Type: Process Essays
Sample donated: Allen Dean
Last updated: June 14, 2019
Through history, sociologists create theories to explain things such as patterns, communication, and social affairs. However, theories go beyond that, theories put a heavier detail of explanation for each one of these social interactions that people face every day. For example, Micro-level theories, such as conflict theory and structural functionalism, primarily attempt to focus on the positive and negative ways on how a society functions. While symbolic interactionism goes deeper into the actual individuals within those communities and the ways they interact.Symbolic interactionism is a theoretical approach that inspects diminutive patterns of social interaction.
Interactionists focus on how humans use signs, gestures, language to create their own views on the world. It is also believe that people use these symbols to define themselves, which is partially the reason why they are constantly changing their own view on themselves. adjusting their view of themselves. An example of this is adolescents seeing adults on TV, magazines, or in public and feeling a need to change themselves to feel socially acceptable. Symbolic interactionists also attempts to grasp how an individual feels in order to understand why they act the way they do.On the other hand, structural functionalism and conflict theory are very much similar in comparison but very much different also. Structural functionalism views society as a complex system of nonsegregated, equivalent parts that work together to keep society balanced. For instance, like a car engine.
Every part of the engine is different but equal in the sense of their importance. With structural functionalism, each part of society has a certain function that it has to fulfill in order to meet the needs of the society in which it exists, hence, the example of the car engine. Through natural and gradual change, a balance has to be restored. To take in how society works functionalists explore into how society operates, what needs must be met, and how they are satisfied. Like structural functionalism, conflict theory prioritizes on the patterns within society. However, the conflict theory believes groups within a society are consistently at a disagreement with one another over limited resources, while structural functionalism believes the complete opposite. Conflict theorists also believe that societies are constantly changing and that some groups have more power than others and that norms and values of a society are made by those with power in order to keep those without power “down”.
Thus, unlike the structural functionalism theory there is no equality in importance. Conflict theorists believe that the way to change society is to change its structure and not directly the individuals within that society.To continue, symbolic interactionism is similar with both structural functionalism and conflict theory because it has to do with the individuals within those societies, while symbolic interactionism differs from these two theories because symbolic interactionism theory would try to determine how the individuals of a certain society interpret their environment or what affect others have on the development of an individual’s self image. To add to that, this theory primary prioritizes the individuals and how their differences in thinking makes the society that they live in function. Both structural functionalism and conflict theories can coincide with symbolic interactionism because within either theory, the criteria for the symbolic interactionism theory would properly fit.
To conclude, these three main approaches are still active in modern sociological out looks today, although these three theories are very different, they all weave nicely together to give a meaning on to why people do what they do, why a society functions the way it does, and the deeper psychological details in the process.