Sociology is a scientific discipline which studies the complexity of human society in a social context. This discipline uses various methods of empirical investigation and critical analysis. It examines how people interact with one another and in groups; size of group may range from small social settings (a community) to society in a global context (for example the United Nations). Sociology investigates the social causes and consequences of aspects such as romantic love, racial and gender identity, family conflict, deviant behaviour, aging, and religious faith. At the societal level, sociology examines and explains matters like crime and law, poverty and wealth, prejudice and discrimination, schools and education, business firms, urban community, and social movements.
Human beings live in diverse societies that keeps changing every day, and these changes affect individuals differently and cannot be explained based on their own point of view, but by viewing different broad features of society in which they live. Therefore, this essay will discuss the three main perspectives in sociology. Thereafter, their usefulness in contemporary society shall be rendered accordingly. Last of all, a conclusion will be drawn. In order to carefully understand the three main perspectives in sociology, it is prudent to define and understand the terms sociology and perspectives.
In fact, Durkheim has even defined sociology as a science of social facts. Social facts and events constitute the fundamental bases of his sociology thought. He tried to analyse and explain social phenomenon and social life by making use of this concept as his basic concept. Durkheim’s views about social facts are extensively dealt with in his second major treatise namely, “The Rules of Sociological Method”. Main Intentions of the “Theory of Social Facts”: Durkheim was in part a positivist and a believer in applying the methods of physical sciences to the study of social facts.
The cultural aspect of the sociological imagination involves the “learned ideas, values, knowledge, rules and customs shared by members of a collectivity” (Holmes et al, 2003, pg 11). Culture in the sociological imagination allows the comprehension of why people hold certain ideas and values, and follows certain rules and customs. The critical aspect of the sociological imagination stipulates the initiative to analyze. Although it is, by human nature, to assume the meaning of actions carried out by people, C. Wright Mills claims that assumptions are not enough. Through assumptions, many things are taken for granted and the true meaning is not revealed.
Mills: The Sociological Imagination In 1959, sociologist C. Wright Mills investigated impersonal historical forces and connected them to the individual life. According to Mills (1959), this phenomena is referred to as the sociological imagination, claiming that “it is the capacity to shift from one perspective to another...the capacity to range from the most impersonal and remote transformations to the most intimate features of the human self and to see the relations between the two of them” (p. 4). Mills explains the difference between private and public issues by stating that a personal problem is when the problem occurred because of the person's character, but a public problem is the direct result of the problems that occurred within society, affecting many people. Often, people will attribute the public problem as their own personal downfall rather than realizing it is a societal problem (Mills, 1959, pp. 4, 5).
Rachel Jackman Professor Andrea Connor Sociology Portfolio Assignment 7 November 2012 Primary Theoretical Perspectives of Sociology Sociology is defined as the scientific study of society and human behavior (Henslin, pg. 10). Sociologists give us a theoretical look into how society and human behavior is affected by life and how it differs all over the Earth from culture to culture. Sociology applies scientific principle to help us explain the phenomena of the human society and its differences in social interaction and behavior. People can be seen socially in distinct points of view with a wide variety of speculated ideas through the use of Sociology’s theoretical perspectives.
The sociologist usually has an idea about what is going on but they will seek data that point towards an explanation for why things are as they are 2. To test theories – in this research, they theory or idea has already been suggested and the data are gathered in order to see if the idea is true. Remember, theories allow us to think about the world we inhabit, it allows us to think through why things are as they are or why things might be different from how they actually seem. Theories are critical; they seek to question, to asssess and to ask Types of data: - Primary data – information generated for researcher’s own purposes Data can be gathered from questionnaires, structured & unstructured interviews, and observation techniques - Secondary data – data that have been done, not necessarily made for sociological research Can be more or less anything else e.g. statistics produced by the state and by private company, as well as letters, diaries, newspapers, books, television (usually related to the study of mass media) Advantages – cheap, quick and easily obtained Disadvantage – not usually produced by sociologists thus not likely match sociologists’ requirements - Both primary and secondary data can be quantitative and qualitative in form How does quantitative data differ from qualitative data?
Use of the Scientific Method in Sociology Sociologists are social scientists who observe the human society. As sociology is also the field of science, it needs to be studied with the application of scientific method. Scientific method is a systematic approach to researching questions and problems through objective and accurate observation, collection and analysis of data, direct experimentation, and replication of these procedures. The principles of the scientific method are mostly concerned with the way of conducting the observations. Sociologists who use scientific method should develop a hypothesis that is falsifiable and when observing the social phenomena they want to study, he or she should not put their personal beliefs in their observation.
Topic: Compare and contrast the Functionalist and Conflict Perspectives on society. Refer to the work of relevant theorists to explain your answer. Sociology is the scientific study of societies and human social behavior (Sullivan 2000). Sociologists investigate the structure of groups, organizations, and societies, and how people interact within these contexts. The theory of functionalism and conflict theory differ in several ways.
Big changes start small. The sociological perspective for this book is the Symbolic-Interaction Approach, which is a Micro-level analysis and asks core questions like, “How do behavior and meaning change from person to person and from one situation to another?” and, “How do people shape the reality they experience?”1 This is consistent with the theory the authors of Switch are trying to prove, which is if we can figure out how to motivate people to change through their interactions with others and the environment and by understanding what drives them, then we can effectively introduce and implement new ways to change. The information derived to prove this theory was obtained through many case studies, and the results were achieved through various surveys, experiments and observations, and by using sample populations, which is a smaller number of subjects selected to represent the entire population, as well as, independent and dependent variables. The book is divided in to three sections; the first section introduces the reader to the idea of “Direct the Rider”, the second introduces us to the concept of “Motivate the Elephant” and the third section addresses the final component, “Shape the Path”. “The Rider” is our intellect or conscious mind, “The Elephant”, is our feelings and our hearts’ desires, and “The Path”, is the environment.