Presentation on theme: "Theoretical Perspectives What are Theoretical Perspectives and How are they Useful?"— Presentation transcript:
Theoretical Perspectives What are Theoretical Perspectives and How are they Useful?
Theoretical Perspectives in the social sciences are: ideas or ways of viewing situations that are used to explain and analyze how social actions, social processes, and social structures work a framework for organizing and explaining observations and evidence
without evidence/facts, theories are just a educated guess as to how and why a situation might occur once information has been gathered (observation, experiment, survey, interview…) it lacks meaning without the theory to organize it
Social Scientists ask 4 fundamental questions: What happens? How does it happen? Why does it happen? How can people change what happens?
Structural Functionalism or Functionalism oldest sociological theory founded by Emile Durkheim Durkheim argued that social sciences should be studied like natural sciences (objectively) Statistics (Ex. Birth rate) is a social fact and can be quantified Statistics (Ex. Birth rate) is a social fact and can be quantified Birth rates affect people – politicians might be concerned with too high or too low of a birth rateBirth rates affect people – politicians might be concerned with too high or too low of a birth rate Social Facts should be used to explain behaviours among groups in societySocial Facts should be used to explain behaviours among groups in society various segments of society serve a purpose for society as a whole EX. Family has function of raising children EX. Family has function of raising children macro approach – organization of society based on a consensus of what is functional
attempts to explain how society is organized to perform its required functions effectively Functionalists believe that stable societies are those in which the structures function to benefit society Structures: law, political systems, families Structures: law, political systems, families
examine the roles that individuals play within an institution society runs smoothly when individuals behave according to their role society runs smoothly when individuals behave according to their role one learns roles through socialization one learns roles through socialization
Functionalists observe role behaviour – the behaviour that occurs most often is defined as the norm Talcott Parsons – outlined roles (specifically by gender) Argued that the family structure depended on the division of labour Argued that the family structure depended on the division of labour CRITICISM - Functionalism goes beyond explaining organization and prescribes how individuals should behave
Conflict Theory explains that power, not functional interdependence hold a society together Conflict exists btw. groups in society because of inequalities in power Groups compete to meet needs. If groups are in competition, the needs of all will not be met equally Exploitation by individuals in the group with greater power Macro – explains inequalities – used to criticize, not understand societal organizations Ex. Functional, for whom? Why does the structure of society not work for everyone? Ex. Functional, for whom? Why does the structure of society not work for everyone?
Feminist Theory explains the impact of sex and gender on behaviour and to consider issues of human behaviour from the point of view of women. roots in conflict theory – designed to separate “sex” from “class” - change is required so that needs of all people are met
Symbolic Interactionism psychological theory that attempts to explain how individuals choose how they will act based on their perceptions of themselves and of others. Emphasized the mental process of perception and interpretation Micro – analyses the actions of individuals or small groups attempts to understand the point of view of the “actor” in order to explain the “action”
Two parts to the SELF: ME (objective qualities) ME (objective qualities) I (awareness of self) I (awareness of self) Cooley believes this is based on the perception by othersCooley believes this is based on the perception by others Role Taking (MEAD) allows us to understand the point of view of the “actor” Consider “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus” Consider “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus”
Language – interprets and gives meaning to experiences CRITICISM – Researcher perceives actions, therefore observations are influenced by researcher’s self image and beliefs therefore may be inaccurate
Social Exchange Theory psychological theory that attempts to explain the social factors that influence how individuals interact within reciprocal relationships individuals act to max. the benefits they receive and min. the cost to themselves Social Scientists use the social-exchange theory to explain how individuals make decisions to form and maintain relationships that might appear unacceptable to others
Systems Theory attempts to explain how groups of individuals interact as a system Feedback provides individuals with information/knowledge about how to interact to maintain stability Give and take therefore difficult to describe the origins of influence or to describe the organization of the family
Family Systems Family unit (those sharing the household) Family unit (those sharing the household) Interpersonal (husband-wife, parent-child) Interpersonal (husband-wife, parent-child) Personal (individual self as member of family) Personal (individual self as member of family) Family Systems adapt/change when one behaviour influences another therefore resulting in new strategies Explains behaviour of individuals as inseparable form the group