Class Notes (806,815)
Canada (492,451)
York University (33,494)
Sociology (802)
SOCI 1010 (242)

Sociological perspective Sociological perspective - Sociology’s Four Main Theoretical Traditions

5 Pages
Unlock Document

York University
SOCI 1010
Timothy Mc Cauley

Sociological perspective - Suicide – antisocial act, an individual act. However, Durkheim found other causes of suicide that were not just individual. Durkheim’s book “Suicide?” was revolutionary because it looked at social causes of suicide. Sociology’s Four Main Theoretical Traditions 1) Functionalism: How is social order supported by macrostructures? - Religion, family or economy are based on two things: rules and norms. - Example of rule: No smoking in the classroom - Example of norm: Professor stands and talks while students sit and write notes; norms are unwritten rules that all institutions work with S.D. Clark (Canadian functionalist, U of T, 1919-2003) - Human behaviour is governed by stable patterns of social relations (“social structures”) - Social structures can either maintain or undermine social stability (i.e. family conflict can be a result of economic instability) - Suggests social structures are based mainly on shared values - Argues that re-establishing equilibrium – best way to solve most social problems Talcott Parsons (best known functionalist) - Best known for identifying how various institutions must work to ensure smooth operation of society as a whole Robert Merton - Proposed that social structures have both manifest and latent functions - Example: School exists to support achievement of schools, but an unintended function is that it reinforces the status quo. Everyone is considered an equal in the system but there is also a “hidden” curriculum where some people succeed and some don’t – is it related to race, gender, etc? 2) Conflict Theory: How is social inequality maintained and challenged? Karl Marx - Conflict theory originated in the work of Karl Marx (Germany) -Historical or dialectical materialism - Struggle between classes to resist and overcome opposition of other classes (Proletariat vs. Bourgeoisies) - Marx believed workers would become aware of their exploitation (i.e. develop class consciousness) and revolt as a result -Bring about a socialist (communist) society C. Wright Mills - Laid foundations for modern conflict theory in the late 1960s - 1960s: with its growing civil unrest – that conflict theory took hold in North America - Conflict among classes, nations, races and generations was the very essence of society (Vietnam War, Civil Rights movement) -Gave rise to important contributions to conflict theory 3) Symbolic Interactionism: How do people create meaning when they communicate in micro-level settings? -Interaction of lecture hall: not just students and professors, but people outside of the classroom, building, and campus - Two-way process: interpreting other people’s language (body) - We communicate on the level of symbols - Focuses on interpersonal communication in micro-level social settings - Emphasizes social life is possible only because people attach meaning to things - Stresses people help to create their social circumstances, not merely react to them - Arose out of influence of Weber, Mead and Goffman - People attach meaning to things to gain a clear sense of the significance of their actions (e.g. role of Protestant ethic in early capitalist development – Protestant had to prove that s/he was going to be saved by God) Max Weber - Weber noted growth of the service sector of economy, with its many manual workers, managers and professionals - Weber is interested in status moreso than class - Occupational groups stabilize society because they enjoy higher status (eg. Wearing or owning certain symbols that shows your wealth such as a BMW and Louis Vuitton) - Liberal theory, whereas Marx’s theory is radical - Showed that class conflict is not the only driving force of history - Argued politics and religion also are impor
More Less

Related notes for SOCI 1010

Log In


Don't have an account?

Join OneClass

Access over 10 million pages of study
documents for 1.3 million courses.

Sign up

Join to view


By registering, I agree to the Terms and Privacy Policies
Already have an account?
Just a few more details

So we can recommend you notes for your school.

Reset Password

Please enter below the email address you registered with and we will send you a link to reset your password.

Add your courses

Get notes from the top students in your class.