Sociology is the study of society. Sociology includes the population, culture, race, gender, and beliefs. Society plays a big part in how people behave. To make the world a better place to live in, sociologists try to come together and figure out what they have to improve. There are three major theoretical perspectives and they are symbolic interactionism, functionalism, and conflict theory. These perspectives explain how society influences people and the environment.
Symbolic Interactionism is how we communicate with the world and give meaning. Symbolic Interactionism also means how we interact with symbols such as gestures. Many people use gestures when they communicate to get their point across. “The symbolic interactionism analysis society by the descriptive meanings that people have given to objects, events, and behaviors”. George Herbert introduced Symbolic Interactionism in the 1920s. An example of Symbolic Interactionism would be an artwork. An artist portrays his feelings and meaning through drawings and paintings. The painting may be something that is important to them or it may express how they are feeling at that particular time.
Functionalism is how the world interacts with each other through parts that are related. Whenever we look at small parts, we look for functions and dysfunctions to see how it is related to the larger unit. The founder of Functionalism is Emile Durkheim. “Durkheim envisioned society as an organism since each component plays a necessary role but can’t function alone”. An example of Functionalism would be that we pay taxes so the government can make money so when they are done with our money they give it back to us through tax return.
Conflict Theory is the conflicts that arise when power, status, and class come upon and are unevenly distributed. Conflict Theory was originated by Karl Marx. Karl Marx focuses on the complications between the bourgeoisie which is the higher superiority and the proletariat which are the working class. Karl Marx wanted these two groups to meet eye to eye so they could come together as one. According to Karl Marx, “if the changes made to appease conflict maintained a capitalist system, then the cycle of conflict would repeat. However, if the changes made created a new system, like socialism, then peace and stability would be achieved”. In Conflict Theory, An example of the bourgeoisie would be the manager in a workplace and the proletariats would be the employees. The manager would know that they are higher superiority than the worker.
Each theory relates in some way but they all are set to appease different situation. Using all three theories together will help us to analyze human behavior. We will have a different perspective of social life. If this great sociologist did not come up with these theories, society would be a toxic place to live in. These theories explain the meaning of something and how it affects society.