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University of Toronto Scarborough

Sociological Schools of Thought  in sociology, different schools of thought provide different ways of observing, studying, and understanding society  there are 4 schools of thought in sociology: structural functionalism, conflict theory, feminist sociology, and symbolic interactionalism  sociologists can study societies either through a macro or micro view  macrosociology: an approach to sociology that analyzes social systems and populations on a large scale  studies society as a whole  ex: understanding religion by studying religion as a whole (as a social institution)  microsociology: the study of small groups and individuals in the society  microsociologists are interested in understanding the bases of social action and interaction  they study the role and interactions a small group/person has on society  ex: understanding religion by looking at individual worshipers School of Thought: Structural Functionalism  belief that a society is stable when social institutions (family, religion, politics etc.) meet the needs of its citizens  believe that structures/institutions of society work interdependently to meet the needs of the individuals  structural functionalists study how these structures work together to help society function  believe that social structures create harmony and happiness among its members  criticism for this thought: overlooked the issues like poverty and racism which are usually caused by these social structures and institutions which the structural functionalists believe to only serve good in society (they ignore social injustices) Emile Durkheim  Emile Durkheim was a French sociologist (influenced by Comte), who helped propel sociology forward along with Karl Marx and Max Weber  his theories provided the foundation of structural functionalism, and many are still used today  his work was about: society functions logically and protects the interests of its members (
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