SOC 490 - Week 2 - DQ 1 - Social Theories.doc
SOC 490 - Week 2 - DQ 1 - Social Theories.doc PRG211
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Date Created: 11/13/15
SOC 490 Week 2 DQ 1 Social Theories There are three primary social theories (functionalism, conflict theory, and symbolic interactionism) which are used to evaluate social problems. In this discussion board, you are to evaluate the chosen issue/problem that you identified for your Capstone Project from these perspectives. Describe how a functionalist, a conflict theorist, and someone ascribing to symbolic interactionism would explain the key issue and the factors that have led to this issue. Remember that you can draw on what you have learned from your previous courses as well as acceptable academic sources to refresh your memory on these theories and then apply them to your selected issue. Response: The topic I chose for my project is substance abuse and its relationship to suicide. Often, people committing suicide have an underlying problem with substances. The relationship is unclear because of the terms suicide and overdose. No one can really know if an overdose is accidental or a suicide. Response: In our guidance from this week and the knowledge I have gained from our previous classes, functionalism is the study of society and its functions and dysfunctions. Durkheim believes if everything in society is functioning, there is no reason to ‘rock the boat.’ Agreeable as it is, conflicts will occur creating dysfunction. Relative to alcoholism (substance abuse) and its relationship to suicide, as a dysfunction, Durkheim labels this dysfunction as anomie. The breakdown of society produces a state of confusion and the breakdown of social norms that regulate behavior (Stephens, Leach, Jones, & Taggart, 1998). Anomie is all forms of deviant behavior, hence, suicide . The conflict theory focuses on social problems. Through the guidance of this class as well as knowledge from previous classes, social problems occur on issues of class, power, and capitalism. In relation to alcohol abuse (substance abuse) and suicide, the conflict theory applies to those individuals struggling with these issues leading to substance abuse and suicide (Stephens, et. al, 1998). The symbolic interactionists’ view of substance abuse/suicide focuses on the daily activities of the study group. For instance, if a person is depressed he or she may hang out at the local bar because friends are there and when they drink, they become happy. Therefore, the consumption of alcohol for this person is a symbol of happiness (Stephens, et al, 1998). I think the Interactionist theory would provide the best opportunity to create a hypothesis and further research because of observation. The Social Learning Theory would also apply by interviewing those individuals growing up in an environment where alcohol is the norm. I have narrowed down my topic to middle class and alcohol abuse. Alcohol is the leading cause of suicide according to my research that will be included in my paper. Reference:Stephens, P., Leach, A., Jones, H. and Taggart, L. (1998). Think Sociology. Cheltenham, Gloucetershire United Kingdom: Nelson Thornes Publisher
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