Professor Baffour Takyi
Intro to Sociology T/TH 10:45
September 5, 2013
Theoretical Perspectives in Sociology
There are three main theoretical perspectives in sociology. The functionalism and conflict theories are macro theories or the "big picture" of a society, while the symbolic interaction theory is a micro theory that focuses on small group actions in a society.
The functionalism theory was based off the ideas of Emile Durkheim, a French intellectual who was concerned with social order and moral behavior. Functionalism questions whether or not current systems meet the needs of society. Durkheim and others who support to functionalism theory believe that society is relatable to a human body, there are many organs that work as a whole to keep the body going, if one fails the body suffers. This is the same for society, every part has a specific function and everything is interconnected, we need stability in society because if a function fails then the society as whole fails. The types of functions in a society are manifest, latent and dysfunction. Manifests are positive functions that are intended to better society, latent functions are also positive but are unintended, and dysfunctions are negative and gives society reason to change in order to make life better. The problems with functionalism are that it doesn't explain change, doesn't make everything equal and it assumes that all conflict is bad for society when it can actually lead to greater stability.
The conflict theory is based off of Karl Marx's ideas. This theory focuses on society being in a constant struggle and focuses on inequality. Society is always fighting over scarce resources in society like economics, power and status. There's always bias in our social system that creates unfair treatment or inequality like white vs. black, men vs. women and rich vs. poor. These constant struggles create conflicts that will lead to change and hopefully positively affect...
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