Sociology meaning and perspectives


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Sociology meaning and perspectives

  2. 2. Definition  The study of human social behavior, especially the study of the origins, organization, institutions, an d development of human society.  Analysis of a social institution or societal segment as a self-contained entity or in relation to society as a whole.
  3. 3. Perspectives in Understanding Society
  4. 4. CONFLICT PERSPECTIVE - Conflict theory sees society as a dynamic entity constantly undergoing change as a result of competition over scarce resources.
  5. 5. KARL MARX
  6. 6.  According to the conflict perspective, society is made up of individuals competing for limited resources (e.g., money, leisure, sexual partners, etc.). Competition over scarce resources is at the heart of all social relationships.
  7. 7.  Conflict theory emphasizes the role of coercion and power in producing social order. This perspective is derived from the works of Karl Marx, who saw society as fragmented into groups that compete for social and economic resources.
  8. 8.  Social order is maintained by domination, with power in the hands of those with the greatest political, economic, and social resources. When consensus exists, it is attributable to people being united around common interests, often in opposition to other groups.
  9. 9.  According to conflict theory, inequality exists because those in control of a disproportionate share of society’s resources actively defend their advantages. The masses are not bound to society by their shared values, but by coercion at the hands of those in power.
  10. 10.  This perspective emphasizes social control, not consensus and conformity. Groups and individuals advance their own interests, struggling over control of societal resources. Those with the most resources exercise power over others with inequality and power struggles resulting.
  11. 11.  Great attention paid to class, race, and gender in this perspective because they are seen as the grounds of the most pertinent and enduring struggles in society.
  12. 12.  conflict perspective focuses on the negative, conflicted, and ever-changing nature of society, challenge the status quo, encourage social change (even when this means social revolution), and believe rich and powerful people force social order on the poor and the weak.
  13. 13.  Conflict theorists note that unequal groups usually have conflicting values and agendas, causing them to compete against one another. This constant competition between groups forms the basis for the ever-changing nature of society.
  14. 14.  The theory ultimately attributes humanitarian efforts, altruism, democracy, civil rights, and other positive aspects of society to capitalistic designs to control the masses, not to inherent interests in preserving society and social order.
  15. 15. Symbolic-Interactionist Perspective  Symbolic interactionism looks at individual and group meaning- making, focusing on human action instead of large-scale social structures.
  16. 16. Charles Cooley
  17. 17. This drawing depicts the looking-glass self. The person at the front of the image is looking into four mirrors, each of which reflects someone else's image of himself.
  18. 18.  There are three main components of the looking glass self: ◦ We imagine how we must appear to others ◦ We imagine the judgment of that appearance ◦ We develop our self through the judgments of others
  19. 19.  As children, humans begin to define themselves within the context of their socializations. The child learns that the symbol of his/her crying will elicit a response from his/her parents, not only when they are in need of necessities, such as food, but also as a symbol to receive their attention.
  20. 20.  Symbolic interactionism has roots in phenomenology, which emphasizes the subjective meaning of reality.  Symbolic interactionism proposes a social theory of the self, or a looking glass self.
  21. 21.  Symbolic interactionism is a theoretical approach to understanding the relationship between humans and society. The basic notion of symbolic interactionism is that human action and interaction are understandable only through the exchange of meaningful communication or symbols.
  22. 22.  In this approach, humans are portrayed as acting, as opposed to being acted upon.The main principles of symbolic interactionism are:  Human beings act toward things on the basis of the meanings that things have for them  These meanings arise out of social interaction  Social action results from a fitting together of individual lines of action
  23. 23.  Assumes that people are primarily conformists who try to achieve the norms that accompany their roles; group members check each individual’s performance to determine whether it conforms with that individual’s assigned norms, and apply sanctions for misbehavior in an attempt to ensure role performance.
  24. 24. Structural-Functional Analysis  The functionalist perspective attempts to explain social institutions as collective means to meet individual and social needs.
  25. 25. Emile Durkheim
  26. 26.  Structural functionalism, or simply functionalism, is a framework for building theory that sees society as a complex system whose parts work together to promote solidarity and stability.  It is sometimes called structural-functionalism because it often focuses on the ways social structures (e.g., social institutions) meet social needs.
  27. 27.  Emile Durkheim was concerned with the question of how societies maintain internal stability and survive over time. He sought to explain social stability through the concept of solidarity, and differentiated between the mechanical solidarity of primitive societies and the organic solidarity of complex modern societies.
  28. 28. Primitive / Traditional Society  were held together by mechanical solidarity; members of society lived in relatively small and undifferentiated groups, where they shared strong family ties and performed similar daily tasks. Such societies were held together by shared values and common symbols.
  29. 29. Modern Society  Traditional family bonds are weaker; modern societies also exhibit a complex division of labor, where members perform very different daily tasks. Members of society are forced to interact and exchange with one another to provide the things they need.
  30. 30.  In the functionalist perspective, societies are thought to function like organisms, with various social institutions working together like organs to maintain and reproduce them. The various parts of society are assumed to work together naturally and automatically to maintain overall social equilibrium.
  31. 31.  Because social institutions are functionally integrated to form a stable system, a change in one institution will precipitate a change in other institutions. Dysfunctional institutions, which do not contribute to the overall maintenance of a society, will cease to exist.
  32. 32.  Functionalists analyze social institutions in terms of the function they play. In other words, to understand a component of society, one must ask, "What is the function of this institution? How does it contribute to social stability?" Thus, one can ask of education, "What is the function of education for society?"