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Theoretical Perspectives Theory – a set of logically interrelated statements that attempts to describe, explain, and (occasionally) predict social events.

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Presentation on theme: "Theoretical Perspectives Theory – a set of logically interrelated statements that attempts to describe, explain, and (occasionally) predict social events."— Presentation transcript:

1 Theoretical Perspectives Theory – a set of logically interrelated statements that attempts to describe, explain, and (occasionally) predict social events Perspective – an overall approach to or viewpoint on some subject Theoretical Perspective – a basic way of viewing society that guides thinking and research

2 Theoretical Perspectives How contemporary sociologists view society & social issues Each of several views represents a method of examining the same phenomena Based on general ideas as to how social life is organized Each theory helps interpret reality in a distinct way by providing a framework, in which observations may be logically ordered

3 5 Main Perspectives Functionalist Conflict Theorist Feminist Symbolic Interactionist Postmodernist

4 Micro VS Macro Level Analysis Macro Examines whole societies, large scale social structures and institutions Micro A close-up focus on social interaction in social situations

5 Functionalist Based on the assumption that society is a stable, orderly, system The majority of members in that system share a common set of values, beliefs, and behavioural expectations

6 Functionalist… Society is composed of interrelated parts, which each serve a function, and (ideally) contribute to the overall social stability If any one part (institution, group) breaks down, all other parts are affected and the system no longer functions properly

7 Functionalist Perspective on Suicide If a group feels alientated, in that it doesn’t share the same values and belief systems as it’s society, it does not feel that it is a connected, necessary, functioning part of society The lack of social solidarity and interaction can feel overwhelming and lead to suicide Or… if society is not functioning well due to the collapse of one of it’s parts (or institutions, etc), all members are affected. Some may be unhinged by the lack of stability

8 Conflict Theorist Believes that groups in society are engaged in continuous power struggles for control of limited resources Those in positions of authority benefit from conformity of others, while conformists feel resentment and resist

9 Conflict Theorist… Mills’ concluded that most important decisions are made by those in power and he encouraged sociologists to get involved in social reform to unearth the resources and power inequalities that exist in society He believed it was not possible to be “value-free” ***Sociological Paradigms: Conflict TheorySociological Paradigms: Conflict Theory

10 Conflict Theorist on Suicide (P. 25) In a capitalist society that prides high economic success, those youth coming from low-income families with few educational prospects are more likely to commit suicide Social inequality and racial discrimination are other forms of social oppression that influence suicide rates

11 New Zealand Seeks Causes of Suicides by Young Read Article in Pairs Is this article written from the Functionalist or Conflict Theorist perspective? Write point-form evidence to explain how you know which theoretical perspective it represents

12 New Zealand Seeks Causes of Suicides by Young Predominantly Conflict Theory – NZ prides masculinity & those less macho males feel alienated & powerless Also notes of Functionalism – families aren’t performing their roles (raising children properly), role of psychiatrists are reduced (1/10000)

13 Resources http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QoEuHwkbhYM&list =PLk6dqR8uV1jJ4kJV_CstfIQHYNPSuNKIt&index=4 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QoEuHwkbhYM&list =PLk6dqR8uV1jJ4kJV_CstfIQHYNPSuNKIt&index=4

14 Feminist Theory Feminist Perspectives focus on the significance of gender in understanding and explaining inequalities that exists between men and women in society (both public & private) Feminists believe that past theoretical perspectives did not acknowledge the experiences of women They claim that sociological methods, concepts, and analyses were products of the “male social universe”

15 Feminist Theory “women and men are equal and should be equally valued as well as have equal rights” Gender roles are socially created, rather than determined by one’s biological inheritance Change is essential in order for humans to achieve their human potential without limits based on gender Women’s subordination can end only after the patriarchcal system of male dominance is replaced with a more egalitarian system”

16 Symbolic Interactionism People can only be understood as individuals and the symbolic importance they attach to their interactions with others People create a world of shared meaning through their interactions People act based on symbolic meanings they find within a given situation The meaning that we assign to an action or a statement is how we, in turn, react to people We build relations based on how we interpreted the meanings of our interactions with other people Society is a product of the everyday interactions of individuals

17 Symbols… Anything that carries a particular meaning recognized by people who share a culture

18 Symbolic Interactionism Therefore: How we interpret messages, statements, and symbols is important we can interpret these messages in different ways i.e. the handshake, eye contact, A-OK symbol, hello kiss, holding hands

19 Symbolic Interactionism Language gives us a means by which to find meaning through symbols When someone speaks to you, you immediately start thinking about the different points of view, or meanings their words could have When you settle on the assumed, common meaning, you reply appropriately

20 Symbolic Interactionism Sometimes, when we speak different languages, or come from different cultural backgrounds... We apply different meanings to a statement or action This, in turn, affects our relations with that person These relations combine to make up society and the way it works through interaction and interpretation of symbols ***Summary of Interactionism & Labelling Theory***

21 Postmodernism Societies are characterized by an information explosion by post industrialization i.e. large numbers of people in service jobs Rise of consumerist society Increased global communication = increased knowledge Role of media has a huge influence on people

22 Postmodernism Past theoretical perspectives have not been successful in explaining social issues They have ignored the influence that mass media, consumerism and global communication has on us ***Sociology – Postmodernism – ipodology***

23 Theoretical Perspectives Overview

24 Japan’s Suicide Clubs

25 Bowtie Assignment

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27 How does each try to explain it?

28 Bowtie Assignment Psychologist Individual – how would a person feel if information was taken from them Sociologist How would a group change their use of phones? Would users be on edge? Anthropologist How has tech changed the generations or a group? Conflict: Why is the information available? Who would benefit? Shift in consumer markets? Feminist: Are women impacted mainly or exclusively? Can people use their information or pics in a exploitive way? Interactionalist: Why Apple? Does this affect interaction with people and their phones? Post Modern: Is there an advantage to Samsung or Andriod? Functionalists: Is the breech going to change who is using phones? Will people buy new phones? I Phone Info I Phone Info What questions are asked?

29 Bowtie Assignment Youth Crime

30 Bowtie Assignment Domestic Violence


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