Theoretical Perspectives Essay

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Which Perspective Do You Hold? : A Theoretical Perspectives Essay Emily Vitel Grand Canyon University – SOC 102 August 31, 2014 According to the American Sociological Association (ASA), sociology is the study of society involving the way people interact and behave with one another. Similar to psychologists, sociologists observe, study, analyze, and conduct experiments, the only difference is that psychologists work with the mental aspect and sociologists are involved with the social aspect of society. As an individual, we each sociologically view the world in a particular way. There are three distinctive ways that individuals can view the world “sociologically”; a place where things simply “work out”, a place that is about relationships between one another, or a place that is in constant conflict. The first way an individual can view the world “sociologically” is called structural functionalism, which is also known as the term functional analysis. This is one of the main theoretical perspectives in sociology. The main idea of this view is that society is viewed as a whole and is made up of interrelated parts that unite. Robert K. Merton was a major enthusiast of functionalism who believed that society as a whole is composed of parts that work together. He introduced the ideas of manifest function and latent function. If a behavior is intended to help a part of society then it would be considered manifest function, whereas latent function would be a consequence unintended for society. When something loses function, it becomes weaker or more fragile. This is why it is very important to keep each interrelated parts of society, functional, that way our society can be viewed as structural functionalism as a whole. Another way an individual can view the world “sociologically” is called symbolic interactionism. According to chapter 1 in the Essentials of

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