3 approaches

Satisfactory Essays
Topics: Sociology
Kyle Stallings
SYG 2000
10/30/13
Three Theoretical Approaches Sociologists today employ three primary theoretical perspectives; the symbolic interactionist perspective, the functionalist perspective, and the conflict perspective. These perspectives offer sociologists theoretical paradigms for explaining how society influences people, and vice versa. Each perspective uniquely conceptualizes society, social forces, and human behavior. The symbolic interactionist perspective uses symbols and face to face contact to interact with each other. Sociologists consider the symbols and details of everyday life, what these symbols mean, and how people interact with each other. George H. Mead was the one who introduced this perspective to us. With the use of this perspective the sociologist is looking for symbols that people attach meaning to, they act according to their subject interpretations of these symbols. The symbolic approach functions on a micro level that way you are just dealing with a few people at one time and not all of society. Critics claim that symbolic interactionism neglects the macro level of social interpretation the “big picture.” The Functionalist perspective looks at each aspect of society is interdependent and contributes to society’s functioning as a whole. This perspective uses a macro level of thinking to determine this. Functionalist believe that society is held together by socials consensus, or cohesion, in which members of the society agree upon, and work together to achieve what is best for society as a whole. Robert Merton was the one who introduced us to this other way of thinking. He divided the human functions into two types, the manifest function and also the latent function. The manifest functions are more intentional and obvious, while on the other hand the latent functions are more unintentional and not obvious. The conflict perspective focuses on the negative, conflicted, and ever‐changing nature of society. This perspective

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