Essay on sociology theories

Senior Honours Essay

Some of these classic theories include Marxism, Functionalism, and Interactionism.

  • Diary Dates.
  • essays on huck finn racism;
  • Macrohistory: Essays in Sociology of the Long Run | Randall Collins.
  • Slemish College.

There are also more modern or contemporary theories such as Feminism. Each sociological perspective has different beliefs. Marxists are concerned with the distribution of economic power and wealth. This demonstrates liberal feminism, as women should be incorporated into such positions because they are just as equal to their male counterparts. C Symbolic interaction theory is composed of the following: focus on the microsocial world of personal interaction patterns in everyday life; shared symbols and definitions provide the basis for interpreting life; social construction of reality becomes internalized, making it.

Video Games and Sociological Theory July 22, Video games have become as pervasive an aspect of our society as television, with many people spending more time playing video games than watching television. Schaefer, Each of these sociological theories can provide a different view of video games, how they affect society and the subcultures. According to sociologist Edwin Lemert, the majority of sociological theories for deviance fall under the concept of primary deviance.

What this handout is about

Free Essay: Sociological theory creates ways to understand the social world by having different theories to explain understand social life. It aids to make. Free Essays from Bartleby | Angelica Rhyman TUT [email protected] Applying Classical and Contemporary Sociological.

However, Lemert considered secondary deviance to be more important. Everyone is guilty of primary deviance. However, this does not mean that they perceive themselves to be a bad person. This is perception is where secondary deviance comes in. With secondary deviance, the individual, is labeled by the act of deviance that they committed, whether it is by themselves. The term Monopoly Capitalism covers all of those aspects.


Wallerstein proposed an analytic framework. He felt he was conducting world system analysis and not writing world system theory. He believed there were three factors which were essential when establishing a world economy. First, he saw "an expansion of the geographical size of the world in question. Second, the development of variegated methods of labor control for different. Why do we act the way we do? Does the mass media really affect the way a people in a society behave?

Sociologists focus on the environment and the social aspects of human behaviour in order to answer questions like these when studying a particular society. A society is defined as a large social group that shares the same geographical territory. Lacy V. Wood SOC. Through both the acknowledgement of biography and history within the context of sociology, his analysis was able to determine an interesting perspective that tied religion, the end.

Conflict Theory is a sociological theory that views society as a competition for limited resources rather than a system of equilibrium like some sociological theories claim. Instead of saying that everyone is acting the general interest of society, Conflict Theory claims that the only interests that people are concerned with in society are themselves. Nevertheless, it has paved the way for much sociological research and continues to provide a useful explanation of society.

Need Writing Help?

In essence, Functionalism sees society as a 'body' which is composed of many different 'organs' social institutions which all function together for the benefit of the whole. For example, Radcliffe-Brown , a social anthropologist, proposed that all individuals are organised into the body, serving as the cells: individual cells may die, but they are soon replaced and the body lives on.

Sign up to Marked by Teachers

Marxists may argue that the fact that people, like cells, can just be replaced within the social system and their jobs taken over implies that the individual merely serves to please the bourgeoisie. Durkheim advocates this position and believes that the institutions of society all work together to create social equilibrium. Durkheim has a 'homo-duplex' view of human nature, meaning that he sees humans as possessing a good conforming side and a bad impulsive side. If society is to exist without chaos, then this good side needs to 'brought out' and the impulsive side needs to be restrained.

To achieve this, Durkheim claimed that socialisation into a value consensus is necessary. For example, in his study of Aboriginal tribes he discovered that through the worship of religious symbols, individuals were reminded that they belonged to a wider society and for that society to survive they need to be committed to the same values as everybody else. However, Feminists would argue that this value consensus may welcome such norms and values akin to adopting a superior patriarchal attitude, thereby showing that Functionalism downplays and ignores conflictual issues within society.

Parsons also attributes special importance to religion.

Sociology of religion

Like Durkheim , he sees this 'organ' of society as providing a value consensus and thus promoting social solidairty. Specifically, he claimed that "the values of society are rooted in religion" and by deeming certain moral codes as 'sacred', social harmony is preserved. Parsons maintains that all societies have functional pre-requisites, and the many institutions of society function to meet them.

Firstly, he identified the pre-requisite of adaption - the need to survive. He suggests that the economy attends to this requirement. The second is pattern maintenance, which is the preservation of norms and values.

Instant Download

Whilst this provides a solid explanation as to why social order exists, it evades the fact that in some circumstances conforming to the dominant ideology can prove more harmful than beneficial, such as the Marxist belief of the bourgeoisie showing little interest in helping the proletariat, and the Feminist belief of society being patriarchal. Thirdly, he suggests that the legal sytem fulfills the pre-requisite of intergration - the need to control conflict. Through social control and punishment of offenders, conflict can be kept to a minimum and social cohesion can be preserved, ths ensuring that individuals do not conform to deviant norms and values and subsequently adopt a criminal career.

However, Marxists argue that this ignores the fact that a capitalist society is criminogenic, and that as laws are passed by those of the upper classes for their own interst, crime is inevitable and, in some cases, downplayed and ignored.

Related Sociology documents

Parsons identifies goal achievement as the final pre-requisite - the need to set and achieve cultural goals - which is fulfilled by the Government. We can identify through this that Functionalism takes a very 'top-down' view of the world, and this has certainly been useful for understanding large scale aspects of society e.

Functionalism provides a useful explanation of why we have religion, why we have family structres and why some people are more powerful than others. Furthermore, many criticise Functionalists for being too idealistic as they completely ignore conflict and inequality in society. Marxists ask many questions regarding what the function of poverty is and why is it more functional for some to be more powerful than others: they are scathing of the Functionalist approach and criticise it for being ideologically conservative - it supports the status quo by claiming that all social relationships are 'functional'.

