Postmodern Theory In Research

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THEORY SECTION:

THEORY QUESTIONS

First, please answer the following MANDATORY questions.
What is sociological theory?

Your response must further address the following:
• What is a concept? Why are concepts useful? How are concepts different from theory?
• How is sociological theorization distinct from philosophical or religious inquiry?
• Articulate a sociological theory concerning your self-identified area of interest in sociology.
• How does this theory account for the agency of the individual?
• In what manner does this theory distinguish between relatively “nonrational” and “rational” motivations underlining human behavior?

Next, please answer any TWO of the following questions.
1. As defined by Durkheim, what is a social fact?
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What are the central assumptions underlying positivism? How does critical theory depart from these central assumptions? How does postmodern theory differ from sociological theory derived from positivist assumptions? Explicate the major ideas of at least one theorist recognized as representing critical or postmodern theory.

3. Compare and contrast how different theorists emphasize rational vs. nonrational dynamics underlying and motivating social action. Next, compare and contrast how different theorists emphasize the individual vs. the collective in explicating the basis of social order.

4. Consider the three iconic classical theorists in sociology: Marx, Weber, and Durkheim. Delineate the major theoretical tenets of each and highlight the major contrasts between them.

Begin your answers below the dotted line.__________________________________________

1. Sociological theory is a system of generalized statements or propositions about phenomena. Sociological theories are paradigms used to examine and analyze social phenomena. Theories are vital to making sense of social life because they connect assorted observations and facts together. In fact, Sociological theories are working in the background of everyday life as researchers seek to understand the world around us and understand society. Sociological theories guide researchers as they conduct their research with a specific framework and procedure which designs research
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Sociological theories are often based in implicit moral assumptions, which contrasts with traditional notions of scientific empiricism.
Theory is a system of generalized statements about phenomena that researchers wish to explore. Scientific theorists explain and predict the phenomena in question and produce testable results.

Religious and philosophical theories are based on certain taken for granted truths and moral assumptions. However, sociological theories are a system of generalized statements about phenomena that researchers wish to evaluate. As we evaluate and analyze taken for granted truths we may question the significance of moral assumptions. The renowned sociologist Emile Durkheim analyzed many of the differences between religious/moral assumptions and the empirical study of sociological theory.

In “the Elementary Forms of Religious Life”, Durkheim saw religious ceremonies not merely as a celebration of supernatural deities, but as a worshipping of social life itself, such that as long as there are societies, there will be religion. Quote: …. Religion is thus a “system of ideas with which the individuals represent to themselves the society of which they are members, and the obscure but intimate relations which they have with it …. For it is an eternal truth that outside of us there exists something greater than us, with which we enter into communion.”
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