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Criticism

Research done from this perspective is often scrutinized because of the difficulty of remaining objective. Others criticize the extremely narrow focus on symbolic interaction. Proponents, of course, consider this one of its greatest strengths.

Sociological theory today

These three approaches are still the main foundation of modern sociological theory, but some evolution has been seen. Structural-functionalism was a dominant force after World War II and until the 1960s and 1970s. At that time, sociologists began to feel that structural-functionalism did not sufficiently explain the rapid social changes happening in the United States at that time.

Conflict theory then gained prominence, as there was renewed emphasis on institutionalized social inequality. Critical theory, and the particular aspects of feminist theory and critical race theory, focused on creating social change through the application of sociological principles, and the field saw a renewed emphasis on helping ordinary people understand sociology principles, in the form of public sociology.

Postmodern social theory attempts to look at society through an entirely new lens by rejecting previous macro-level attempts to explain social phenomena. Generally considered as gaining acceptance in the late 1970s and early 1980s, postmodern social theory is a micro-level approach that looks at small, local groups and individual reality. Its growth in popularity coincides with the constructivist aspects of symbolic interactionism.

Summary

Sociologists develop theories to explain social events, interactions, and patterns. A theory is a proposed explanation of those social interactions. Theories have different scales. Macro-level theories, such as structural functionalism and conflict theory, attempt to explain how societies operate as a whole. Micro-level theories, such as symbolic interactionism, focus on interactions between individuals.

Short answer

Which theory do you think better explains how societies operate—structural functionalism or conflict theory? Why?

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Do you think the way people behave in social interactions is more like the behavior of animals or more like actors playing a role in a theatrical production? Why?

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Further research

People often think of all conflict as violent, but many conflicts can be resolved nonviolently. To learn more about nonviolent methods of conflict resolution check out the Albert Einstein Institution (External Link)

References

Allan, Kenneth. 2006. Contemporary Social and Sociological Theory: Visualizing Social Worlds . Thousand Oaks, CA: Pine Forge Press.

Blumer, H. 1969. Symbolic Interactionism: Perspective and Method . Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Broce, Gerald. 1973. History of Anthropology . Minneapolis: Burgess Publishing Company.

Calhoun, Craig J. 2002. Classical Sociological Theory . Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.

Durkheim, Émile. 1984 [1893]. The Division of Labor in Society . New York: Free Press.

Durkheim, Émile. 1964 [1895]. The Rules of Sociological Method , edited by J. Mueller, E. George and E. Caitlin. 8th ed. Translated by S. Solovay. New York: Free Press.

Goffman, Erving. 1958. The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life . Edinburgh: University of Edinburgh, Social Sciences Research Centre.

Goldschmidt, Walter. 1996. “Functionalism” in Encyclopedia of Cultural Anthropology, Vol. 2 , edited by D. Levinson and M. Ember. New York: Henry Holt and Company.

Henry, Stuart. 2007. “Deviance, Constructionist Perspectives.” Blackwell Encyclopedia of Sociology . Retrieved October 14, 2014 (http://www.sociologyencyclopedia.com/public/tocnode?id=g9781405124331_yr2011_chunk_g978140512433110_ss1-41).

Herman, Nancy J., and Larry T. Reynolds. 1994. Symbolic Interaction: An Introduction to Social Psychology . Lanham, MD: Altamira Press.

Horkeimer, M. 1982. Critical Theory . New York: Seabury Press.

Irving, John Scott. 2007. Fifty Key Sociologists: The Formative Theorists . New York: Routledge.

LaRossa, R., and D.C. Reitzes. 1993. “Symbolic Interactionism and Family Studies.” Pp. 135–163 in Sourcebook of Family Theories and Methods: A Contextual Approach , edited by P. G. Boss, W. J. Doherty, R. LaRossa, W. R. Schumm, and S. K. Steinmetz. New York: Springer.

Maryanski, Alexandra, and Jonathan Turner. 1992. The Social Cage: Human Nature and the Evolution of Society . Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.

Marx, Karl and Friedrich Engels. 1998 [1848]. The Communist Manifesto . New York: Penguin.

Parsons, T. 1961. Theories of Society: Foundations of Modern Sociological Theory . New York: Free Press.

