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Sociological Theories

by: Zoie Motycka

Sociological Theories SOC 100

Marketplace > Ball State University > Sociology > SOC 100 > Sociological Theories
Zoie Motycka

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About this Document

The four theories: functionalism, conflict theory, symbolic interactionism & feminism.
Principles of Sociology
Fang Gong
Class Notes
sociology, sociological theories, Feminism, Symbolic Interactionism, Conflict Theory, Functionalism
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This 2 page Class Notes was uploaded by Zoie Motycka on Thursday January 28, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to SOC 100 at Ball State University taught by Fang Gong in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 31 views. For similar materials see Principles of Sociology in Sociology at Ball State University.


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Date Created: 01/28/16
Sociological Theories Sociological theories: explain social phenomena & guide research Functionalism: ask “how is society integrated?”; inequality is functional in society; optimistic view; view world as harmonious & stable w/shared values Emile Durkheim’s doctoral dissertation The Division of Labor in Society Durkheim described how social order was maintained in societies Robert Merton; American; 1910-2003; On Theoretical Sociology Explored different functions of society Manifest functions: planned & easily observed Latent functions: unplanned & less obvious Dysfunction: undesirable consequences Criticisms of Functionalism -Disregards changes throughout history -Difficult to explain social change -Explains why society is how it is, but doesn’t offer any solutions Conflict theory: asks “how is society divided?”; views class conflict as driving force of social change; non-harmonious & cynical view of society; acknowledges inequality as a bad thing; acknowledges all inequality, conflict & instability in world Karl Marx; German; 1818-1883; founder of conflict theory; concerned w/class inequality Concerned w/social change through social conflict & revolution W. E. B. Dubois; 1868-1963; proponent of conflict theory; 1 African American to receive doctorate from Harvard; created NAACP; concerned w/racial inequality Criticisms of Conflict Theory Max Weber; 1864-1920; German; disagrees w/conflict theory Service sector workers enjoy their status Driving force of society (not just about class, also about politics & religion) Symbolic interactionism: asks “how is society experienced?”; focuses on everyday interaction & social situations at the micro-level; incudes symbols & what they stand for; people’s active role in creating social circumstances Symbols are used… -to establish meaning, develop views of world & communicate w/ others George Herbert Mead; 1863-1931; American Founder of social psychology Erving Goffman; 1922-1982; The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life Criticisms of Symbolic Interactionism Ignore larger social institutions & social process Ignore powerful issues of stability & change Feminist theory: asks “how is society organized by gender & how does gender shape person’s social experience?”; similar to conflict theory w/focus on gender issues -focuses on male privilege (patriarchy) -social structures & social convention determine male domination -perspective of micro & macro-levels of society st 1 female sociologist: Harriet Martineau; 1802-1876; English; feminist


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