Major Theoretical Perspectives in Sociology

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Major Theoretical Perspectives in Sociology

  1. 1. Major Theoretical Perspectives
  2. 2. Functionalist Perspective  Emphasizes the way that parts of society are structured to maintain its stability  This approach holds that if an aspect of social life does not contribute to society’s stability or survival- if it serves no func tio n or promote value consensus among members of society- it will not be passed on from one generation to the next.
  3. 3. Manifest and Latent Functions  Manifest : Open , stated, and conscious function  Latent: unconscious or unintended function; hidden purpose
  4. 4. Dysfunctions  This refers to an element or a process of society that may actually disrupt a social system or lead to decrease in stability
  5. 5. Conflict Perspective  Assumes that social behavior is best understood in terms of conflict or tension between competing groups  Conflict however need not be violent
  6. 6. The Marxist View  Marx: struggle between social classes is inevitable, given the exploitation of workers under capitalism  Social scientists have come to see conflict not merely as a class phenomenon but as part of the everyday life in all societies.
  7. 7.  Conflict theorists are interested in how society’s institutions may help to maintain the privileges of some groups and keep others in subservient position.  Their emphasis on social change and redistribution of resources makes them more “radical” and “activist” than functionalism.
  8. 8. An African American View  W.E.B. Du Bois: - First black to receive a doctorate from Harvard University - Challenged the status quo in both academic and political circles
  9. 9. -Later helped organize the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People ( NAACP ) - He believed that knowledge was essential in combating prejudice and achieving tolerance and justice
  10. 10. -Sociology he says should draw on scientific principles to study social problems…. - His contribution was his in-depth studies of urban life- both white and black
  11. 11. The Feminist View  Embraced in the 1970s  This view sees inequity in gender as central to all behavior and organization  Contemporary feminist theorists often view women’s subordination as inherent in capitalist societies
  12. 12.  Radical feminist theorists view the oppression of women as inevitable in all male-dominated societies  Ida Wells-Barnett: -became an advocate of women’s right campaigns especially the struggle to win the vote for women
  13. 13. - She researched what it meant to be a female and black living in the United States - Her work established her as one of the earliest feminist theorists
  14. 14. Interactionist Perspective  This approach generalizes about everyday forms of social interaction in order to explain society as a whole.  Sometimes referred to as symbolic interactionist perspective because symbols are important human communication…nonverbal communication.
  15. 15.  George Herbert Mead: - Widely regarded as founder of interactionist perspective - Taught in University of Chicago - He was interested in in observing the most minute forms of communication and in understanding how such individual behavior was influenced by the larger context of a group or society.
  16. 16.  Erving Goffman: - Popularized a type of interactionist method known as dramaturgical approach which examines people as if they were theatrical performers.

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