Theoretical Approaches in Sociology

Topics: Sociology, Max Weber, Social stratification Pages: 3 (964 words) Published: June 18, 2012

This paper describes the three major approaches that sociologists use to explain social behavior which are the Structural Functional Approach, Social Conflict Approach and Symbolic- Interaction Approach.

Theoretical Approaches in Sociology
The study of Sociology is the study of human society. An important part of society is a theory which is a statement of how facts are related. The whole point of a theory is to explain some sort of social behavior. Sociologists use three main theoretical approaches to help them understand and prove their theories. A theoretical approach is a basic image of society that guides sociologists thinking and research. The three major theoretical approaches are the Structural Functional Approach, the Social-Conflict Approach and the Symbolic-Interaction Approach.

The Structural Functional Approach studies social structures, which are patterns of behavior that people tend to follow. Some of these patterns are religious rituals, class structure, political views and educational views. This approach looks at our society as a system that works together to keep things stable and normal. Social Functions, which are how a social structure affects society is also import to the Structural- Functional Approach. Each way that we interact with someone from a hit to a hug is what keeps society functioning as a whole. There are two types of functions, the first being the manifest and the second latent. A manifest function is something that you recognize and know/accept the consequences of the action. While a latent function is an action that you don’t recognize or realize the consequences. We have Auguste Comte, Emile Durkheim, Herbert Spencer and Robert K. Merton to thank for this approach. Auguste Comte can be considered the “father” of sociology because he coined the term in 1838. Comte realized the need to understand society to keep it unified....

References: Macionis, John. (2010,2009,2008). Sociology. Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education Inc.
publishing as Prentice Hall.
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