Sociological theories


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Sociological theories

  1. 1. Sociological theories Functionalist perspective Conflict perspective Interaction perspective Post modern perspective1 TOK202
  2. 2. Founders of the functionalist perspective : August Comte (1798-1857) Herbert Spencer (1820-1903) Émile Durkheim (1858-1917)2 TOK202
  3. 3. August Comte (1798-1857) "father of sociology"  Thescience about society – social physics  Comte invented the term sociology  Evolutionist  Positivist3 TOK202
  4. 4. Comtes positivism Comtes views of the three stages of the history of sciences. In order as follows, the stages are: 1. Theological - nature has a will of its own. This stage is broken down into three stages of its own, including animism, polytheism, and monotheism. 2. Metaphysical state - though substituting ideas for a personal will. 3. Positive - a search for absolute knowledge.4 TOK202
  5. 5. Herbert Spencer (1820-1903)  Englishman  Evolutionist – “survival of the fittest”  Optimist  Laissez-faire liberalism5 TOK202
  6. 6. Émile Durkheim (1858-1917)  Frenchman  Evolutionist  Divisionof labour  Study of suicide – “Anomy”  Statistics applied in sociology6 TOK202
  7. 7. Functionalism  Society is a combination of different parts/institutions such as: – Family, religion, economy and educational system  These institutions secure the evolution and growth of society7 TOK202
  8. 8. The characteristics of society  Well planned uniformity  Stability and equilibrium between different parts  Consensus of the main values  Every institution has a function which helps society to remain stable  What is, is good – “natural selection” of good institutions/functions8 TOK202
  9. 9. Functionalistic research questions?  Mapping, describing and analysing – The positive functions – The institutions – (The dysfunctions)9 TOK202
  10. 10. Assignment  Mention all main parts/institutions which you believe are the brick stones of society. How do these parts work together in creating societies equilibrium?  What are the main weaknesses of the functionalist perspective in describing society?  Is it politically biased? If, then how?10 TOK202
  11. 11. Conflict perspective  Founders?  Karl Marx (1818-1883) – German revolutionist philosopher, sociologist and economist  Friedrich Engels (1820- 1895) – German socialist philosopher11 TOK202
  12. 12. Marxism  Historical materialism – “It is not the consciousness of men that determines their existence, but on the contrary, it is their social existence which determines their consciousness...”  Dialectic  Class struggle  National economy  Socialism  Communism12 TOK202
  13. 13. Conflict perspective in modern sociology  Not only focusing on class struggle as Marx did, but on the overall power structure in society, such as conflicts between different groups of interests – Producers and consumers, employers and employed, Muslims and Christians, teachers and students, parents and kids, personality and culture13 TOK202
  14. 14. Conflict causes social change  Inevery society there are conflicts; conflict is the driving force of social change  Conflict does not necessary mean violence, rather tension, competition or disagreement about objectives and values, conflict of interests14 TOK202
  15. 15. Research questions?  Mapping of power-relations  Someone is making benefit of the situation at the expense of someone else  How can we dissolve the conflict? Can there be a win-win solution?15 TOK202
  16. 16. Conflict vs. functionalist perspective  The conflict paradigm highlights parts of society where functionalists usually do not focus on  The weakness of the conflict paradigm is that they miss the consensus- and balance in society16 TOK202
  17. 17. Assignment  The conflict paradigm presupposes that resources and power are limited, which in turn, creates tension and conflicts between different groups.  Investigate some relationships within the school from the viewpoint of conflict theories, for example the relationship between teachers and students, or between school-board and students, or between pastime and studies.17 TOK202
  18. 18. Assignment  The functionalist paradigm presupposes that every part of society has a (positive) function.  Investigate some relationships within the school from the viewpoint of functionalist perspective, for example the relationship between teachers and students, or between school-board and students, or between pastime and studies.18 TOK202
  19. 19. Interaction perspective Max Weber (1860-1920)  Verstehen – Understanding the meaning of human action – Thought to be characteristic of the social sciences opposed to the natural sciences  Identifies different kinds of authorities – Traditional – Charismatic – Rational  Ideal types – Institutionalised social action  Iron cage19 TOK202
  20. 20. Interaction perspective/founders  George Herbert Mead (1880- 1949) – Symbolic interaction  Human behaviour has a deeper symbolic meaning  Humans learn the meaning of social behaviour, by socialisation  Erving Goffman (1922- ) – Role theory20 TOK202
  21. 21. Objectivity/impartiality  Is objectivity possible in (social) sciences?  Scientists have consciousness formed by their personal experience, they live in a certain culture, place and time, they have their personal interests  Is objectivity desirable in science?21 TOK202
  22. 22. Postmodernism/post structuralism  Michel Foucault (1926-1984)  History of madness and medicine  History of sexuality  The Archaeology of Knowledge  Deconstruction  Discourse/discourse analysis  Plurality of knowledge and method  Power and knowledge; Relativism22 TOK202