A) Compare and contrast the functionalist, conflict, and interactionist theoretical approaches to the study of society. How does each approach view society, the individual, social order, and social change? Your textbook analyzes sports in terms of various perspectives. Using the analysis of sports as a model, analyze the role of television from the functional, conflict, and interactionist approaches. The approach one takes to study a particular subject is called a perspective. There are many subjects to be studied and discussed in the field of Sociology. Perspectives name different ways in which different people choose to analyze a subject, and how they look at a society as a whole. The three different perspectives are the functionalist, conflict, and interactionist perspectives (Schaefer, R. T. 1997).
The functionalist perspective looks at a society in a positive manner and sees it as stable, with all the parts working together and views it on the macro-sociological level. Under the functionalist view every social aspect of a society contributes to the society's survival. The macro-sociological level means that a society is studied on a large scale as a whole. The view of the individual in a functionalist perspective is that people are socially molded, not forced, to perform societal functions. Order is maintained when members of a society cooperate with one another. Functionalists view social change as being predictable and positive. The main idea of functionalist perspective is that of stability. When approaching a subject with the functionalist perspective, manifest and latent functions as well as dysfunctions are investigated. A manifest function of an institution is one that is stated and expected. A latent function is one that is unexpected or can show a hidden purpose of an institution, and a dysfunction is a component of a society that can cause instability. All of these are used in analyzing a society in the functionalist perspective (Schaefer, R. T. 1997). Reality TV is the best genre to coincide with all three perspectives of Sociology. The viewers see the new fashions and technology, and hear the latest slang of the participants. This keeps viewers right in step with our ever changing society and puts money in the pockets of those placing their products on the program, thus, continuing to turn the economical wheel. Another function is that strangers that previously may have had nothing in common, can now seemingly carry on conversations as if longtime friends because they both view the same show. One latent dysfunction of reality TV is that a person may perceive one of the characters to be more “real” than they actually are, which could lead them too attempt to emulate some of the outrageous actions of the characters on the program. Others making the same mistake can develop unhealthy views of their own bodies, and do radical things like extreme dieting and permanent body modifications because some reality TV shows portray those actions as a norm. This could be latent or manifest depending on the intentions of the producers and advertisers.
In contrast, conflict sociologists see a society as being in constant struggle. The conflict perspective sees society as being full of struggle or tension and assumes that social behavior is best understood in terms of conflict between people. The conflict perspective analyzes society on the macro-sociological level just like the functionalists. As for the individual, they are perceived as being shaped by power and authority. Social order is viewed as being maintained not through cooperation, but through force. While social change is constantly taking place, the conflict perspective's main idea is that there is always conflict of some kind, because competing interests between groups and social inequality will constantly exist (Schaefer, R. T. 1997).
Competition is the focus of conflict theory, which provides for some of the most entertaining aspects of reality...
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