The Three Major Sociological Perspectives:
Tools for Analyzing Society
Central Assumptions about Society
View of the Individual
Society is a system of interrelated and interdependent parts. Society is naturally balanced and stable.
Each part of society functions to maintain society’s stability. Cultural consensus exists and leads to social order.
Ideology supports the system.
People are shaped by society to perform roles with important functions. Through socialization a cultural consensus is created.
Called “sunshine sociology.”
Supports the status quo and thus inequality.
Doesn’t deal with issues of power and conflict.
Overstates the social consensus in modern diverse societies. Conflict Theory
Competition between groups for resources results in a stratified society. Change is the normal outcome of competition.
Dominant groups oppress and exploit subordinate groups.
Ideology supports the dominant group’s position.
People are shaped by their position in the stratification system. Access to resources is determined by a person’s position in the system. Conflict & Competition
Dominant & Subordinate groups
Owners & workers
Impossible utopian model of equality.
Understates cooperation and ongoing functioning of society.
Society is the product of people creating symbols during interactions. Behavior/Interaction is both the creator of and response to symbols. Ideologies are social constructed symbolic systems.
People are shaped by the meanings they create and the groups to which they belong. Identity is socially constructed.
Too focused on micro issues.
Understates the impact of social structures...
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