Perspectives of Sociology : 3 Sociological Perspectives Explained

The previous article was on the essay of sociology. If you want some basic knowledge on that, please consider moving to the previous article. Here, in this article, we’ll be talking about the Perspectives of Sociology. Social perspective is a perspective on human behavior and its attachment to the society as a whole. It generally finds for connections to merge up human behaviors or characteristics with the society they live in. Here’s the sociological perspective definition according to Wikipedia:

The sociological perspective is a particular way of approaching a phenomenon common in sociology. It involves maintaining objectivity; hence, accepting, based on the evidence presented, what may come as a surprise or even a disappointment based on that evidence.

Hope you are able to get out something from this sociological perspective definition. Anyhow, if you are not able to then here’s a detailed sociological perspective essay below.

Let’s begin.

The 3 Perspectives of Sociology

Essentially there are 3 Sociological Perspectives which are widely read or addressed. They are:

  1. Functionalist perspective,
  2. Conflict perspective and
  3. Symbolic Interactionism

1) Functionalist perspective Definition or Meaning:

Herbert Spencer and Emile Durkheim are the two sociologists who collectively worked on the Functionalist perspective of sociology. In simple words, Functionalist perspective signifies how the social order is maintained within a society.

According to Functionalist perspective, the entire society must work together in Functionalist perspective Definitionaccordance to sustain in a state of balance and social equilibrium. So we can say, this perspective justify the unity of the entire group of people who resides together in a society. Even though there are a diverse group of people in the society who have dissimilar interests, they are supposed to support or help each other grow by staying united.

Each of the social institutions has a deep impact on the society on molding or contributing an individual. Firstly, ‘the family’ is one of the basic or primary components which presents a context for reproducing, nourishing, and socializing children. After that schools and colleges act as an institution to transfer knowledge, skills, and cultures to the children. After that comes ‘politics’. Politics help in the governance and administration of a society; Economics for production, consumption, and distribution of goods and services; religion for the worship of God. This is how through the Functionalist perspective, the society as a whole emphasizes the interconnectedness. All these parts are influenced by each other. So the matter of ‘unity’ comes here.

Here’s one more important point to note out,

As we got, there are a lot of elements in the society which are demanded to stay united. BUT from these elements, the ones which contribute to social stability is said to be functional. And on the other hand, if the elements hamper or disrupt social stability, then it is known as dysfunctional.

For most of the sociologists, the functionalist perspective stands to be the most suggested perspectives of sociology.

2) Conflict Perspective Definition and Meaning:

The conflict perspective definition according to Investopedia is as follows:

Society is in a state of persistent conflict due to competition for insufficient resources. It holds that social order is maintained by domination and authority, rather than agreement and conformity.

As we can see from the conflict perspective definition, it’s basically the type of society where there is the fight for power. And every group of people wants to stay ahead of the others. It’s the opposite of Functionalist perspective as there is no unity.

The person behind this perspective is Karl Marx. Conflict perspective can be traced back from his classic works.

Functionalist perspective Definition

Unlike Functionalist perspective, rather working together to achieve a common goal, the individuals work for their ‘personal’ goals and not merge with the society to achieve the common goals. So, in this case, people can work independently.

Getting benefitted by harming or wrecking others by snatching away resources seem to be one of the most distinguishing characteristics. Here, people are dedicated towards their personal goals and they do not care even if others are hurt by their goals. There’s a tough competition in this perspective.

Is conflict perspective not good for society?

Here in this post, we’ll not be against any of the perspectives. Essentially, the conflict perspective isn’t bad. A positive side of this perspective is, it can help people to drive motivation amongst themselves to achieve or acquire more in a society than others. 

3) Symbolic Interactionism definition and meaning:

The third important perspective is the symbolic interactionism perspective. This is one of the most important perspectives of sociology. According to this perspective, the people are ones who exist, take action, and behaveGeorge Herbert Mead is believed to be the foremost person behind this perspective. Here’s a video to help you out in getting the concrete symbolic interactionism definition:

According to this theory, the meaning is not innate in objects, but is, instead assembled and reorganized within different contexts through interaction with the society.

For example, a Boss orders two of his employees to perform a task. He told them to ‘prepare for a meeting the next day‘. So, in response to that one of the employee started doing his assessment which was incomplete, thinking that the Boss would ask about it in the meeting. And the other employee did his work by making calls to all his clients. But the next day, after the meeting is being done, the Boss seems disappointed. It is because he wanted both the employees to prepare the arrangement of the conference room. So, what the Boss told was seen from a different perspective by the two employees.

It is all about how the interpretations are analyzed by people. This actually happens because people attach different meanings to words and symbols. So, there’s diversion of thoughts or meanings from person to person.

According to critics, this theory is too narrow in its research. But according to the supporters of symbolic interactionism, the perspective must be viewed more as a theoretical framework than a formal one.

These were the 3 Perspectives of Sociology. Any questions? Drop it down.

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