INTRODUCTION TO THEORY AIM: TO UNDERSTAND POSITIVISM & INTERPRETIVISM
“ How is our identity shaped by culture?” A suggested explanation for something… A systematic and general attempt to explain something… “ Why do people get married?” “ Why do people commit crimes? “ How does the media affect us?” “ Why do kids play truant from school?” “ Why do some people believe in God?” Theory
Sociological theory is a bit like political parties. There are a range of sociologists who have differing opinions about how the world operates. Examples of some of these groups are: Functionalists Marxists Interactionists Feminists Post-Modernists These groups then fall into one of two categories and will either be known as: Positivists Interpretivists
YOU Think about who you are, your personality, attitude and behaviour. Consider the factors that have shaped you into who you are today
So, who controls who? Does Society control us? (Positivism) Do we control society? (Interpretivism)
Think about this image of a grumpy man. Consider:
Is he grumpy due to individual factors particular to him or is he grumpy due to the effect of society?
He is also shy, is he shy because society has made him shy or is that just an individual characteristic?
Do you think that this child has learnt to behave by society informing and socialising him how to behave ( Positivism ) or do you think he has learnt to behave through personal trial and error ( Interpretivism )?
Positivism vs Interpretivism
Positivists believe we are influenced by social systems, that society controls who we are
Interpretivists believe in social action, that we as individuals control society Positivists use large samples of people Interpretivists use small samples/individuals MACRO MICRO
Positivist or Interpretivist? To understand crime in Lewes I felt it was really important to question as many people as possible and use statistics to look at crime in the whole area. I feel people commit crime in Sussex due to society factors, often there is an element of boredom or lack of jobs in the area which drives people to crime. My feeling is that often people become criminal because of factors such as neglect, bullying or psychological problems. To understand crime I think it is really important to observe small gangs of criminals and get to know their behaviour on a really in-depth basis.
Socialisation Write a paragraph (5-6 lines) explaining how Positivists and Interpretivists would differ in their opinion of how the Socialisation process works
24 Mark Essay
‘ Explain what is meant by the socialisation process and the learning behaviour of humans’
Aim to write around 2 sides of A4 (around 500 words)
Explain the difference between primary and secondary using examples
Refer to the examples of feral children discussed or on the DVD
Positivism vs Interpretivism
Also known as top-down/macro/social systems or structural theory
Believe that it is important to look at society as a whole when studying it
Believes sociologists should use more scientific approaches to society
Use methods such as Statistics and questionnaires
Examples are Functionalists, Marxists and Feminists
Also known as bottom up/micro or social action theory
Believe that it is important to analyse society by studying individuals
Believes sociologists should use more in-depth approaches to society
Use methods such as observations and in-depth interviews