There are three major sociology theories known as functionalism, conflict theory, and interactionist perspective. Symbolic interactionism is the use of symbols and is face-to-face interaction. Functionalism has to do with relationships between the parts of society and how the aspects of society are adaptive. The last, conflict theory is the competition of scarce resources and how the elite control the poor and week.
The symbolic interactionist perspective which is known as symbolic interactionism directs sociologist to consider the symbols and details of everyday life, what these symbols mean, and how people interact with each other(1).
George H. Mead Introduced this perspective to American sociology in the 1920s. According to this theory people attach meaning to symbols. An example of symbols are wedding bands, vows of life-long commitment, a white bridal dress, a wedding cake, a church ceremony, and flowers and music. These are all examples of symbols explain in the theory. Symbolic interactionist may miss the larger issue of society by focusing too closely on the “trees.
” An example would be focusing too strongly on the size of the diamond in the wedding ring rather than the “forest,” which would be the quality of marriage.
The functionalist perspective, known as functionalism, is when each aspect of society is interdependent and contributes to society’s functioning as a whole. This was brought to sociology by Emile Durkheim. The government, or state, provides the education for the children in the family, which in turn pays taxes on which the state depends to keep itself running. Functionalists believe that society is held together by social consensus, or cohesion, in which members of the society agree upon, and work together to achieve, what is best for society as a whole. Durkheim suggested that social consensus takes two different forms, mechanical solidarity and organic solidarity. Mechanical solidarity is a form of social cohesion that arises when people in a society maintain similar values and beliefs and engage in similar types of work. Organic solidarity is a form of social cohesion that arises when the people in a society are interdependent, but hold to carrying values and beliefs and engage in varying types of work.
Karl Marx was the originated the conflict perspective, which focuses on the negative, conflicted, and ever-changing nature of society. Unlike functionalists who defend the status quo, encourage social change, and believe rich and powerful people force social order on the poor and the weak. Conflict theorists find social conflict between and groups in which the potential for inequality exists: racial, gender, religious, political, economic, and so on. This constant competition between groups forms the basis for the ever-changing nature of society.
I agree most with interactionist perspective because it fits me and what I believe. I believe at looking at the big picture not little stuff in the way. It is important to concentrate on the bigger picture. They are all good theories and each are made for different people I’m sure people agree and disagree with all the theories but that doesn’t mean they aren’t good in their own way.
“Three Major Perspectives in Sociology.” Three Major Perspectives in Sociology. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Jan. 2014.
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