Functionalism relies very much on the scientific method. By relying on the scientific method, the study of sociology can be observed in the same way one would view the physical world. (McClelland) Most of the ideas of functionalism came from Emile Durkheim. He was a French sociologist that wrote the basis for functionalist theory. Durkheim was one of the first sociologists to use the scientific method and statistical techniques in sociological research.
Though this is often difficult as social facts tend to be unnoticeable therefore sociologists must avoid being bias when developing their theories and concepts. Positivist Popper suggested in his theory of falsification that in order for something to be regarded as a valid science it must try to disprove their hypothesis. He believed that science can never have absolute truth, but the longer it can go without being falsified the truer it is. He rejects
New intellectuals believed that human beings could solve their social problems. Their were 4 key theorists that laid the foundation for contemporary sociological thought. Auguste Comte, the founder of sociology. He wanted to establish sociology as a science, free of religious arguments. He was convinced that using scientific principles, sociologists could solve problems such as poverty, crime and war.
Structural theories such as functionalism and Marxism are macro (large scale), and deterministic: they see society as a real thing existing over and above us, shaping our ideas and behaviour – individuals are like puppets, manipulated by society. Social action theorists use qualitative research methods to gather an in-depth understanding of human behaviour and the reasons behind such behaviour. This method investigates the why and how of decision making, not just what, where and when, for example, covert or overt participant observations and unstructured interviews. Structural approaches use methods that are scientific, as they want quantitative data (e.g. questionnaires and surveys).
Positivists are of the opinion that society can be studied using a scientific approach comparable to the way scientists study the natural world. The early sociologists such as Comte were of this opinion and Durkheim’s famous study ‘Le Suicide’ demonstrated many aspect of this positivist approach. On the other hand an interpretist will take a more humanist approach and are of the opinion that is in fact the individuals free will that shapes societythis social action is in stark contrast to the social systems approach. This is a viewpoint whereby the individual
Butterfield (1965) author of “The Origins of Modern Science” persuasively argues that what materialized in the 16th century and subsequent years was not necessarily the results of new information, but transformed minds. Helweg, (1997) explains that other cultures have made significant findings to the human race; i.e., the Hindus introduction of zero and the Muslins contributions to algebra. Christian also contributed an exclusive set of expectations required by science. Many Christians were not only scientist but researchers that validated that we existed in a methodical universe. They understood that revealing such knowledge would prove powerful in evidence that such a universe was shaped by a methodical
law describes, theory explains * What is the difference between a scientific theory and a scientific hypothesis? theory is well tested, hypothesis is an educated guess * How are scientific theories, laws, and hypotheses similar? they all start with a hypothesis, kind of a step by step analysis * Why is evidence important in science? to support or refute a hypothesis * What happens if scientists discover new evidence that contradicts an accepted scientific hypothesis, theory, or law? it leads to modification of scientific
Criticisms This perspective failed to clearly show how areas of conflict were addressed, as they emphasized agreement and people all having the same shared values (vale consensus). Realistically this is not always evident in society. No clear account was made as concerning the dealings with deviant behaviour in society. Marxism Is an economic political theory by which law is considered an instrument of oppression and control, and which the ruling class uses against the working class. Marxism holds at its core a critical analysis of capitalism and a theory of social change.
Capitalism brought about the industrialisation of modern society, this idea is favoured by Marxists but postmodernists argue that society is not as simple as this. Postmodernism has emerged since the 1970s, in a postmodern society we are defined by what we consume society is not simply one thing but an unstable, fragmented, media saturated global village where image and reality are indistinguishable. Foucault argues that there are no objective criteria that we can use to prove whether a theory is true or false and if we cannot guarantee if knowledge is correct we cannot use it to improve society this view is known as anti foundationalism. Anti foundationalism is based on two key concepts, the enlightenment of achieving progress through true scientific knowledge and any all embracing theory that claims to have the absolute truth about how to create a better society such as Marxism however it is a meta- narrative and is just someone’s version of reality and it is not necessarily the truth so there is no need to accept the claims that the theory makes Postmodernists a reject meta narratives such as Marxism because they have helped create oppressive totalitarian states that have impose their version of the truth on people for example the former soviet union in Russia. Because they believe that all accounts of reality are equally valid so we should therefore recognise and celebrate diversity rather than imposing one
The behavioral revolution in Political Science, advanced tools and techniques of research, concepts and models borrowed from other sciences have enriched political studies and have imparted it greater scientific character. However, while the claim of Political Science to be treated as a science has to be accepted, it has to be done with the reservation that, like all social sciences, it is an inexact and in approximate science and that it is a science of human behavior. The behavior of a person is highly