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The Sociological Perspectives

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Presentation on theme: "The Sociological Perspectives"— Presentation transcript:

1 The Sociological Perspectives
• The Structural/Functional Perspective • The Conflict Perspective • Symbolic/Interactionist Perspective

2 Structural - Functional
• 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

3 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

4 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

5 Famous Theorists (you should know)

6 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

7 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)

8 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

9 Karl Marx (German) ( ) • 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)

10 Max Weber (German) ( ) • 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

11 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

12 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


14 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

15 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

16 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”

17 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

18 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

19 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”

20 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

21 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

22 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

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

24 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)

25 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

26 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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