Sociologists use three primary hypotheticalperspectives which are the functionalist perspective, the conflict perspective,and the symbolic interactionism perspective. All of these three perspectives offer sociologists hypotheticalexamples that are used to explain the way society impacts and affects people.Each individual perspective uniquely analyzes society, the way humans behave.
Symbolic interactionism perspective is a sociologicalmicro-level perspective that focuses on the connections that members of societyhave with each other. Communication is accomplished by finding the meaning oflanguage and symbols. George Herbert Mead (1863-1931) is viewed as the one thatestablished symbolic interactionism even though Mead’s work was not published. Meadhad a student by the name of Herbert Blumer, he coined the definition of”symbolic interactionism” and established that humans can communicate withobjects depending on the meaning that the objects hold. The meaning the objectshold originates from our communication with other members of society.
Thedefinition of things is determined by a person when they are decoded by someonethat is involved with the objects in circumstances that are specific. Ifsomeone is interested in books, a symbolic interactionist would say that youhave learned that books are of importance because of the interactions you havehad with books in society for example during your bed time story. Your bedtimestory was viewed as a special event. You remember your bedtime story byconnecting it with the warmth and comfort you felt. Conflict theory views society as a race forresources that are limited. The conflict theory is a macro-level approach thatis similar with the views of the sociologist and philosopher Karl Marx(1818-1883), who saw society as being established by members of society thatare in different social classes. Marx belief was that social classes must tryto defeat each other by establishing superiority over others for resources suchas food, housing, education, employment and free time.
Institutions that areconsidered social institutions such as governmental, educational and religiousin their unfair equal treatment help keep the unbalanced social composition. Members of society and institutions are ableto retain more of the resources that others have and they use their dominationand authority to keep social organizations. Max Weber a German sociologistcoincided with Marx and also believed that not only economic imbalance but alsobelieved that the imbalance of political power and the set up of the socialstructure created friction. Weber stated that different groups of society wereaffected in different ways. Some groups were affected based on education,gender or race, and some members of society reacted to the imbalance weredetermined by class dissimilarities and by the idea of the lawfulness of those inpower.
The functionalism perspective is knownas one of the major theoretical perspectives on the subject of sociology. The workwas started by Emile Durkheim. Emile wasvery interested in the establishment social order and how it was for society tobe partly stable. The theory of functionalismtheory focuses on the macro-level that makes up the social structure. Functionalismportrays every portion of society in the way that it contributes to the role itplays in stabilizing society.
Society is more than just each part that representsit. Each part of society is responsible for the stability of society as a whole.Durkheim saw society as a life form and as a life form, every component is a crucialpart because it can’t function alone. And every part of it feels when there is chaosor trouble, and each part must find a way to adapt itself and be able to fill thevoid. The functionalist theory portrays that the many parts that make up societyare made up of social institutions. Each social institution is there to be ableto fill different needs of society and each part of society will depend on eachother.