This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Introduction To Sociological Perspectives Essay

1985 words - 8 pages

The Sociological Perspective


The sociological perspective is defined by three philosophical traditions (or "paradigms"): structure-functionalism, Marxism, and symbolic interactionism. Structure-functionalism focuses on how society is organized and how social institutions meet the needs of people living within a collectivity. The Marxian paradigm guides inquiries into the use and misuse of power within and across social systems. Symbolic interactionism focuses on how individuals influence and are influenced by society. It guides investigations into how the rules of society are re-created everyday through our interactions with one another.

The following introduction to ...view middle of the document...

This approach as proved to be very successful and is the predominant philosophy guiding macro-level sociology today.

Structure-functionalism arose in part as a reaction to the limitations of utilitarian philosophy, where people were viewed as strictly rational, calculating entrepreneurs in a free, open, unregulated, and competitive marketplace. The tenet of functionalism, and the fundamental building block of all sociology, is that people behave differently in groups than they do as individuals. Groups have "lives of their own," so to speak. Or, as you might hear from a sociologist, "the whole is greater than the sum of its parts." Anyway, the point is, that just as the "invisible hand of order" can guide economic relations, "social forces" can guide social relations, and thus yield for society very positive outcomes (volunteerism, democracy, laws, moral and ethical standards for behavior, family and educational systems, communities) and very negative outcomes (discrimination, organized crime, moral decay, warfare, poverty).

The idea of the functionalists was to create a science of society that could examine the parts of human social systems and make them work for the betterment of all. And it is the task of sociologists to use scientific principles to help create the best form of society possible.

Listed below are the central tenets of the functionalist approach to understanding human social systems. We will use these tenets throughout this course to gain a functionalist perspective on social issues facing rural America today.

1. Society as a system of interrelated parts functioning for the good of the whole.

Keep in mind that functionalism is always oriented toward what is good for the whole. As we examine different philosophical foundations of sociology, we will note the advantages and disadvantages of this perspective.

2. All social systems have four key functions: Adaptation, Goal-Attainment, Integration, Latency.

These functional imperatives roughly correspond to the five institutions of human societies (economics, politics, family/education, and religion). By understanding which functional imperative is most closely related to current issues of rural America, we can understand the importance of the issue and its likely impact on the well-being of rural America.

3. Social action takes place within a social system of cultural norms and institutional structures.

In Sociology 130, we will use structure-functionalism primarily as a guide for understanding macro-level (societal) issues. And, although structure-functionalism is well equipped to analyze and understand societal conflict, we will use it mainly for understanding how social order is possible.


Although Karl Marx's idea of a communist utopian society failed due to an inadequate understanding of human motivation and organization, his identification of potential problems with human social systems still is a crucial...

Other Essays Like Introduction to Sociological Perspectives

Sociology Essay

1347 words - 6 pages Compare and contrast the functionalist, conflict, and interactionist theoretical approaches to the study of society. How does each approach view society, the individual, social order, and social change? Your textbook analyzes sports in terms of various perspectives. Using the analysis of sports as a model, analyze the role of television from the functional, conflict, and interactionist approaches. Sociologists analyze social phenomena at

Foundations of Human Development in the Social Environment

954 words - 4 pages and the illness is a present problem. The anxiety will cause the person to isolate themselves from others and affect the sociological dimension. Mood swings may occur and affect normal habits such as eating or sleeping which will eventually start to affect the client’s biological dimension (Chapter 1). Overall, the biological dimension consists of issues with weight loss and physical problems with a person’s health. With the biological issues

Sociological Theories & Education

1597 words - 7 pages Sociological Theories & Education Introduction to Sociology: SOC 101 Sociological Theories & Education Education is a social institution that has become a very import part of everyone’s life. It is a rite of passage for most individuals to pass through before they enter into the “real world”. In today’s society, without a proper education, there are many opportunities that would be missed, or unavailable, to those that make the

Sociology Intro

659 words - 3 pages . (Rich, poor, genders, executives, and faculty. • Sociological perspectives can show us patterns -of clothes people decide to wear. • By examining patterns scientifically we can predict human behavior and understand how society guides and shapes our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. : People’s attitudes and behaviors in the contexts of social forces and institutional arrangements that shape men. C.Mills Wright sociologist developed this

