Comparing the major theoretical perspectives in

Why do you act the way you do? Have you ever wondered why some people are the life of the party and others prefer to curl up with a good book? Or why you remember certain events but not others? Since Wilhelm Wundt opened the first psychology lab inpsychologists have studied various aspects of human behavior, such as personality, brain functions and socio-cultural influences.

Comparing the major theoretical perspectives in

Distinguish macro approaches in sociology from micro approaches. Summarize the most important beliefs and assumptions of functionalism and conflict theory. Summarize the most important beliefs and assumptions of symbolic interactionism and exchange theory.

This implication is misleading. Macrosociologists focus on the big picture, which usually means such things as social structure, social institutions, and social, political, and economic change.

They look at the large-scale social forces that change the course of human society and the lives of individuals. Microsociologists, on the other hand, study social interaction. They look at how families, coworkers, and other small groups of people interact; why they interact the way they do; and how they interpret the meanings of their own interactions and of the social settings in which they find themselves.

Often macro- and Comparing the major theoretical perspectives in look at the same phenomena but do so in different ways. Their views taken together offer a fuller understanding of the phenomena than either approach can offer alone.

Microsociologists examine the interaction of small groups of people, such as the two women conversing here. These sociologists examine how and why individuals interact and interpret the meanings of their interaction. The different but complementary nature of these two approaches can be seen in the case of armed robbery.

Macrosociologists would discuss such things as why robbery rates are higher in poorer communities and whether these rates change with changes in the national economy. Microsociologists would instead focus on such things as why individual robbers decide to commit a robbery and how they select their targets.

Both types of approaches give us a valuable understanding of robbery, but together they offer an even richer understanding. Within the broad macro camp, two perspectives dominate: Within the micro camp, two other perspectives exist: We now turn to these four theoretical perspectives, which are summarized in Table 1.

Slow social change is desirable, but rapid social change threatens social order. Functionalism is a macro theory. Conflict theory Society is characterized by pervasive inequality based on social class, gender, and other factors. Far-reaching social change is needed to reduce or eliminate social inequality and to create an egalitarian society.

Conflict theory is a macro theory. Symbolic interactionism People construct their roles as they interact; they do not merely learn the roles that society has set out for them.

As this interaction occurs, individuals negotiate their definitions of the situations in which they find themselves and socially construct the reality of these situations.

In so doing, they rely heavily on symbols such as words and gestures to reach a shared understanding of their interaction. Symbolic interactionism is a micro theory. Utilitarianism rational choice theory or exchange theory People act to maximize their advantages in a given situation and to reduce their disadvantages.

If they decide that benefits outweigh disadvantages, they will initiate the interaction or continue it if it is already under way. If they instead decide that disadvantages outweigh benefits, they will decline to begin interacting or stop the interaction if already begun.

Social order is possible because people realize it will be in their best interests to cooperate and to make compromises when necessary. Utilitarianism is a micro theory. Functionalism Functionalismalso known as the functionalist perspective, arose out of two great revolutions of the 18th and 19th centuries.

The first was the French Revolution ofwhose intense violence and bloody terror shook Europe to its core. The aristocracy throughout Europe feared that revolution would spread to their own lands, and intellectuals feared that social order was crumbling.

The Industrial Revolution of the 19th century reinforced these concerns.Functionalism. Auguste Comte saw the science of society as essentially similar to natural science.

His positivist approach was based on the principle of direct observation, which could be explained by theoretical statements based on establishing causal, law-like generalizations.

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Each has a different view on social institutions. Structural functionalism holds that a society is essentially like a living organism. That is, a society is made up of various parts that are all necessary to the overall functioning of that society.

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Comparing the major theoretical perspectives in

Only at". Social exchange theory is a social psychological and sociological perspective that explains social change and stability as a process of negotiated exchanges between parties. Social exchange theory posits that human relationships are formed by the use of a subjective cost-benefit analysis and the comparison of alternatives.

The theory has roots in economics, psychology and sociology.

Three Major Perspectives in Sociology