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Sociological Paradigms. Sociologists often disagree with many things pertaining to their topics of study. What issues are most relevant? How to make sense of findings? What theories can be gathered from facts. SO, Sociology has 3 main Paradigms to better understand any topic.

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Sociological paradigms

Sociological Paradigms

Sociologists often disagree with many things pertaining to their topics of study.

What issues are most relevant?

How to make sense of findings?

What theories can be gathered from facts.


So sociology has 3 main paradigms to better understand any topic
SO, Sociology has 3 main Paradigms to better understand any topic

  • Paradigm- theories, perspectives, models, or way of looking at something

  • In a sociological sense, paradigms are models that researchers use to view the world.

  • Structural Functional

  • Social Conflict

    3. Symbolic Interaction


Structural functional
Structural Functional

  • Society is… a complex system whose parts work together for solidarity and stability i.e. Think human body

  • Core ideas:

  • Social structures in society function to maintain and preserve social order

  • Examples of Social structures (institutions) – family, work, school, religion, economy

  • members of society share a set of values and behaviors

  • * This is a MACRO approach – looking at the “big picture” of society and what “makes it tick”


Structural functional1
Structural Functional

  • These social institutions function in 3 ways:

  • Manifest function- obvious purpose

  • i.e. school – to teach young minds

  • Latent function – unintended consequence

  • i.e. school – match maker

  • Dysfunction – negative consequences due to different needs

  • i.e. school – tracked classes help high achievers, leave behind low achievers


Structural functional2
Structural Functional

Problems:

  • May justify and legitimize negatives i.e. poverty or unemployment

  • Works to promote status quo

  • social conflict and instability not accountable or are considered dysfunctional


Social conflict
Social Conflict

  • Society is… an arena of inequality that generates conflict and change

  • Core ideas:

  • conflict as inevitable part of social life (can be good if change occurs)

  • emphasis on the role of competition in producing conflict(competing for resources…have and have nots)

  • Who benefits at whose expense is the question

  • * This is a MACRO approach – looking at the “big picture” of society and what “makes it tick”


Social conflict1
Social Conflict

Issues related to this paradigm, no matter what topic:

  • social class (have/have-nots) - age

  • race - equality/inequality

  • ethnicity - distribution of wealth

  • gender - distribution of power

  • education - social prestige


Social conflict2
Social Conflict

Problems:

  • overemphasize tensions and divisions

  • relationship between groups more complex

  • situations exist where subordinate groups control the interactions are ignored


Symbolic interaction
Symbolic Interaction

  • Society is…the product of everyday interactions between individuals

  • There are larger institutions, but society is the interaction of people. You MUST and CAN ONLY understand a setting from the point of view of the people in it.

  • Core ideas:

  • people themselves define reality and experience

  • social reality is a construction by its people

  • must look at peoples’ surroundings, interaction, and communication before we can make sense of them

  • meanings are assigned to actions and symbols (learned, passed on)

  • * This is a MICRO approach – looking at the interaction of people to people


Symbolic interaction1
Symbolic Interaction

Problems:

  • no framework to explain or predict meanings

  • Yeah man…people just live… (Potential for subjectivity in analysis)


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