Sociological Perspectives

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“If one is led to see oneself as a certain type of person? Does the availability of a classification, a label, a word or a phrase, Open certain possibilities, or perhaps close off others?” (Hacking 2004: 285)

What this line of questioning opens up is the possibility that who we (and others) are is an effect of what we know ourselves (and others) to be. Hence sociological perspective helps us gain a better understanding of ourselves and our social world.  It enables us to see how behaviour is largely shaped by the groups to which we associate with and the society in which we live that exists. Thus when we talk about “society” or “the social world” as if it were something real and alive, what we are actually referring to is our particular perception of the range and scope of the relationship that exists, for example in our society we can look at a scantly clad dirty individual and assume by first perception that they are a “coke head” or a “bum” when if someone else with a different perspective would see them as one who may be home less or an orphan, how does one tell if they are objective or not? Peter Berger argued that, “Things are not what they seem” it promotes understanding and tolerance by enabling each of us to look beyond our personal experiences. Social perspective allows us to get beyond myths as guides to social reality.  Myths are popular, but false notions that may be used, either intentionally or unintentionally, to perpetuate certain beliefs or theories, even in the light of conclusive evidence to the contrary. In this way, sociology may be viewed as a humanistic discipline, dedicated to improving the human condition. 


Major Sociological Perspectives
|Perspective |Analysis Level |Nature of Society | |Functionalist |Macrolevel |Society is composed of interrelated parts that work together to maintain stability within | | | |society.  This stability is threatened by dysfunctional acts and institutions. | |Conflict |Macrolevel |Society is characterized by social inequality; social life is a struggle for scarce resources.  | | | |Social arrangements benefit some groups at the expense of others. | |Feminist |Macro/Micro |Society is based on patriarchy – a hierarchical system of power in which males possess greater | | | |economic social privilege than females. | |Symbolic Interactionist |Microlevel |Society is the sum of the interactions of people and groups.  Behaviour is learned in | | | |interaction with other people; how people define a situation becomes the foundation for how they| | | |behave. | |Postmodernist |Macro/Micro |Societies characterized by post industrialization, consumerism, and global communications bring | | | |into question existing assumptions about social life and the nature of reality. |

We are controlled by sociological perspectives in that all societies that exsit have set rules and boundaries and once we step out of these considered norms we are seen as out cast we are suffocated and condemned by society, point in case in our Jamaican society if one has homosexual tendencies they are condemned by most facets, the church, in our existing government, the business environment their peers etc. With this being said this individual in forced to live in seclusion and fear....
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