Sociological Paradigms

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Sociology Midterm Paper
Throughout life, we have different images and perspectives. How these perspectives are formed vary from person to person and depend on our experiences in life. We view life through paradigms. A paradigm is defined as a basic image of society that generates a theory and research. A theory would be defined as a statement that attempts to explain the relationship between two facts. As in any field, there are certain ways that things are looked at, or certain paradigms. In sociology, there are three paradigms: the conflict paradigm, the structural functionalist paradigm and the symbolic interaction paradigm. Throughout this paper, I will be discussing each paradigm in depth and applying it to the on growing issue we have in American society: immigration.

Sociology emerged in western Europe during the 18th century during an era called the Enlightenment era. At this time, people were having a complete change in paradigms. During the Enlightenment period, people discarded the religious way of looking at things and started using more reasoning and sciences. These changes in paradigms led to many changes in society as well. Examples would be in the French and American societies. The French had three social classes. They were the aristocracy, the middle class and everyone else on the bottom. The aristocracy consisted of the top, elite landowners. Anyone who was a part of the church, military or a ruler, was considered an aristocrat. These people had the right to vote because they had land. Land signified power at this time. The French middle class were the merchants and professionals. Even though the power of the middle class was growing, they still did not have the right to vote. And lastly, on the bottom of the French hierarchal society were the peasants and artisans. They didn’t have the right to vote either. Even though in the United States there was no hierarchal society by social class, the vote was very limited as well. Only white...
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