Assess the Usefulness of Micro Sociology to Our Understanding of Society Assess the usefulness of micro sociology to our understanding of society (33marks) Micro sociology focuses on the actions and interactions of individuals and is a bottom-up approach. Such micro approaches, see society as shaped by its members, who possess agency, in other words, the ability to act as free agents. Micro approaches, also known as action theories, include social action theory, symbolic interactionism, phenomenology and ethnomethodoly. However, macro sociologists take a deterministic approach, as they believe that our actions are determined by society. Macro theories include Functionalism and Marxism, who see individuals as puppets, under the control of social structures.
Functionalism is a macro, structuralist theory. This means they see human behaviour being shaped as an influence of social forces. It is also seen as a consensus theory, as functionalists’ argue that, individuals are socialised into a shared value to ensure conformity and social order. However, this functionalists approach is criticised by action theorists, as they argue that individuals create society through their interactions. Unlike other functionalists, Parsons argues that individuals are integrated through socialisation and social order.
Instead they try to understand social phenomena by testing existing theory against new theory. In 19th Century Comte began to theorise that the methods used in the natural sciences could also be applied to the research of social science and by doing this you could improve human existence in general. The application of scientific method to attempt to reveal social laws came to be known as ‘Positivism.’ Positivists not only assume that human behaviour can be objectively measured, but that objectivity is the only reliable method of sociological measurement. This objective approach becomes problematic as it is difficult to ignore your own values even when analysing impartial research data. In this sense it can be argued that the positivist approach is
Assess the usefulness of microsociology to our understanding of society There are two main approaches to the study of society, which are mirco and marco The mirco approach is a small scale where individual behaviour shapes society this is a bottom up approach. The main sociological perspective is social action theory which is associated with a sociologist called Weber. Many agree this is a useful approach to the study of society, however it has been heavily criticised by structuralist’s who take a marco approach and believe society shapes individuals. Microsociology was founded by WEBER who believed that individuals shape society and all have free will and are not determined by pre-existing social structures in society. His views led to the introduction of interactionism.
Exploring the Sociological Imagination Sociological Imagination Part 1 Sociological imagination, a term coined by C. Wright Mills, is defined as “ the ability to see the relationship between the individual experiences and the larger society” (Lothian Murray, Linden, & Kendall, 2011, p. 7). Understanding this relationship is detrimental to thinking like a sociologist, and it enables you to broaden the way that you think about both individuals and societies as a whole. Looking at the big picture is not enough to be able to understand an issue; just as you cannot understand it if you only look at the small picture. By looking at the big picture, you are able to distinguish patterns of behaviour and truly understand why certain things are happening. On the other hand, by looking at the smaller picture, you can understand on a personal level.
For example the nature vs nurture debate. Talcott parsons (1902-79) were a key functionalist thinker. He saw society as a system made up of interrelated institutions (like the human body) He thought the main role of an institution was to socialise individuals so they behaved in acceptable ways. He argued that socialisation is the key to understanding patterns of human behaviour. Our behaviour is controlled by the rules of society into which we are born; the result is we don’t have to be told that what we are doing is socially unacceptable- we already know and feel uncomfortable if we don’t conform to social norms.
Superson’s goal is to defeat the skeptic and does not believe self-interest is sufficient enough to do so. I understand the approach Superson is making about self-interest but I don’t think she is looking at all aspects of the topic. I think people will always act in self-interested ways regardless of the circumstances; people act according to their dispositions, not by force, unless they are being coerced of course. It is human nature to instinctively maximize our personal utility. We act in ways that we see fit, whether or not an act is considered moral is completely dependent upon the individual.
As stated in Giddens, sociologists who support this theory see individuals as not created by society but as the creators of society. Both the functional and conflict perspective, study society on a macro level. Unlike the micro study of society that looks to the individual, structural theory instead looks to society as a whole. Supporters of this theory view society as the creator of the individual, it is believed that the rules norms and values of society influence and govern the individuals. This essay will look at that two structural theories of functionalism and Marxists, it will compare and contrast both perspectives and identify similarities and differences in their views of on education family, as well as highlighting the strengths and a weaknesses in both perspectives.
This can be seen as the ‘dark figure’. These theorists object that statistics are not unbiased/objective, but are socially constructed. As such statistics tell us more about the compliers than they do about the activities of criminals. Consequently, labelling theorists tend to use participant observation or in-depth interviews as the preferred research method. Labelling theory asks us to question the opinions of experts, to not take their opinions for granted.
#1). In order to develop this skill, you must be able to free yourself from one perspective and look at things from an alternative point of view. Individualism is a social theory favoring freedom of action for individuals over collective or state control. Individualism is the belief that the needs of each person are more important than the needs of the whole society or group (Mariam Webster, 2014). The relationship between these two is they both help us find reasoning and uncover why many things in society are the way they are while also uncovering the bigger picture.