competition between groups forms the basis for the ever-changing nature of society. but its latent function may be to help members learn to discern personal from institutional values. While these latter perspectives focus on the positive aspects of society that contribute to its stability. which often demand a sociological approach to be revealed. The theory ultimately attributes humanitarian efforts. presents society in a different light than do the functionalist and symbolic interactionist perspectives. political. Among these American functionalist sociologists is Robert Merton. and believe people cooperate to effect social order. With common sense. may interpret an ³elite´ board of regents raising tuition to pay for esoteric new programs that raise the prestige of a local college as self-serving rather than as beneficial for students. encourage social change. democracy. is to worship as part of a religious community.