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Posted By : Matthew Dixon
8/2/2019 1:19 PM

While many students have enrolled in sociology courses at one point or another, it can be easy to lose information over the summer, work in online resume writing services or school year. There's a lot to be distracted by, which is understandable. If you're in need of a quick refresher, read on!


Sociology breaks down into three perspectives - symbolic interactionism, which focuses on symbols and face-to-face interactions; functionalism, which exams how parts of society interact to be functional; and conflict theory, which focuses on the competition for resources that are scarce.

Symbolic interactionist perspective

From this sociological perspective, sociologists look at symbolism in day-to-day life as well as how humans relate and react to one another. The perspective asserts that we behave a particular way according to our own interpretation of the symbols in the world around us. We give symbols meaning and then we interact with the world based on our perceptions. Words are themselves symbols being exchanged and interpreted by two parties. Symbols are everywhere around us - wedding rings, open umbrellas, etc. We see and experience these things, but have the potential to interpret them very differently. Because this looks at the micro level, it can be easy to miss the larger picture, which is the primary critique of this perspective. Additionally, it does not consider the impact of social issues/pressure on the interactions of an individual. Functionalist perspective According to this sociological perspective, every part of society works in relation to every other part, combining to make a functioning society.

The idea is that everything is essentially reliant on other parts of the system functioning - people go to work to support their families to raise children who do the same, and so on. This should produce an ordered society that continues to function effortlessly. When one variable changes, society must adapt to accommodate for the change. People who hold this perspective believe that societies operate by functioning together - when people agree, things operate well. This can happen through mechanical solidarity in which people with values that align participate in similar work, or organic solidarity in which people of varying beliefs do all kinds of work, as in most industrialized cities. This perspective receives criticism because it doesn't consider more progressive ways of thinking, allowing for people to become complacent in the status quo.

Citizens take a less active personal role in enacting change and adjust as a societal group. Conflict perspective Born of the writings of Karl Marx, the conflict perspective is more interested in the less-positive aspects of society. The conflict perspective often asks why things are the way that they are, advocating for change at any cost. They believe that other people use power/wealth to influence things in their favor at the expense of others. This perspective gained popularity in the 1960s, perhaps when conflict was spoken about outside of the economic sector. Now, theorists recognize the power of conflict between groups of different religions, genders, political affiliations, and other characteristics or affiliations. The competition we see between said groups provides a foundation for a constantly changing society.

Naysayers argue that, among other issues, this view can paint with too broad a brush in regards to relationships. Of course, these perspectives are inherently more complex, so you'll want to study up more for complex classes. Good luck this school year!

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Comments : 4 Comment Write Comment
Sociology is interesting to some while others find it boring. In my opinion, it all comes down to how good your teacher is at explaining concepts and making them look interesting. I think universities should focus on teaching skills as much as they do on publications when hiring a new lecturer. Or else the students will have to look for Sociology Dissertation Topics Help online as they did not understand anything during the lectures.
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