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Three Major Perspectives in Sociology - Online Term Paper

Three Major Perspectives in Sociology

Three Major Perspectives in Sociology

Sociologists analyze social phenomena at different levels and from different perspectives. From concrete interpretations to sweeping generalizations of society and social behavior, sociologists study everything from specific events (the micro level of analysis of small social patterns) to the "big picture" (the macro level of analysis of large social patterns).

The pioneering European sociologists, however, also offered a broad conceptualization of the fundamentals of society and its workings. Their views form the basis for today's theoretical perspectives, or paradigms, which provide sociologists with an orienting framework -- a philosophical ...

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Perspective

Level of Analysis

Focus

1. Symbolic Interactionism

Micro

Use of symbols; Face-to-face interactions

2. Functionalism

Macro

Relationship between the parts of society; How aspects of society are functional (adaptive)

3. Conflict Theory

Macro

Competition for scarce resources; How the elite control the poor and weak

The symbolic interactionist perspective

The symbolic interactionist perspective, also known as symbolic interactionism, directs sociologists to consider the symbols and details of everyday life, what these symbols mean, and how people interact with each other. Although symbolic interactionism traces its origins to Max Weber's assertion that individuals act according to their interpretation of the meaning of their world, the American philosopher George H. Mead (1863 - 1931) introduced this perspective to American sociology in the 1920s.

According to the symbolic interactionist perspective, people attach ...

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meanings to these symbols, but individuals also maintain their own perceptions of what these and other symbols mean. For example, one of the spouses may see their circular wedding rings as symbolizing "never ending love," while the other may see them as a mere financial expense. Much faulty communication can result from differences in the perception of the same events and symbols.

Critics claim that symbolic interactionism neglects the macro level of social interpretation -- the "big picture." In other words, symbolic interactionists may miss the larger issues of society by focusing too closely on the "trees" (for example, the size of the diamond in the wedding ring) rather than the ...

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PAPER DETAILS
Added: 11/3/2012 05:44:00 AM
Submitted By: SAYMORE
Category: Education
Type: Premium Paper
Words: 1461
Pages: 6

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