Sociology is a very important discipline to study. When you ask yourself where the term, classical sociological theory derives from, the reading Sociological Theory written by David Ashley suggest that certain sociological statements are classical first because they have an ideological significance, and second because they have been instrumental in helping to build sociology as an autonomous discipline and as an institutionalized profession.
These two characteristics are not mutually exclusive. To some extent, classical sociological theory was always ideologically interested in its own legitimation..Ashley suggest that sociological theory is often said to have attained its maturity between 1880 and 1920.
During this period, sociology was established in its own right in the United States and in many Western European societies Ideology is another term that Ashley defines for us, he says that it is largely a modern invention because it is modernity that was responsible for the breakdown of the dogma and uncertainties associated with traditional societies.. He goes on to say that ideology, in short, represents a refusal to accept that present conditions reflect the best of all possible worlds.To put the best possible gloss on ideology, we could say, it is a striving toward truth at a time during which blind adherence to custom, tradition, and habit is loosening its grip on the human mind.
. When one searches for an appropriate meaning for sociology, many definitions will come to mind. In her book, Understanding Social Problems, Schacht gives her definition by explaining a scene in the movie Dead Poets Society, with actor Robin Williams who plays an English teacher in a private boys school.She explains how in one scene he asks his students to get out of heir seats and, one by one, climb onto his desk at the front of the classroom, look around and then return to their seats.
All the students had questionable looks on their faces and reasonably so; why did their teacher want them to stand on top of his desk and look around the room The teacher told them that he wanted them to view the world, beginning with the classroom, from a new and different perspective. So sociology is a way of looking at the world from different perspectives and theories.Theories in sociology provide us with different perspectives with which to view our social orld. Now let me define these two important words in the world of sociology, perspective and theory.
A perspective is simply a way of looking at the world, and a theory is a set of interrelated propositions or principles designed to answer a question or explain a particular phenomenon, it provides us with a perspective (10). Sociological theories help us to explain and predict the social world in which we live.In David Ashleys book he states that, social theory requires that people think comparatively..
There is absolutely no way a person can be closed minded when looking at ertain situations from the sociological theory or perspectives. The theorist in Ashleys book examine certain situations from three perspectives, structural functionalist, symbolic interactionist, and conflict perspectives. These three perspectives are the same three that all sociologist us in figuring out certain social problems and the reasons for why people do the things they do.The first perspective we will examine is the structural-functionalist perspective.
This perspective is largely based on the works of Herbert Spencer, Emile Durkheim, Talcott Parsons, and Robert Merton. In this perspective, society is a system of interconnected parts that work together in harmony to maintain a state of balance and social equilibrium for the whole. This perspective is basically based on structure and order. The next perspective is the conflict perspective.
The origins of the conflict perspective can be traced to the classic works of Karl Marx.This perspective views society as comprised of different groups and interest competing for power and resources. Schacht tells us that the conflict perspective explains various aspects of our social world by looking at which groups have power nd benefit from a particular social arrangement. The last perspective is the symbolic interactionist.
This perspective was largely influenced by Max Weber, Georg Simmel, Charles Horton Cooley, G. H. Mead, W. I.
Thomas, Erving Goffman, and Howard Becker.Symbolic interactionism emphasizes that human behavior is influenced by definitions and meanings that are created and maintained through symbolic interaction with others. Symbolic interactionists suggest that definitions are socially constructed anew in each interactive setting. Just to explain in more detail and give an example of the ymbolic interactionist theory, an article out of the journal Social Theory and Practice, reviews an essay by George Schedler entitled, Racist Symbols and Reparations.
He says that the Confederate Battle Flag is historically associated with slavery, segregation, and other manifestations of racism. Yet it is displayed as an official symbol by several former confederate states. It currently flies over the capital dome in Columbia, South Carolina and it flew over the capital dome in Montgomery Alabama from 1963 until 1993, and it is incorporated into the state flags of Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, and Georgia.