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The Sociological Perspectives The Structural/Functional Perspective The Conflict Perspective Symbolic/Interactionist Perspective.

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Presentation on theme: "The Sociological Perspectives The Structural/Functional Perspective The Conflict Perspective Symbolic/Interactionist Perspective."— Presentation transcript:


2 The Sociological Perspectives The Structural/Functional Perspective The Conflict Perspective Symbolic/Interactionist Perspective

3 Society is viewed as a complex system of parts (structures) that interact to perform various necessary functions Shared values, norms, attitudes and beliefs (consensus) Change is generally viewed as disruptive and gradual Macrosociology Structural - Functional

4 Conflict Theory Views society as a struggle for resources and power Change is inevitable, often beneficial and can be violent Conflict between the classes determines social change Some groups prosper at the expense of others Conflict is universal; social consensus is limited and inequality is widespread Macrosociology

5 Symbolic Interactionism Studies society through interactions within individual and small groups Interaction between individuals is negotiated through shared symbols, gestures and nonverbal communications Humans are social animals and require interaction Asks the questions” “How do individuals experience one another?” “How do they interpret the meaning of these interactions?” and “How do people construct a sense of self and the society as a whole?” Microsociology

6 Famous Theorists (you should know)

7 Auguste Comte (French)(1798-1857) Coined the term “sociology” Believed society could be studied like any other science Key concepts: positivism, sociology the “queen” of sciences, social engineering

8 Harriet Martineau English (1802-1876) Translated A. Comte’s work into English Concerned with social change and the plight of women and children in English factories during the early phases of industrialization First acknowledged female sociologist Examined emerging American society (c 1834)

9 Émile Durkheim (French) (1858-1917) Founded sociology as an academic discipline Famous for his study on suicides (1897) Use of statistics in sociology Key concepts: social facts, social structure social solidarity, collective conscience, mechanical and organic solidarity, anomie Structural/functionalist theorist

10 Karl Marx (German) (1818-1883) Founder of political / economic theory of socialism (communism) Considered the founder of the conflict perspective Wrote the Communist Manifesto and co wrote Das Kapital (with Friedrich Engels) Key concepts: proletariat, bourgeoisie, capitalists, social class, dialectics (thesis, antithesis, synthesis)

11 Max Weber (German) (1864-1920) Believed that sociologist could never capture the reality of society but should focus on ideal types that best capture the essential features of aspects of social reality Key concepts: bureaucracy, verstehen, rationalization of the modern world, people are becoming prisoners of new technology, loss of individuality

12 Herbert Spencer (English) (1820-1903) Structural/Functionalist Coined the term “survival of the fittest” in reference to human social arrangements (Social Darwinism) Advocated against social reform efforts to poor people because it disrupts the natural selection process of evolution

13 Jane Addams (American) (1880-1935) Won the first Nobel Peace Prize (1931) given to an American sociologist Founded Hull House for the poor in Chicago Influenced the “Chicago School” of applied sociology (social problems) Pioneered the study of social problems


15 W. E. B. DuBois (American) (1868-1963) First Afro-American PhD graduate of Harvard University Concerned with the social position of African-Americans in US society. Wrote The Philadelphia Negro (1899) on race relations Used statistics to examine racial discrimination against blacks

16 Talcott Parsons (American) (1902-1979) Reintroduced the theories of European sociologists while teaching at Harvard University Structural/Functionalist Abstract “ivory tower” theoretician Emphasis on empirical research--not social reform

17 C. Wright Mills (American) (1916-1962) Taught at Columbia University Marxist, structural/functionalist theorist Key concepts: power elite, radical social change, social injustices, applied sociology, the “sociological imagination”

18 Robert K. Merton (American) (1910-2002) Taught at Columbia University Sought to bridge the European “grand” theories and a more focused research style Structural/Functionalist Key concepts: manifest & latent functions, “Strain Theory” of deviance, dysfunctions

19 George Herbert Mead (American) (1863-1961) Symbolic/Interactionist theorist Believed that the self was a social product acquired by observing and assimilating the identities of others Key concepts: “I” & “me”, significant other, generalized other, role taking, preparatory stage, play stage, game stage

20 Charles Horton Cooley (American) (1864-1929) Symbolic interactionist theorist We develop a sense of who we are in society based upon interaction with others and how we feel others perceive us The “Looking Glass Self”

21 Erving Goffman (American) (1922-1982) Symbolic interactionist theorist Believed we play roles and present a “face” for public view Key concepts: dramaturgical approach, frontstage & backstage selves, presentation of self

22 Sigmund Freud (German)(1856-1939) Psychoanalyst Key concepts: unconscious, id, ego, superego, psycho-sexual stages, psychoanalysis, ego defense mechanisms, free association. dream interpretation, seduction theory, libido, libidinal energy

23 Erik Erikson (German/American)(1902-1994) Psychologist Eight Stages of Man (Psycho-social stages) Focused on ego conflict through the life span and how they are resolved

24 Lawrence Kohlberg (American)(1927-1988) Psychologist Expanded Piaget’s theory of moral development in children Key concepts: Stages of Moral Development, the “Heinz scenario”

25 Carol Gilligan (American) (1936- ) Social psychologist: former student of Lawrence Kohlberg Took a feminist perspective to moral reasoning, author of In a Different Voice, which proposes that males and females have different moral reasoning Key concepts: caring perspective (females); justice & law (males)

26 Albert Bandura (American) (1925- ) Social (cognitive) psychologist, performed classic study of imitation and aggressive behaviors in children. Key concepts: social learning theory, imitation, models, vicarious reinforcement, expectancies self efficacy, reciprocal determinism

27 B(urrhus) F(redrick) Skinner (American) (1904-1990) Psychologist, learning theorist, behaviorist. Taught at Harvard University, probably the most famous American psychologist Wrote several books including: The Behavior of Organisms, Beyond Freedom and Dignity, and Walden Two Key concepts: operant learning, positive & negative reinforcement, punishment, shaping, schedules of reinforcement, behavior modification, the Skinner Box

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