The aim of sociological research is to establish causal explanations of social behaviour and the functions of social facts, this means if you can find the causes of negative behaviour, you can eliminate it and better the human condition. Durkheim’s theory on social facts is based on the belief that sociology can be treated like the natural sciences i.e. that laws and trends can be established that apply to everyone. The answer to this question depends on your interpretation of the term ‘science’ and your sociological perspective. According to Parsons, society is based on a value consensus, which is a set of agreed goals, values and roles that standardise and determine behaviour.
Berger and Luckmann (1967:15-22) argue that social relativity is inherent in reality and knowledge, hence, its collection is defined by social contexts imperative for sociological analysis. They contend that analysis should be conscious of varieties of knowledge in human societies to maintain their position on the social construction of reality. For them, there is a relationship between human thoughts, history and social context. They draw on Mannheim’s work that society is imperative for the content of human ideas to argue that knowledge is always from a particular position. The influence of ideology can only be mitigated by the analysis of diverse socially
Functionalism is a macro theory, which looks at society as a whole rather than focuses on each individual. It is a theory that concentrates on the harmony between social institutions in society that is based on a consensus view rather than a conflict view as a Marxism theory. As a comparison to society as a whole, Functionalists use an organic analogy as an example. Each organ of the human body has a different job to do and if one part became ill or diseased, the rest could be contaminated or will produce changes in other parts. Similarly the operation of any society is dependent on its social institutions as they provide vital functions which maintain harmony, stability and solidarity within a society.
There are two major aspects in regards to the sociological perspective, the first being interaction between social structure and an individual and the idea of two levels of analysis. When it comes to the interaction of social structure and the individual, sociologists tend to concentrate not so much on the characteristics of an individuals behavior but rather on the precedents that are collective amongst individuals in regards to society and groups around them. The key to grasping sociology comes from the inevitability and repetition, which are seen in customary social behaviors throughout society and individuals. Social structures are socially embodied in the actions, thoughts, beliefs, and long-lasting temperaments of individual human beings. The typical being often has a
Functionalists see society as a set of parts which work together to form a whole. Functionalism is also called a consensus theory. Marxism and functionalism are similar in that, they see the way society is structured as an important part in determining the way people have relationships and behave between themselves. This is known as structural perspective. Both functionalists and Marxists believe that people are portrayed as creature within the social system.
Functioning is all a part of life but, can it work in a sociologist standpoint? According to the You May Ask Yourself by Dalton Conley its possible. Throughout Colney’s works in chapter one he explains three major theories. Including the Functionalist theory, conflict theory, and Symbolic Interaction. In the position as a student of sociology, I believe the Functionalist theory best describes society.
As sociologists our main goal is to understand social situations and look for repeating patterns in society. Sociologists are engaged in rigorous scientific endeavour which requires objectivity and detachment. The main focus of sociology is the group and not the individual. Sociologists attempt to understand the forces that mold individuals, shape their behaviour and thus determine social events. Through a variety of experiences we develop a set of ideas about the world and how it operates.
It follows that specific agglomerations of ‘reality’ and ‘knowledge’ pertain to specific social contexts, and that these relationships will have to be included in an adequate sociological analysis of these contexts.” (p15) Berger and Luckmann believe that the sociology of knowledge should be concerned with a society’s criteria of knowledge and how this is developed. Their postpositivist stance is clearly laid out when they write of how members of society arrange their world view around their ‘here and now’, both originating and maintaining their ideas of reality and knowledge from their own thoughts and actions (and other significants in their life) rather than anything truly objective. The world of everyday life is not only taken for granted as reality by the ordinary members of society in the subjectively meaningful conduct of their lives. It is a world that originates in their thoughts and actions, and is maintained as real by these. (p 33) Berger and Luckmann believe that semiotics or signification is the primary means by which human beings categorise their subjective view of the world.
Symbolic Interactionism: How Reality is Created Symbolic interactionism emphasizes the micro-processes through which people construct meanings, identities, and joint acts. In doing so it accentuates how symbols, interaction, and human agency serve as the cornerstones of social life. Is a theorical approach to understanding the relationship between humans and Society. The basic notion of symbolic interactionism is that human action and interaction are understandable only through the exchange of meaningful communication or symbols. In this approach, humans are portrayed as acting as opposed to being acted upon.
Sociology and the Family SOC101: Introduction to Sociology (GSP1114A) Instructor: Abstract Sociology is an area of study based on reality. Its observations and applications are founded in reality, and its theories have been derived out of various experiences of reality and now affect common perception of the same reality. The three main theories of sociology are the theories of Functionalism, Conflict Theory, and Interactionism. They give credibility to a different understanding of and toward the different sociological institutions that are in place. By understanding the concepts of the each theories a person can see how they can affect the social institution, such as the family, differently and can present a more much better understanding of the concepts as they apply to reality.