What do we mean by social inequality?
What is special about the way sociologists approach topics?
The subject matter of sociology is quite often invisible or not directly observable. However sociologists can observe the consequences of such social characteristics as group pressure, authority, prestige and culture.
They then form images of these concepts using what C Wright Mills has called the sociological imagination taking into account the influence in order to view their own society as an outsider might.
What sort of questions do sociologists address?
Sociologists want to understand: What are theories, concepts and propositions and how are they used? A sociological issue as a question we seek to answer with a theory or general explanation of a social phenomenon. A concept is a category of behaviour, events or characteristics that are considered similar for the sake of theory construction.
A proposition is a statement that explains one concept by means of another. If we seek to discover why racial groups sometimes live in harmony and sometimes so not, we may use the concept of racial harmony to describe the differing ways of relating.
The behavior is defined as indicating harmony exists. Sociological theories of inequality of would then state our theory in propositions for example different racial groups will live in harmony in situations where enough work exists for all groups to earn a decent living.
How did the discipline of sociology develop? Sociology developed in the midst of the social and intellectual upheaval surrounding the Industrial Revolution of the 19th century.
Three branches of sociology grew from roots in three interest groups: Karl Marx was the first major proponent of the conflict perspective.
He believed that inequality between classes causes conflict between groups of people and that society must change in order to fulfill the needs of all the people.
Auguste Comte was the French scientist who gave sociology its name and promoted the scientific study of society. Herbert Spencer extended his work developing the idea that society was an organic whole that could be studied much like the human body- the beginnings of structural-functionalism.
Emile Durkheim also promoted sociology as a science and strucutural -functionalism as a perspective with his emphasis on social facts explaining other social facts -for example in his classic study ,Suicide. George Herbert Mead focused on how we use symbols, including language and how our use of symbols influences our social dev elopement and social life.
Max Weber's analysis of the major dynamics of society and social change provides the foundations for much of the sociological theory and research of our time.
His study 'The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism' was an important study of the roots of the industrial Revolution which was sweeping the world in his day.
|Urban sociological theories,Theory Urbanization,Industrial and Urban Society,Sociology Guide||Social Movements Three Major Perspectives in Sociology Sociologists analyze social phenomena at different levels and from different perspectives.|
What are the basic concepts of structural - functionalism, the conflict approach and symbolic Interactionism?
Structural-functionalism assumes that order is dominant in society and that social arrangements arise and persist because they serve society and its members well.
The conflict approach assumes the dominant process in society is conflict and that society divides into two groups the masses and small elite who exploit them.
The symbolic - interaction perspective assumes that the important action in society takes place around the use of symbols that channel our thoughts and thereby define what is socially comprehensible and incomprehensible.
Practitioners of this approach often focus on interaction among individuals in contrast to the other perspective which tend to look more at social institutions. What are the contributions of Mills, Collins, Parsons, Davis, Thomas and Goffman to the development of these theories?
C Wright Mills effectively promoted a general conflict perspective in the US focusing on social class differences and introducing the concept of power elite, a tiny minority of government, military and business figures believed to control the US.
Randal Collins is one of the most articulate voices today from that perspective and he developed a formal theory of conflict applicable to all levels o society, especially analyzing the inequalities in the American educational system.
Talcott Parsons extended Durkheim's tradition into the 20th century developing the idea that society could be viewed as a system that must adapt to changes in its environment, pursue its goals, integrate itself with other systems and maintain order within itself much like a biological organism.
Kingsley Davis is a major contemporary proponent of this structural-functionalism perspective and he analyses wealth and poverty from this viewpoint.
Thomas extended Mead's ideas, theorizing that people define or construct their own social reality and that their definitions become real because they are real in their consequences.Traditional Marxists see the education system as working in the interests of ruling class elites.
According to the Marxist perspective on education, the system performs three functions for these elites: Reproduces class inequality.
Legitimates class inequality. It works in the Continue reading →. Social theories are analytical frameworks, or paradigms, that are used to study and interpret social phenomena. A tool used by social scientists, social theories relate to historical debates over the validity and reliability of different methodologies (e.g.
positivism and antipositivism), the primacy of either structure or agency, as well as the relationship between contingency and necessity. State-centered theories of inequality critique market-driven theories on the basis that capitalists embroiled in the free-market will act to increase their own wealth, exploiting the lower classes.
State-centered theories propose that states should enact policies to prevent exploitation and promote the equal distribution of goods and wages. The classical theories of urban sociology are divided from the works of European sociologists like KarlMarx, Tonnies, George Simmel, Max Weber and those of American namely Park Burgess, Lowis Wirth and Redfield.
Sociological theories are statements of how and why particular facts about the social world are related. They range in scope from concise descriptions of a single social process to paradigms for analysis and interpretation.
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