Sociology 101 Short Answer

Topics: Sociology, Symbolic interactionism, Gang Pages: 4 (1432 words) Published: June 1, 2013
Describe the major points and key concepts of each framework:symbolic interactionism, functional analysis, or conflict theory. List one sociologist who is identified with each one.

Symbolic interactionism is defined by Henslin (2013) as “symbols-things to which we attach meaning-are the key to understanding how we view the world and communicate with one another”(p. 16). A key point of this framework is that our social life is based on how we define our relationships and ourselves (Henslin, 2013). To understand this theory, you really need to get an in-depth view on what defines a symbol and realize that without them nothing would exist except humans breeding like animals. For example, the word “slut” is used in our society to symbolize women who are sexually promiscuous. Compared to the word “nun”, which symbolizes a woman who is holier-than-thou and pure. Even though the two comparisons are both female, society treats both of them entirely different as “each symbol requires rather different behavior”(Henslin, 2013, p. 16). One of the prime founders of social interactionism is George Herbert Mead (1863-1931), whose students accumulated his lectures into the book, Mind, Self, and Society (Henslin, 2013).

Henslin (2013) gives us, “the central idea of functional analysis is that society is a whole unit, made up of interrelated parts that work together”(p. 17). While there were many different analogies made from famous sociologists that helped to explain this theory, Robert Merton (1910-2013) used terms such as “functions” and “dysfunctions” to describe this theory. (Henslin, 2013). Functions was used to specify the consequences that benefit from people’s actions (Henslin, 2013). Thus, functions assist keeping the group it is applied to equalized. (Henslin, 2013). In opposition, dysfunctions are the adverse consequences of people’s actions (Henslin, 2013). An example of functional analysis is that fast food restaurants were introduced in the United States to...
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