There are three primary theoretical perspectives that Sociologist use: symbolic interactionism, structural functionalism and social conflict. These perspectives help sociologist determine how society influences people and vice versa. It’s important to analyze the fundamentals of society and individual behavior, so that patterns can be established and in some cases action can be taken to correct negative patterns. George H. Mead introduced the Symbolic interactionism in the 1920’s, where the significance of symbols defines our everyday life and how people interact with each other. If symbols where not relevant then how would we know how to interact with the people around us such as our aunt, mother, husband and so on .According to the symbolic interactionism perspective, people attach meanings to symbols, and then they act according to their subjective interpretation of these symbols well as to those of others. Faulty communication can occur when there is a difference in the perception of the same symbols or events. One complaint of this method is that it misses the big picture and neglects the macro level of social interpretation.
The structural functionalism view is that each aspect of society contributes to the functioning as a whole and is interdependent. The fundamental belief that society is held together by social consensus, in which members of that society agree and work together to achieve their goals. This view suggests that if all goes well that society will produce order, stability and productivity, if things go amiss society adapts to get back on track. Functionalism frowns upon individuals taking an active role in changing their social environment even if it’s beneficial. Instead it is believed that various parts of society will compensate for the negative components with in the society.
Karl Marx is largely responsible