Connecting Sociological Theory and Social Issues

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Running Head: Connecting Sociological Theory and Social Issues

Connecting Sociological Theory and Social Issues

The topic of choice is the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the United States and around the world. HIV/AIDS has been a main concern for the world since its emergence in the 1980’s. “The prevalence of HIV/AIDS in the United States through 2009 was about 1 million cases. Worldwide, the prevalence of HIV/AIDS varies from less than 0.1 percent to 15–28 percent of a country’s population”. (Schaefer 394)

This essay will explore the three major socialization perspectives on this issue; the interactionist perspective, the conflict perspective, and the functionalist perspective. Each perspective will give a greater insight on how society reasons.

The functionalist perspective is described as “a sociological approach that emphasizes the way in which the parts of a society are structured to maintain its stability”. (Schaefer 440) On the topic of HIV/AIDS, a functionalist will most likely focus on how this issue has affected health care for those infected with the disease. Without proper healthcare, there will be a sociological imbalance. So in order to bring back balance and stability, other alternatives have to be established. A functionalist will emphasize that “if established social institutions cannot meet a crucial need, new social networks are likely to emerge to perform that function. In the case of AIDS, self-help groups have organized, especially in the gay communities of major cities, to care for the sick, educate the healthy, and lobby for more responsive public policies”. (Schaefer 395)

On the other hand, the conflict perspective is focused on the tension that comes about with the HIV/AIDS epidemic. For a long time AIDS was seen as a homosexual, drug user, African American disease. From the conflict viewpoint this could be a reason why the government did not respond as quickly as they should have. “Studies show that African Americans and...
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