Theoretical Perspectives in Sociology Essay Sample

Sociology is the scientific survey of society and human behaviour. Webster’s Dictionary defines a position as a “view of things in their true relationship or importance” . Therefore. the sociological position provides point of views used to look at human behaviours and interactions as they relate to persons and groups within a society. The sociological position emphasiss that to understand worlds. non what is indoors of them. but alternatively the external factors act uponing them. should be observed. There are several theoretical positions in sociology that are used to understand societal relationships and behaviours. The three theoretical positions discussed here are symbolic interactionism. functional analysis. and conflict theory.

Symbolic interactionism is a microsociological theoretical attack that examines small-scale forms of societal interaction. Interactionists focal point on how worlds use symbols ( marks. gestures. linguistic communication ) to develop positions of the universe. others. and themselves. every bit good as the importance of these symbols in societal interaction and communicating. Interactionists besides believe that worlds use these symbols to specify the ego. by comparing themselves to others and by invariably seting their position of themselves. Interactionists see world as being negotiated based on shared understandings and perceptual experiences about events and therefore world is non dead but alternatively fluid. of all time altering. Besides. symbolic interactionists try to understand how an single feels in order to understand why they act the manner they do.

For illustration. many female babes are killed in India. To understand why they are killed. Interactionists look at what makes people kill them. Raising a miss is really expensive in India. The significance that Indians attach to the birth of a babe miss is that of a load to the household. However. western civilizations tend to believe of every kid as a gift and a approval. no affair what gender. A physician interviewed for a Television docudrama said that she does non describe households that kill their infant misss. because it is a by and large accepted social pattern. A batch of people are hapless and few can afford the cost associated with raising a miss. When acquiring married. the groom’s household is paid a dowery for taking over the duty of the bride. Geting back to the physician. comparing her ain behavior to that of others. she does non happen anything incorrect with non describing those slayings since others do non describe them either. By her ain admittance. nevertheless. if others were to get down describing the slayings of infant misss. she would so set her ain behavior consequently and besides get down to describe the violent deaths. The response to the violent deaths depends on the significance and significance that is attached to that decease. and right now the physician sees it as insignificant and non deserving coverage.

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Functional analysts ( or functionalists ) view society as a whole. a complex system of incorporate. interconnected parts that work together to maintain society balanced. Each portion of society has a certain map that it has to carry through in order to run into the demands of the society in which it exists. therefore functionalists emphasis order and stableness. If a portion of society is in disfunction – intending it does non carry through it’s function. the harmoniousness is interrupted and the system is weakened. Through natural and gradual alteration. equilibrium has to be restored. To understand how society works functionalists analyze how society operates. what needs must be met and how they are satisfied. They besides examine what functions the assorted parts of society fulfill. and what the relationships between those parts are.

Take. for illustration. the female combatant pilot Lt. Col. Martha McSally. who fought for adult females stationed in Arabic states to non hold to have on the traditional caput covering ( abaya ) and the altering functions of adult females in the military. Female and male service members had certain maps. Women frequently worked as nurses or as clerks whereas work forces filled combat places. Each gender had functions assigned and the system worked together in harmoniousness until adult females were allowed to function in places that one time were meant for male service members merely. Through a gradual and natural procedure the functions of work forces and adult females in the armed forces will hold to be redefined until old balance is restored.

Another illustration would be Lt. Gov. Jane Swift of Massachusetts. who was pregnant when she entered office. and the maps of a female parent and a politician. As a female parent society expects her to care for her kids and be at that place when her kids need her. However. in her map as politician. she is expected to to the full plunge herself in State political relations. The maps of female parents and politicians are clearly defined. but. she is film overing the boundaries between the two maps and society ( the system ) has non yet adjusted to the alterations associated with female parents of immature kids in political relations. As more and more female parents with dependent kids are come ining political relations. the system will hold to set to their particular demands. functions will hold to be redefined for balance to be restored.

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Like functional analysis. struggle theory focuses on large-scale forms of society. However. whereas functionalists believe that society is composed of groups that work together. struggle theoreticians believe those groups are in changeless dissension with each other over limited resources. Conflict theoreticians besides believe that societies are invariably altering and that some groups have more power so others and that norms and values of a society are made by those with power in order to maintain those without power “down” . Conflict theoreticians believe that the manner to alter society is to alter its construction and non the persons within that society.

Traveling back to Lt. Gov. Jane Swift. power is seen as a consequence of her societal place and non as a consequence of her character. As a politician she holds certain powers that conflict with those of non-politicians. For illustration. she excused her usage of the province chopper with her place as an of import political figure. Non-politicians disagree with her right to utilize the chopper. as they could non make that.

In India work forces and adult females are in a changeless conflict for scarce resources. In the instance of the infanticides the resources are power every bit good as money. The lone solution to that struggle would be for society to alter its construction by. for illustration. taking doweries as a status of matrimony or taking the demand for expensive ceremonials for girls. Since those with power and money see no demand to alter the current construction. the lone manner the alteration would of all time go on is if hapless Indians stood up and protested current patterns.

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The same is true for the armed forces. The jobs that arose for Lt. Col. McSally while stationed in the Middle East came from inequality in the intervention of male and female service members. As a adult female she was required to have on an abaya when go forthing the base. This caused a job since the abaya covered her from caput to toe and hence her societal location. her rank as Lieutenant Colonel. was no longer seeable to others. Her powers were diminished while male service members. even those of lower rank. did non hold to take or conceal the marks of their societal location within the military society. ensuing in a battle for power.

To sum up the three major theoretical positions described above it can. in most general footings. be said that structural functionalists would concentrate on what is common pattern in a certain society and would besides analyse the map of symbols used to interact and pass on in that society ; whereas symbolic interactionists would seek to find how the persons of a certain society construe their environment or what consequence others have on the development of an persons self image ; and struggle theoreticians would look at power differences between assorted groups of a society. where they come from and what consequence they have on that society.