Paradigms of American Society The four major paradigms, or theoretical perspectives, dominating American sociological thinking are a) functionalism and the systems paradigm, b) interactionism and the conduct paradigm, c) critical theory and the conflict paradigm, and d) exchange theory and ecological perspective (Straus, 2002). The functionalism and the systems paradigm states that the properties of a society are based on the interrelatedness of its members and not on the individual characteristics of the members themselves. The interactionism and the conduct paradigm states that people interact with one another in determining their realities. The critical theory and the conflict paradigm states that social conditions are influenced through group conflicts. The exchange theory and ecological perspective states that social conditions are influenced through interpersonal and intergroup transactions.
(McDonald, 2006, p. 19) How is society constructed? Durkheim believed that society was made up of different institutions which worked harmoniously with each other to produce constancy and unity. Each institution has a different purpose which carries out a certain role in society. Each Institution also works closely with another and creates a functioning society. These institutions can be categorized into four groups.
These things could include social institutions, rules, values, and norms. They have control over an individual’s life. Durkheim believed that society was made of individuals, but in order to study society we must look beyond the individual to the social facts. Social facts act external to the individual and impose themselves upon the individual, according to Emile Durkheim. If the rules of social facts are violated then there can be punishment or social ridicule.
A common question that many people ask about society is why certain events happen and what causes them to occur. Sociology is a study that explains why these questionable events take place, and what motivates human behaviour. Sociology developed from sociologists creating theories based on human behaviour in society. Many sociologists contribute to the study of society by creating ideas and constructing theories in order to try to explain the reasoning for the functioning of human society;. Specifically, Charles Cooley studied the relationship between the individual and society.
He argued that one of the main tasks of sociology was to transform personal problems into public and political issues or vice versa. To have sociological imagination is to have “vivid awareness of the relationship between experience and the wider society" (Mills 2). Overall, sociological imagination is the concept which is based on social locators. As mentioned previously, there is a difficulty to grasp control on class, gender, and race because a person is born into these three categories. In a practical sense, my personal choices are shaped by my social locators.
Looking at society as a whole with individual units that work together to make society function efficiently is the structural functionalism concept. Each unit has a part and is describe as institutions such as family, religion, education, politics, economy and inequality. Because structural functionalism looks at social structure and patterns of behavior it is able to create values for society. As well as, distinguish between visible and suppressed problems within the social structures that may need to be addressed. For instance, homelessness is indication of dysfunction in structural functionalism system.
As you all know, psychologists use many different approaches to understand and explain human behavior, and I am going to talk about the social implications of socio-cultural psychology. The socio-cultural perspective, also known as cultural psychology is one of the many approaches that psychologists use to understanding why humans behave the way they do.3 Cultural psychology looks to understand human behavior and personality by examining the rules of the social group. Some of the factors that cultural psychologists try to focus are race, ethnicity, gender, family, and traditions. In addition, the socio-cultural perspective can also help explain how a similar behavior can be interpreted differently in two countries.3 Since socio-cultural psychology
1. Identifying the social issues: According to the lecture notes complied by Cloete (2011:4), the basic definition of sociology is, that it is “the scientific study of social relations.” Practically, this means that sociologists investigate social relations, which are founded through meaningful social interactions that take place within the social structures that exist and become established through the ongoing social processes, which in turn creates the culture of that society. At an individual level, these social experiences and relations establish a person’s identity and concept of self (his or her personality). Therefore, in identifying the social issues that exist, we have to analyse them from all the different aspects of the social relations
A number of other scholars have argued that this dimension of cultural variation is the major distinguishing characteristic in the way that people in various societies of the world analyse social behaviour and process information. Individualism may be defined as a social pattern that consist of loosely linked individuals who view themselves as independent of groups and who are motivated by their own preferences, needs, rights and contracts. Collectivism, on the other hand, may be defined as a social pattern that consist of closely linked individuals who see themselves as belonging to one or more groups and who are motivated by norms, duties and obligation identified by these groups. People give priority to the goals of these groups over their own personal goals. At a score of 20 China is a highly collectivist culture where people act in the interests of the group and not necessarily of themselves.
Durkheim's theories were based on the concept of social facts. Social fact can be defined as the norms, values, and structures of society. Durkheim believed that collective consciousness, values, and rules are essential for a functional society. His theories concentrate mainly