This essay explores the similarities and differences between structural functionalism, conflict theory and symbolic interactionism as some of the sociological theories which try to explain the behaviors of a society from different angles…
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The present research has identified that structural functionalism is a macro level sociological theory which focuses on structures and institutions in a society on a large scale. It formulates its principles by viewing the society as a whole. All the elements or parts of the society are independent as well as interrelated, according to this theory. Individuals constitute families, and families constitute societies. However, individuals have different roles in the family and society. For example, an individual could be a son/daughter, husband/wife, or brother/sister in a family. On the other hand, the same individual could be a friend, leader, or professional in the society. Obama is the husband of Michel whereas he is the leader of all Americans. In other words, Obama is an independent person; at the same time, he is interrelated to many things in the society. Structural functionalism studies these independent and interrelated elements of people in the society. Karl Marx is one of the major contributors to the conflict theory. “Marx believed that he could study history and society scientifically and discern tendencies of history and the resulting outcome of social conflicts”. “Class, for Marx, is rooted in social relations of production, and cannot be referred in the first place to relations of distribution and consumption or their ideological reflections” (Slaughter). Marx’s conflict theory can be made clearer using the following example. Imagine the living standards of a manager and an ordinary worker working in the same company. The worker would definitely compare his standard of living with that of the manager. He may develop a feeling that irrespective of his hard work, the manager or the company is not delivering enough salary or incentives to him. Such a thought will create a sense of dissatisfaction in his/her mind, and he/she may join trade unions to fight for his/her rights. It should be noted that the objective of the organization or the manager is to derive the maximum out of the employee by giving him/her the least salary possible whereas that of the worker is to achieve maximum salary with minimum efforts. These two contrasting interests often lead towards conflicts. Like the structural functionalism theory, the conflict theory is a macro level theory. It focusses on institutions, structures, and hierarchies in the society. This theory argues that society consists of different interests groups competing for limited resources. It should be noted that the community resources are limited in number, but all the groups in the society are fighting for the control of limited resources. For example, America can accommodate only one government at a time.
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Perhaps like other new disciplines or approaches, symbolic interactionism is fundamentally a departure from deeply held principles of the time. Indeed, the principles salient in this sociological theory are very far from the traditional type of sociology known in the early period of the 20th century.
Marxism has been extremely influential amongst the perspectives in sociology especial where criminology is concerned. In criminology Marxist explanations have shifted slightly from the traditional Marxist approach to much more thinned-down approach. Marxist traditional approach is commonly referred to as left idealism by critics because it was considered more ideal and less practical.
For illustration, this is evident in essence of objects, events and certain mode of human behaviors. Symbolic Interactionism asserts that, individuals are the core source of diverse interpretations and meanings concerning diverse entities in life. The application of this concept varies with people and regions, where its implications are not conventional (Jeon 250).
The assignment is about a scenario that someone has been hired to work as a consultant by a local police commissioner to offer one’s expertise on research on criminal justice. On the other side, the assignment would be for educational information for the police captains who want to come up with a new city wide crime prevention strategy.
This theory focuses on the symbolic meaning that individuals create and use during social interaction. Symbolic interactionism understands society by focusing on the subjective meanings that individuals assign to behaviors, occurrences, and objects. Such subjective meanings are emphasized because it is assumed that individuals act according to their belief and not simply based on what is objectively factual.
Although I have experienced symbolic interactionism in different aspects of life, the most palpable experience came about when organizing a cloth donation campaign. My friends and I decided to form a cloth donation group to help the poor people in Senegal.
Learning and development are two of the areas psychologists focus on while studying humans. It is with these agendas that Piaget and Vygotsky developed their theories. These theories shed light on some of the mysteries of learning and development. However, the psychologists
Conflict theories intrinsically criticize the social system, pointing out the general contrast in ideologies. The two have different methods of explaining the stereotyping, deviance, and ethnocentrism of society.
Functionalism suggests that each aspect in the society is interdependent and in turn contributes to the functioning of the society. For instance, the government will provide education to the children that will intern benefit from the taxes paid when
The meanings are derivatives of social interaction and may be modified through interpretation. A situation or event only has real consequences when people define it as real. The definition and attribution of reality are based on the expression of language that
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