Intro to Sociology- A Brief Introduction
Mr. Jeff Riddle
April 29th, 2009
There are three major theories that depict how sociologists view the world. The theories are functionalist, conflict, and interaction theory. Each of these has its own viewpoints of how people affect society, and how society affects the people. Each theory has its own group of sociologist to go with it. The theory that a sociologist picks to back has an effect on how they do research and how they look at problems. (Schaefer) The first theory is Structural Functional Theory, or functionalism. Functionalism is one of the oldest theories, and is still used today. In functionalism society is made up of different parts, and these parts work together to keep the society stable. Functionalism relies very much on the scientific method. By relying on the scientific method, the study of sociology can be observed in the same way one would view the physical world. (McClelland) In functionalism, change is said to happen when pressure is put on individuals by social structures. This is what is known as a macro theory. Macro theories work from the society downward, the society forces the people to change, not the people change society. The next theory is conflict theory. In opposition to functionalism, when society exists in a state of balance and stability, conflict theory says that society is better described as existing in a state of constant struggle and conflict between two groups. Conflict theory has been growing it popularity since the late 1960s. Many social and economical problems such as, civil rights movements, and political battles, have given prime examples of the conflict between the two groups, reinforcing conflict theory. Marx says there is a constant struggle between the haves, and the have-nots. In a capitalistic society, groups interact in a destructive way. (Schaefer) They do this by the more powerful group exploiting the...