P1- Explain the Principle Sociological Perspectives

1234 words - 5 pages sociological perspectives which provide different models of society. Functionalism Functionalism looks at social structures and the role they have in society. They believe that each social structure is essential for interests of society. For example, a flower has many parts, each part is essential to its wellbeing, without the vital parts the flower will not survive. Functionalism considers that humans and societies have basic needs, and

Remedies to Human Rights Violations

2285 words - 10 pages beliefs and belong to a family of known terrorists, they might learn terrorist behavior from being around that person. In addition to theories, certain perspectives attempt to explain terrorist personalities. Sociological perspectives identify external factors that contribute to the offenders’ criminal behavior and are easier to control than psychological factors. External factors include social groups and location, culture, family

Implementing Strategies for the Diversification of Schools: an Analysis of Media and Sociological Reports

1993 words - 8 pages Implementing Strategies for the Diversification of Schools: An analysis of media and sociological reports Canadian schools, particularly in urban centres, are increasingly becoming more diversified. Immigration is affecting change in the racial and ethnic composition of the student population. According to a recent demographic survey, 52 percent of the students in the Toronto District School Board identified themselves as a racial minority

Unit 2 Project: Differentiate Criminal Behavior

589 words - 3 pages Class: CJ233: Introduction to Forensic Psychology Unit 2 Project: Differentiate Criminal Behavior Kaplan University July 17, 2011 Talking about crime and the role of a forensic psychologist in order to understand crime, and the various theoretical theories to describe, track, and understand the different criminal behaviors, we can forget some of the pioneers of the nineteenth-century, Charles Goring (1870-1919), Gabriel

Immigration Analyzed Sociologically

799 words - 4 pages the article, it seems as if the writer is purposely avoiding social analysis of the topic on immigration. The author does not address the sociological aspects of the topic. This is because the article mostly focuses on the informative aspects of illegal immigration and the perspectives of the citizens who feel that they are being directly affect by the problem. Although immigration and the affects of it are easily discussed sociologically

Racism and Ethnicity in Kenya

784 words - 4 pages explaining the existence of racism, particular institutional racism. The three major sociological perspectives (functionalist theory, symbolic interaction theory, and conflict theory) each have their own explanations to the existence of racism. Functionalist theorists argue that in order for race and ethnic relations to be functional and contribute to the harmonious conduct and stability of society, racial and ethnic minorities must assimilate into that

Social Analysis in Using Slogans on Clothing

2181 words - 9 pages of stating their view. Many members of society are demanding that these slogans are taken off the market, and deem these slogans as inappropriate for children’s clothing and society. The following essay looks at these slogans from two different sociology perspectives. Cliffnotes states, “a goal of sociological research is to discover the similarities, differences, patterns, and trends of a given population” (Cliffnotes,” n.d., p. 1). One of

Related Papers

Sociological, Theoretical Perspectives 1 Essay

635 words - 3 pages in micro level to get insight of the macro observation. Interactionists see symbol as an especially important part of human communication. Interactionist perspective use symbols, non-verbal communication and face to face interaction between individuals. Interactionist view poverty by the kind of clothing one is wearing, the place of living and the environment. In conclusion, poverty can be evaluated in different perspectives depending on individuals view or sociological theories. References Schaefer, R. T., Sociology: A brief introduction (2009) Mc Graw – Hill 9th edition.

Sociology Beliefs In Society Exam Questions

978 words - 4 pages contemporary society. (40) Sample A2 paper (Issued May 2000) • Evaluate the view that religion acts as a conservative force in modern society (40) Jun 2001 “The main function of religion is to provide people with a code of behaviour which regulates personal and social life.” Assess the extent to which sociological arguments and evidence support this view of religion in modern society (40) January 2002 Assess and evaluate the

Health & Social Care Essay

803 words - 4 pages This essay will be explaining how social construction affect our health and the importance of the different types of illnesses and how health and illnesses and disabilities are defined from a sociological perspective, some examples of some of the different types of social issues that can give to ill-health, social and also emotional difficulties. There are three major sociological perspective which as the symbolic interactionist perspective

Environmental Psychology Essay

924 words - 4 pages evolutionary and behavioral. The following is an introduction to environmental psychology, a description of evolutionary and behavioral perspectives and their application in environmental psychology, as well as an examination of the importance of research in environmental psychology. Environmental psychology is a psychological discipline that examines the relationship between human behavior and the environment. Historically, environmental psychology