It focuses on how people come together to create society. It focuses on whether actions are good for the equilibrium of society, these are called functions. It also focuses on things that undermine the equilibrium, these are called dysfunctions. For example functionalist Conflict theory do not see society as whole coming together well for one purpose. It focuses on class conflict.
Or we can say that conflict theory deals with the incompatible aspects of human society. Conflict theory emerged out of the sociology of conflict, crisis and social change. Consensus theory, on the other hand, is a sociological perspective or collection of theories, in which social order and stability/social regulation forms the base of emphasis. In other words consensus theory is concerned with the maintenance or continuation of social order in society; in relation to accepted norms, values, rules and regulations as widely accepted or collectively by the society-or within a particular society- itself. It Emerged out of the sociology of social order and social stability/social regulation.
Particularly striking in this conception is the notion of inventory, which suggests multiple ontologies and the need to collate. The assumptions about the nature of the world in sociology can be classified into two broad orientations, realism and social constructivism. Realism posits the existence of an objective reality independent of human thoughts and beliefs. Contrary to this position, social constructionism is of the view that reality is not independent of human thoughts and beliefs; rather, it is socially constructed (Oxford dictionary of sociology, 552-553, 609). 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.
Compare and contrast any two major theoretical perspectives in Sociology Sociology is the study of human social life, groups and societies. Through sociology, we are able to understand the structures and dynamics of our society. In our society, we have institutions, which are basically organisations that exist over time. Although people may change, the structure continues to exist. Examples include the family, education, religion, and economic and political institutions.
However Marxists would argue that social problems such as underachievement are simply aspects of a wider structure of class inequality, and unlike functionalists, they do not see the state and its policies beneficial to all members of society. In Marxists view, the state represents the ruling class, and social policies serve the interests of capitalism as opposed to society as a whole. For example Marxists would state that social policies, such as the NHS, maintain the labour force for further exploitation. From a social democratic approach, sociologists, such as Townsend, believe that sociologist
ON PHENOMENOLOGICAL SOCIOLOGY  james L. heap and phillip A. roth University of British Columbia American Sociological Review 1973, Vol. 38 (June): 354-367 The works of Tiryakian, Bruyn and Douglas are examined as representative of "phenomenological sociology." Radical problems are discovered in their use of key concepts in phenomenology: intention, reduction, phenomenon and essence. These problems are shown to arise out of a failure to grasp the nature of the phenomenological enterprise and its relationship to sociology. Turning back to the original formulation of this relationship by Husserl, we discover problems of transcendental intersubjectivity, of type and essence, and of objectivism.
Sociologists do not simply declare their beliefs indisputable truths – they do research to determine whether those beliefs are correct. Their investigations are rooted in the scientific method that distinguishes the sociological perspective from “commonsense” interpretations of the world. The sociological perspective emphasizes that people’s thoughts and action are strongly influenced by the groups to which they belong as well as by impinging social factors such as beliefs, values, practices and institutions. From birth to death individuals are imbedded within and influenced by groups and larger structures. As sociologists our main goal is to understand social situations and look for repeating patterns in society.
Browne once said "sociological perspectives centre on how much freedom or control the individual had to influence society" He goes on to comment on the two main approaches "structuralism is concerned with the overall structure of society and the way social institutions act as a constraint, or limit and control individual behaviour". Structuralism offers a view of the individual being controlled by the society they live in, Marx and Durkheim are similar in that they can both be described as structuralists, however their individual ideas are somewhat different. Functionalism was developed by Emile Durkheim, he believed like Comte that sociology should be viewed as a precise science and that society should be studied objectively. Durkheim placed an enormous amount of emphasis on social facts which he saw as ways of acting, thinking or feeling that are external to individuals and have their own reality outside the lives and perceptions of individual people. This is known as the macro approach, which places a great emphasis on the structure of society and how an individual operates with that society.
Assess the strengths and weaknesses of the functionalist approach to society...(33 marks) Functionalism is a macro, consensus theory. They see human behaviour as being influenced by social forces, because it is a macro-scale approach is therefore seen as a strength as it allows functionalist sociologists to observe society, and its institutions, as a whole. Functionalists argue that, individuals are socialised into a shared value which is also known as a value consensus 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. Marxists may argue that these norms and beliefs are all in interest of the Bourgeoisie and they can prevent or make change by ideological manipulation or force.
This science has allowed for collected data and theories to be tested and proven on the effects of exterior motives that implement individual behavior. Define social psychology Social psychology concentrates on individual behavior in a social context. Baron, Byrne & Suls (1989) define social psychology as “the scientific field that seeks to understand the nature and causes of individual behavior in social situations”. (p. 6). Social psychologist observe human behavior and significance of influence by outside sources such as people, society, environment, and culture.