Sociology Interpretivism versus structuralism

Topics: Sociology / Pages: 5 (1791 words) / Published: Mar 2nd, 2015
Sociology Holiday Homework
3. Asses the view that interpretive theories are more relevant than structural theories for understanding modern societies
Interpretivist sociologists may be more relevant for understanding the workings of modern societies, which propagate individualism and freedom of choice more than societies before. Other schools of thought, namely structuralism, disagree and challenge this view by stating that their own theories are still significant and criticising interpretivism.
The interpretivist theory takes a contrasting stance to structuralists on looking at society. Interpretive or social action perspectives examine smaller groups within society and unlike structuralism, are concerned with the subjective states of individuals. Symbolic interactionism, a branch of interpretivist sociology, emphasizes the importance of individual roles that contribute to human interaction. The goal of interpretive sociology is to understand the meaning behind actions in a social context through a consideration of a subject's unique point of view; in addition, how an individual’s action affects society as a whole. Unlike structuralism, it ascertains that an individual has free will and is not just controlled by a society from which it is separate. This is a view point that no other theories take into account and for this reason, it is possible for us to say that interpretivism has more relevance in modern society than structuralist theories.
The interpretive theory was partly based in response to the criticisms of structural theories. Interpretivists accuse structuralists of being too deterministic; they suggested that human action only occurred as a result of society and its structures. Interpretivists disagreed with this, preferring to believe that human actions occurred out of the free will of the individual; the idea that one thing does not determine another. Structuralism also generally disregarded the importance of individual actions and interpretations on

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