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Social Theory - Essay Example

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Social Theory Introduction Social issues at any level can be observed through three major sociological viewpoints namely conflict theory, functional analysis and symbolic interactionism. These viewpoints provide notional paradigms for explaining how different social issues influence the activities of people in a society…
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Download file to see previous pages Each viewpoint uniquely conceptualizes society, social force and activities of individuals in a society. The Conflict Viewpoint of Society Conflict theory observes society where people are engaged in continuous struggle for securing adequate amount of resources. It is a macro approach of viewing society as it deals with the collaboration of numerous cultural groups who fight in order to acquire power. For instance, conflict theory inspects how and why the gap between wealthy and poor individuals has impacted on quality of education, healthcare and lifestyle among others. The rich people can afford better accommodation and have a tendency to live with people of similar status, whereas the poor individuals are forced to live in distinct areas. Due to this reason, the cost of living increases in the areas where wealthy people live for gaining better education and better housing. As a result, it enhances their prospect of success. Conflict theorists advocate that once inequity starts to take roots, those at the high social status are unlikely to drive for social change. The conflict theory is criticized on the point that it demonstrates negative perspective of society. This theory eventually points philanthropic efforts, selflessness, classlessness, civil rights and other positive aspects of society in order to control the masses, rather than to preserve the interests of masses (Pearson Education, 2013). The Functionalist Perspective of Society Functional theory observes every component of society as an inter-reliant aspect which supports the functions of society. It defines society as a structure of interdependent elements. It is also a macro approach of viewing society which emphasizes entire social system. For example, in a society, government provides education to children who in future pay taxes to the government in order to keep the society running. Thus, according to functional viewpoint, if anything occurs in one element of society, the other elements will automatically step in so as to restore balance. For example, if the system goes well, the other components of the society can help to maintain order, constancy and efficiency. Functional theorists consider that society is managed by social harmony where people agreed upon and perform cooperatively for accomplishing the best possible outcome. For instance, during economic crisis, there was a high rate of unemployment. Hence, in order improve the situation, government expenditures were reduced, educational programs offered by universities were trimmed and families had tightened their budget. As a result, a new social order and stability had taken place in the society. The functional perspective was criticized for overlooking the adverse activities of social events. This viewpoint explains the status quo and does not inspire individuals to take actions in order to transform the social environment (Pearson Education, 2013). Symbolic Interactionist Perspective of Society Symbolic interaction theory concentrates on how individual connections between people have an impact on the behavior as well as the society. Unlike conflict theory and functional theory, this paradigm is regarded as a micro approach since it deals with people rather than groups. Symbolic interaction theorists evaluate how social communication stimulate, generate and maintain human relationships. They believe that symbols such as body language, words, signals and imageries can have an impact on communication. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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