What Is Sociology Essay Research Paper A

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What Is Sociology Essay, Research Paper A formal definition of sociology would be to say that it is the scientific study of human society or of social problems. The discipline examines all aspects of human behaviour and, in particular, interpersonal relationships and the development of social structures. The sociological perspective is an insight on the things we take for granted. Behaviours like walking down a crowded pavement or waiting in line at a grocery store. Certain ways we act with certain rules we tend to follow to fit into a social setting. There are three major ways of understanding sociology. The functionalist, conflict, and interactionist perspective. A functionalist view of society would be stable & well integrated. People are brought up to perform certain

societal functions. & all aspects of society have a purpose that are needed for the long term survival of society. A conflict point of view is characterized by a struggle between groups. The people and social order are formed by force & authority. An interactionalist view of society is effected everyday through social interaction. People create their own social worlds through relationships and encounters with other people. The social order is maintained by an understanding of everyday behaviour. Marx being a conflict theorist believed in class conflict, a society made up of two groups. Those who have the means to produce wealth and those who don’t. The capitalist class vs. the working class. A factory owner will gain income by allowing people to work for him. The people

working for him must sell their labour power to survive. The rise and fall of different social structures will lead to more advanced social structures in the future. We learn from our mistakes & build from our accomplishments. Marx called this perspective dialectical materialism, which depicts a world of becoming rather than being. Marx believed that religion, family organization, education and government make up the superstructure of society. Spencer viewed society as being very similar to a biological organism, that all different aspects of society have a special purpose to help it survive. He strongly believed in a Darwinian view of natural selection and applied the phrase “survival of the fittest” to the social world. He thought that governments shouldn’t interfere

with society so that we could evolve into more sophisticated beings. Spencer believed in a functionalist society which is made up of institutions like, family, religion, education, state, and economy. He claimed that knowledge was of two kinds, knowledge gained by the individual, and knowledge gained by race. He said that intuition, or knowledge learned unconsciously, was the inherited knowledge or experience of the race. Weber was an interactionist who studied the role religions play in economic development. He became famous for his controversial theory of the Puritan, or Calvinistic, origin of capitalism. He believed the critical aspect of sociology is the intensions, values, beliefs, and attitudes that underlie peoples behaviour. He wanted to learn the meaning behind the

actions. Through this method sociologists try to place themselves in the shoes of other people to identify what they think & feel. Weber stressed the importance of a value free sociology where sociologists should not let their personal biases affect the conduct of their research. Cooley who was also an interactionist, talked about the looking glass self which is the way we think other people view ourselves. He said its an ongoing process sectioned into three phrases. Imagining how we appear to others, imagining how others judge our appearance, and then developing some sort of feeling on the basis of what we perceive others’ judgements to be. He also talked about self image, which is a temporary mental conception we have of ourselves. Self conception, a more over riding view