Marxists believe that this is a myth and, contrary to being harmonious and unified, society is actually characterised by conflict. Marx proposed that society is composed of two conflicting classes with conflicting interests: the ruling class who hold the power, exploit and manipulate; and the working-class who provide cheap labour.

Neo-Marxists maintain that the institutions of society do serve vital functions, but these are to the detriment of the working-class as they legitimate the ruling class' grip over the masses: capitalism becomes an 'iron fist in a velvet glove'. Through the transmission of values and materialism via the media for example, members of society believe that it is 'only fair to have private property'.

  1. reflective essay writing first person.
  2. Sociological Theories Essay.
  3. this i believe essay edward r murrow.
  4. Edited by Peter Bearman and Peter Hedström.
  5. Sociological theory - Wikipedia?
  6. words start introduction essay.

Both Functionalism and Marxism have one thing in common, however: as mentioned previously, they are both structuralist theories, and their utility in contemporary society has been questioned by Interpretivists, who believe that the idea of society being an external force is simply inconceivable and presents an overly deterministic view of behaviour.

Individuals are active agents in their own lives and they create society rather than society creating them. Only by doing this can we truly understand the motivations behind human behaviour. Consequently, Interpretivists advocate the use of qualitative methodology, such as participant observation, to provide a wealth of data about social actors. For example, sociologist Westwood used participant observation in her illuminating study of working class females. Such methods contrast dramatically with the methodologies normally associated with Functionalists, who adopt a logical positivist approach to the study of society.

This study differed from a Functionalist approach in that it collected data qualitatively as a means of uncovering meanings and interpretations on a micro scale, rather than looking at it objectively through a Positivist mindset and seeing how individuals act as a result of conforming to the dominant ideology.

However, though claiming to be objective, this is actually a subjective discipline, as Functionalists tend to be males of a higher social status and show a lack of interest, in the eyes of Marxists, in the lower classes. This means that any data collected from a Functionalist study of working-class females would be limited and biased.

Moreover, there are a growing number of sociologists who reject all of the above, and contend that because we are moving into a completely different society, we need a completely different approach to understanding this society. This argument comes from the post-modern perspective, which argues that functionalism, just like Marxism, religion or science, is a 'meta-narrative'; a grand theory which attempts to explain everything, and it is neither believable nor defensible.

Post-modernists reject the possibility of actually explaining society as functionalists believe they can, as all truth is relative truth, which is judged by its reliability rather than its validity. In conclusion, we can see quite clearly that Functionalism has been challenged on a number of grounds, and its usefulness is somewhat limited.

Suggested benchmarks

Utilitarianism is often referred to as exchange theory or rational choice theory in the context of sociology. Sociology is not something you just learn when you are just born. As a result, Symbolic Interaction is more adequately suited to explaining how the world is, but is unable to demonstrate and document predictions about how the world might differ, if circumstances were hypothetically altered. Our materials are not sold with digital rights protection - you are able to use them straightaway without password protection. One can simply send an application online instead of filling out paper work. The skills you have already used in writing the other types of papers will help you immensely as you write your research papers.

Despite its shortcomings however, it still offers some very valuable insights for contemporary sociologists. Turner et al.

However, there are some who actually question whether the world we live in is actually 'modern', and if they are accurate, perhaps a new form of sociological thought is required. Giddens argued that a more ideal and potentially more accurate way of collecting sociological data would be to combine both structuralist methodology and social action theory to form his discipline of structuration, thereby gaining quantitative and qualitative data to obtain valid and reliable insight to aid our understanding of contemporary society.

Interpretivist approaches are dissimilar to those of other meta-narratives in that they are neither structuralist nor positivist: they are concerned with the free willl and choice of individuals voluntarism and their role in creating the social structure, as well as how idiosyncratic reactions of social groups affect an individual's identity as social reality consists of meanings and motives.

The knowledge that people gain about society through these meanings and motives can affect the way they behave, although these interpretations are subjective to the individual, meaning that this counteracts the Functionalist view of there being a value consensus. This is known as reflexivity and is shown to be the case within Interpretivist theories of society. Adopting a micro approach, these theories provide useful information with regards to society, although they may also face many challenges and criticisms. Also, Interpretivists prefer to employ qualitative methods as they favour inductive methods over the hypothetico-deductive method in order to interpret society and gain, as Weber called it, 'verstehen'.

The aforesaid sociologist is considered to be the founding father of the dichotomous social action theory, which consists of symbolic interationism and ethnomethodology. With regards to the former - which was initially founded by Mead but coined as such by Blumer - society is deemed to be built up of the interactions between people which take place on the basis of meanings held by individuals. It is all subjective, and qualitative methods may hinder the reliability of findings due to difficulty with analysis.

Moreover, Blumer stated that interactionism consisted of three features: firstly, people act towards objects on the meaning that they have for them; secondly, meanings are the product of social interaction; and thirdly, those meanings are handled through a reflective process where people try to make sense of the situations. For example, teachers may have a role as educators handed down to them by the social structure, the education system and the demands of the economic system, but there is huge diversity in how they choose to perform this role. Furthermore, this has been applied to the labelling theory, whereby individuals are defined in particular ways due to a dominant characteristic and can affect their behaviour.

Sociology and Suicide Essay examples

For example, there is an inaccurate depiction of young Black males being generalised as deviant and hostile towards law enforcement agencies as a result of the stereotypes they are subjected to. This leads to an increase in offical crime statistics portraying this social group as highly deviant despite not necessarily being accurate.

As well as this, teacher attitudes, streaming and labelling can influence educational achievementand lead to the self-fulfilling prophecy as they conform to the attached label, as was shown through the studies of Becker 'Ideal Student' and Rosenthal and Jacobson.