New version page

Pitt SOC 0010 - Sociological Theory extended

This preview shows page 1 out of 4 pages.

View Full Document
View Full Document

End of preview. Want to read all 4 pages?

Upload your study docs or become a GradeBuddy member to access this document.

View Full Document
Unformatted text preview:

Sociological TheoryModern School of Thought – Structural Functionalism - Structural functionalism or simply functionalism sees society as a functioning whole; a society functions as a whole due to the functions of its individual structures - Comte, Spencer, Durkheim - Society is viewed as an ordered system of interrelated parts, or structures- Each part performs a function for the whole - Robert Merton clarified the difference betweeno Manifest functions – obvious intended functions of a social structure/system Example – In elementary education, the manifest functions are to teach kids how to read, write, spell, etc. o Latent functions – less obvious unintended functions of a social structure/system  Example – In elementary education, the latent functions are learning how to come into a room, sit quietly and listen for a period of time (underlying functions that education serves)Modern Schools of Thought – Conflict Theory- Conflict theory sees social conflict as the basis of society- Materialist view – a view that focuses on the actual resources available to people- Focus on social change - Takes a critical view of the status quo – conflict theorists think about how societies can be different to reach a particular goal of society Modern Schools of Thought – Symbolic Interactionism- Symbolic interactionismo Interaction and meaning are central to societyo Assumes that meanings are not inherent but are created through interaction- Uniquely American contribution to sociology and has proved to be an incredibly influential perspective in sociology - Three tenets of Symbolic Interactionism o Symbolic interactionism, the process by which things are sociallyconstructed: 1. Human beings act toward ideas, concepts and values on the basis of the meaning that those things have for them 2. These meanings are the products of social interaction in human society 3. These meanings are modified and filtered through an interpretive process that each individual uses in dealing with outward signs - Symbolic interactionism: an exampleo Different types of chairs – Are these the same? Do they have thesame meaning? What do you think of when you see each? One chair is found in a dining room, where you sit properly. Another chair (recliner) is used for comfort. The beach chair is used to relax. The way we interpret different chairs is through interactions and learning the rules of a particular context. A symbolic interactionist would be concerned with the behavior around each chair. New Theoretical Approaches – Feminist Theory- Feminist theory looks at gender inequalities in society and the way that gender structures the social world New Theoretical Approaches – Queer Theory- Queer theory is a paradigm that proposes that categories of sexual identity are social constructs, and that no sexual category is fundamentally either deviant or normal New Theoretical Approaches – Postmodern Theory- Postmodern theory is a paradigm that suggests that social reality is diverse, pluralistic, and constantly flux- We have multiple ways of understanding a single thing CultureDefining culture- Culture is the complex system of meanings and behavior that defines the way of life for a given group or society- Culture includes beliefs, values, knowledge, art, morals, laws, customs,habits, language, and dress, among other things- Culture includes ways of thinking as well as patterns of behavior- Culture allows of adaptation to extreme environments – we couldn’t survive without culture- We create our culture and our culture creates us- Culture defines the boundaries we use to distinguish “us” from “them”- Culture is both material and non-material o Material – objectso Non-material – norms, customs, values, beliefs, ideas Characteristics of culture - Shared – people within a culture share customs, beliefs, language patterns, etc.- Learned – learned both informally and formally- Taken for granted- Symbolic – symbols are objects or ideas to which people give meaning;different cultures assign different meanings to symbols o Example – in the United States, “thumbs-up” means something good, but in parts of the Middle East “thumbs-up” is equivalent to the middle finger - Variable – culture varies across time and space and adapts to the environment around itElements of culture- Languageo System of symbols which allows us to communicate abstract thoughto Primary way that people communicate with one anothero Perspective o Universal and varying – all cultures have language but language is different across cultures; people attach different meanings to different words and soundso Sapir-Whorf hypothesis – thinking and perspective shape the way we view the world; language determines other aspects of culture because language provides the categories through whichsocial reality is defined; language determines what people think because language forces people to perceive the world in certain terms - Normso Specific cultural expectations for how to behave in a given situation o Society without norms would be chaoso With norms in place, people know how to act, and social interactions are consistent, predictable, and learnableo There are norms governing every situation; some are informal and others are formalo Folkways – general standards of behavior adhered to by a group;ordinary customs of different group customs; may be loosely defined and loosely adhered to, but they structure group customs and implicitly govern much social behavior Examples – how you dress, how people greet each other, how people decorate their homes, how people prepare their food o Mores – strict norms that control moral and ethical behavior; provide strict codes of behavior; often upheld through rules and lawso Laws – the written set of guidelines that define right and wrong in society; formalized mores; violating a law can lead to serious consequences Example – underage drinking; in some cultures, when someone violates this law, others do not look at him/her differently o Taboos – strict mores that when violated, disgust other people Example – incest, cannibalism - Beliefs o Shared ideas held collectively by people within a given culture about what is trueo Shared beliefs bind people together in a societyo Basis for many norms and values of a cultureo Provide a meaning system around which culture is organized - Valueso Abstract standards in a society or group that define ideal


View Full Document
Loading Unlocking...
Login

Join to view Sociological Theory extended and access 3M+ class-specific study document.

or
We will never post anything without your permission.
Don't have an account?
Sign Up

Join to view Sociological Theory extended and access 3M+ class-specific study document.

or

By creating an account you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms Of Use

Already a member?