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.
(Landis 467) In other words, functionalists see shared norms and values as being fundamental to society. They focus on social order based on understood agreements and view social change as occurring in a slow and orderly fashion. Functionalism assumes that society is a system whose various sections work together to encourage balance. It assumes that all aspects of society have a certain function. Although, if a part of this mechanism fails, it is not necessary that the whole society will fail because of it.
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
There is increasing interest in something called "phenomenological sociology." If this interest is to be sustained, indeed if this sub-discipline is to contribute to our knowledge of the social world, we must become clear on what phenomenological sociology is and can become. At present serious problems exist in the writings of many sociologists who have contributed to, and implicitly defined, this approach to sociology. In general, they display only a metaphorical understanding of phenomenology as a philosophy and as a set of methods. In addition, and partly as a result, they fail to understand the relationship between sociology and phenomenology.
Sociology and Anthropology Both sociologists and cultural anthropologists use similar research methods to support their scientific theories. Some examples of their research methods include historical research data, experiments, observation, surveys, interviews and comparative data. Sociologists study human societies and their social interactions in order to gain understanding of social situations and behaviors and to predict what will occur in the future (Tischler, 2007, Chapter 1). Cultural anthropologists research the inner workings and relationships among people within a society to better understand how and why people deal with challenges and live the way they do (Haviland, Prins, Walrath, & McBride, 2008). Sociological Research Methods Sociologists search to find repeating patterns within a society in order to better understand social phenomena, situations and social relations (Tischler, 2007, Chapter 1).
An account is given of the application of the theory and how the various structures within society functions for the good and benefit of the whole as well as a reflection on the relevance of the theory in modern society. 1. Definition of structural functionalism Structural functionalism can be defined as, "…an idea of society being likened to a holistic, integrated system, but with a much stronger emphasis on the self perpetuation of the system which implies that the social institutions, which collectively form a social structure, function to maintain the harmony of the social whole."
There are three theoretical perspectives commonly used in Sociology. They are the functionalist perspective, the conflict perspective, and the interactionist perspective. The functionalist perspective is defined in the text as a sociological approach that emphasizes the way that the parts of a society are structured to maintain its stability (Schaefer 14). It looks at how aspects of society are functional. This perspective views society as stable and well integrated; the individual as socialized to perform societal functions; and social order as maintained through cooperation and consensus (Schaefer 19).
Sociology differs from social psychology because sociology specifically looks at the different social behaviors and the surrounding influences at more of a broader view. Sociologists look at and their interests are with the institution and also the different cultures that influence how people behave. Psychologists or researchers use many different scientific methods to conduct their research in social psychology. Some examples of these methods are; descriptive research- shows what may already exist within a group.
Social psychologist observe human behavior and significance of influence by outside sources such as people, society, environment, and culture. Social psychologist focus on facts that underline human behavior in social settings and how individuals’ conduct him or herself under various conditions, thus, leading to behavior, actions, and feelings. According to Mcleod (2007), “Topics examined in social psychology include: the self-concept, social cognition, attribution theory, social influence, group processes, prejudice and discrimination, interpersonal processes, aggression, attitudes and stereotypes” (para. 3). Social Psychology