THE THREE MAJOR SOCIOLOGICAL THEORIES
As a science that is concerned with the systematic study of human society,
sociology has three major theories for its backbone:
structural-functional, social-conflict and symbolic-interaction.
THE STRUCTURAL-FUNCTIONAL APPROACH
Is a framework for building theory that sees societies as a complex social
organism. August Comte who is considered the father of sociology held the
view that society’s social structure help to promote solidarity and stability.
Functional theorists are concerned with how patterns of behavior help
Societies function. It was also Comte’s idea that sociological investigations
should be carried out scientifically - an approach known as positivism.
Emile Durkheim work advanced the structural-functional theory by viewing
society as built on social facts, or patterned ways of acting and thinking.
According to Robert Merton, some of these social patterns have intended
consequencies – manifest function; while the purpose of other behaviors are
not obvious – latent functions
THE SOCIAL-CONFLICT APPROACH
Conflict theorists view human society as an arena of inequalities that breed
conflicts and changes. They are concerned about how social class, race, gender and sexual orientation affect society’s distribution of wealth, power
and prestige. While structural-functional approach is concerned with how a
social structure promotes stability within a society, the social-conflict
approach focuses on the social struggle between the dominant and the
disadvantaged groups within a society - an analysis that Herbert Spencer
referred to as Social Darwinism. He likened the society to the human body
with different organs necessary for survival.
For conflict theorists like Carl Max, the twentieth was a very important
century, in terms of sociological events.
His socio - economic ideas were adopted by the Bolsheviks who won...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document