Sociology Theories

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There are three primary sociological theories discussed in Chapter One of the text, Introduction to Sociology. Briefly summarize each theory and the major differences across the Functionalist, Conflict, and Symbolic Interaction perspectives.

The Structural Functionalists
Structural functionalist theory was formulated by Radcliffe-Brown, and expounded by Evans-Pritchard: The structural functionalist sees society as a complex system whose parts work together to promote solidarity and stability and focuses on the relationships between the various social institutions like government or religions. This theory recognizes that there is an inherent drive within human societies to stick together and strive toward equilibrium, the cohesion issue. Social inequality refers to any scenario in which individuals in a society do not have equal social status. Social cohesion describes the bonds that bring people together in a society. Interdependence is a central theme referring to the parts of society sharing a common set of principles. (Vissing, 2011)

The Conflict Theorists The conflict theory focuses on the negative, conflicted, and ever-changing nature of society by emphasizing the social, political, or material inequality of a social group with a ruling class and a subject class including classes, genders, races, religions, etc. Within society people have differing amounts of material and non-material resources (the wealthy vs. the poor) and that the more powerful groups use their power in order to exploit groups with less power. According to conflict theory, inequality exists because those in control of a disproportionate share of society’s resources actively defend their advantages. The social conflict theory states that groups within a capitalist society tend to interact in a destructive way that allows no mutual benefit and little cooperation. The…...

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