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Theoretical Perspectives

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Presentation on theme: "Theoretical Perspectives"— Presentation transcript:

1 Theoretical Perspectives
Ch1Sec3 Sociology Theoretical Perspectives

2 The Role of Theoretical Perspectives
Perception – the way you interpret the meaning of an image or event Depends on beliefs, values, what you focus on Sociolological theoretical perspective – set of assumptions about the workings of society

3 Major Sociological Perspectives
Each perspective has a different slant on human social behavior I. Functionalism Views society as an integrated whole II. Conflict Perspective Emphasizes competition, change, & constraint Class, race, and gender struggles III. Symbolic Interactionism Focus more on the way people interact with each other How individual use shared symbols as they interact


5 Auguste Comte Positivism – scientific observation in study of social behavior Social statics – stability & order Social dynamics- social change

6 Functionalism Contributions made by each part of society-how they work together Ex) family, economy, religion parts of society Family –provides for reproduction & care for members of society Economy- production of goods and services for society Religion – beliefs and practices related to sacred things of society Change in one part affects another part of society Ex) Industrial Revolution affected family life

7 Functionalism Function - contribution made by some part of society
Manifest functions – intended and recognized consequences of an aspect of society Ex)school-teach math skills Latent functions- unintended and unrecognized consequences of an aspect of society Ex)school-development of close friendships Dysfunction- negative consequence of an aspect of society Ex)being treated as a “number” by bureaucratic government agency Give an example of each of these terms.

8 Functionalism Each component of society affects each other
Sociologists: Herbert Spencer Emile Durkheim

9 Emile Durkheim Society exists because of broad consensus
Mechanical solidarity- Preindustrial society Widespread consensus of values & beliefs, conformity, tradition, family Organic solidarity- Industrial society Social interdependency, specialized roles, dependent on one another

10 Conflict Perspective Conflict Perspective Functionalism
Reverse of functionalism Disagreements among groups in society and between societies (competition) Contest for power (ability to control others) Those with most power get the largest share of what is valuable in a society (wealth, prestige, privilege) Some groups have more power, some have less Basic agreement on values within society Cooperation, common goals

11 Karl Marx Concern for poverty, inequality, working class
Not just study world but change it 2 main social classes Bourgeoisie (capitalists)-those who own the means for producing wealth Proletariat – work for bourgeoisie, paid just enough to stay alive Class conflict – clash between 2 classes Wage workers overtake capitalists – classless (communistic) society Planned revolution could speed up change from capitalism to communism Felt capitalism would self- destruct anyway

12 Which Perspective is Better?
Neither!– different focus Functionalism – consensus, stability, cooperation of a population Conflict – constraint, conflict, change in a society Each deals with large social units Ex) Economy, broad social processes, conflict Last perspective focuses on ways people interact

13 Max Weber Most important influence
Humans act on the basis of their own understanding of a situation Sociologists must discover personal meanings, values, beliefs, attitudes Verstehen – understand behavior by putting self mentally in someone else’s place Rationalization- use of knowledge, reason, planning

14 Symbolic Interactionism
Focus on interaction among people Symbol- represents something else Object, word, gesture, facial expression, sound Ex) American flag – symbol of US Meaning is determined by those who create/use symbol- must be understood by whole group

15 3 Basic Assumptions I. We learn meaning of symbols by others’ reactions Ex) Latin America, whistling at end of performance is bad, in North America, booing at end is bad II. We base our behavior on those meanings Ex) Avoid encore if you hear whistling in LA, booing NA III. We use meanings of symbols to imagine how others will respond to our behavior before we act Dramaturgy – human interaction like theatrical presentation (dress, gestures, tone of voice)


17 Guess Which Perspective
Societies are in relative balance. Power is one of the most important elements in life. Religion helps hold a society together morally. Symbols are crucial to social life. Many elements of a society exist to benefit the powerful. Social life should be understood from the viewpoint of the individuals involved. Social change is constantly occurring

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