Connecting Sociological Theory and Social Issues
Culture & Society – Section A
Instructor: Professor Vroeginday
September 14, 2012
According to Schaefer (2011) “Sociology is the scientific study of social behavior and human groups” (p. 3). In using a scientific method to look at social behaviors sociologists can gain insight into why people behave in certain ways, and how those behaviors affect society as a whole. Throughout history there has been an interest in learning about human behavior. This study of human behavior eventually became known as Sociology. At different times in history different approaches to studying human behavior developed. These approaches are the functionalist perspective, the conflict perspective and the interactionist perspective.
The functionalist perspective as described by Schaefer (2011) “Emphasizes the way in which the parts of a society are structured to maintain its stability” (p. 18). How would a functionalist look at divorce’s role in society? What role does divorce play in maintaining stability? Divorce may be viewed as a dysfunction of society that has led to a change in societal views. A functionalist could see divorce as a breakdown of the nuclear traditional family unit that has led to instability in society. However, this may not be the case. Granted the rate of divorce has caused a great change in what is considered the traditional nuclear family. But is this change bad? Perhaps divorce has allowed people to choose different types of nuclear families that actually function better in society. With divorce becoming so common place in society the stigma of not being a part of a traditional nuclear family has lifted. Same sex couples and singles are now allowed to adopt children. This is a benefit to society because children who may otherwise have grown up without a family at all now have the option of being raised with a loving...
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