9/12/13 – Thursday TEST 1 – CH 1 & 5
• Applied Sociology: the use of sociological analysis to solve social problems
• Basic (pure) Sociology: professional sociology
Theoretical Perspectives in Contemporary Sociology
Theory - is a general statement about how some parts of the world fit together and
how they work; it is an explanation of how two or more facts are related to one
1. Symbolic Interactionism – microlevel
• Focus is on how people themselves define reality, how they make sense of the
world, how they experience and define what people are doing. Ex. Not
running around naked
• Assumption is that social structures are created through interactions among
people so that patterns and standards of behavior emerge, i.e. social reality is
a construction by people.
• Focus on meanings assigned to actions and symbols, how meanings are
learned and modified.
- E.x. kid urinates in sandbox, 25age dies in sandbox, 50age crawls on
• Inquires into factors that influence how we interpret what we say and do, and
patterns that give rise to same interpretation for many.
• Suggest individuals exist in analogy to actors in a play – dramaturgy, a sub-
theory of interactionism.
- Ex. Different stages (settings), social life is a stage in which people
perform. People are in a sense, actors that play a role (e.g. mother, what it
means to be a college student)
• Goffman’s dramaturgical approach understanding social interaction through
an analogy of theatre and performance
• Astage in which people interact and perform
• Humans are both actors and audience members
• Parts they play are roles in everyday life (mother, teacher, factory worker) • The roles change depending on upon the setting
ex. Daughter is an honor student
• Roles consist of two types: “front stage” and “back stage”. Periods of rest.
Ex. Restaurant customers – can I have some more water? Sure, one moment
sir… that asshole at table 7 is killing me!
• Characterized by difference in behavior – formal and informal
2. Functionalism (also known as Structural Functionalism)
• Focus on order whose complex system whose parts work together to promote
• Society is a system of int