Pew Research Center. 2012. “Mobile Technology Fact Sheet.” Pew Research Internet Project , April 2012. Retrieved October 15, 2014 (http://www.pewinternet.org/fact-sheets/mobile-technology-fact-sheet/).

Radcliffe-Brown, A.R. 1952. Structure and Function in Primitive Society: Essays and Addresses . London: Cohen and West.

Spencer, Herbert. 1898. The Principles of Biology . New York: D. Appleton and Company.

Turner, J. 2003. The Structure of Sociological Theory. 7 th ed. Belmont, CA: Thompson/Wadsworth.

UCLA School of Public Affairs. n.d. “What is Critical Race Theory?” UCLA School of Public Affairs: Critical Race Studies . Retrieved October 20, 2014 (http://spacrs.wordpress.com/what-is-critical-race-theory/).

Questions & Answers

reasons why we study sociology
OBADIAH Reply
what is the importance of nursing in sociology
Agness Reply
how did the industrial revolution contribute to the raise or birth of sociology
Debra
what are social organizations
Mr Reply
social organization is the process in which group or organise people engage in one event or aspect to do or provide something
Umar
Discuss the historical events that led to socialogy as a science
Debra Reply
sociology is the way in which study the society, behavior, value, norms and cultural interaction
Umar Reply
Discuss in details the Historical events which lead to the introduction of Sociology as a science.
Jonathan
The term sociology was coined by French philosopher Auguste Comte in 1838, who for this reason is known as the “Father of Sociology.” Comte felt that science could he used to study the social world. Just as there are testable facts regarding gravity and other natural laws
Umar
but which events really made him conclude that sociology is a science
Debra
Comte thought that scientific analyses could also discover the laws governing our social lives. It was in this context that Comte introduced the concept of positivism to sociology a way to understand the social world based on scientific facts. He believed that, with this new understanding, people
Umar
could build a better future. He envisioned a process of social change in which sociologists played crucial roles in guiding society.
Umar
I'm lost
Debra
Other events of that time period also influenced the development of sociology. The 19th and 20th centuries were times of many social upheavals and changes in the social order that interested the early sociologists. The political revolutions sweeping Europe during the 18th and 19th centuries
Umar
were times of many social upheavals and changes in the social order that interested the early sociologists. The political revolutions sweeping Europe during the 18th and 19th centuries led to a focus on social change and the establishment of social order that still concerns sociologists today.
Umar
Debra mwale what did you lost ?
Umar
What historical events lead to the introduction of sociology as a science?
Jonathan Reply
I don't understand the part the meaning of sex
Deborah Reply
is sociology is an easy subject
Sanjana Reply
yeah..as easy as interestingly you will go for it
rameez
Definition of sociology
Jafaru Reply
The historical events which lead to the introduction of sociology as a science
Jonathan
what is sociology?
Tapos Reply
Sociology, is the study of Man and his Environment.
MUBARAK
Sociology is the scientific study of humans, their social life and the environment
Evance
define the term socialisation
rose Reply
it is the process of learning. in which person learn the norms, value ,attitude from society, family , institutions from his birth to death...
Abhishek
sociology is the process of learning, Process of culture assimilation and it is life-long process of society.
Saloni
socialisation is the process in which person interacts with others peoples in the community or society by learning the different aspects, like, behavior, value, norms and cultural differences.
Umar
sociology derive from where and called what
Gabby Reply
what is sociology
Favour Reply
sociology is simply the scientific study of human behavior and society
Shamar
facts
Kervens
sociology is the systematic investigation of man ,his environment and time in a particular society.
David
sociology is the science of society who study whole social phenomena.
Saloni
Describe the characteristics of society
Aman Reply
sociology is the scientific study society and human behaviors
Habeeb
Why Socialization Occurs?
Hitman Reply
I think humans are social creatures because our cooperation allowed us to flousrish in the wild, when all kind of meanece lurked in the bushes, this Is why we need to teach other how reality is, so they can integrate what we consider as escential to communicate, understand and share some basic value
JV
since man is considered an "animal"he lacked a lot by imaging in the society and needed to be internalize in the society in order to attain his personal personality by working with the norms, values and culture of that society.
David
since man is considered an animal'
David

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Source:  OpenStax, Introduction to sociology 2e. OpenStax CNX. Jan 20, 2016 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11762/1.6
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