Major Theoretical Frameworks In Sociology By 1. Define the major points of each of the major theoretical frameworks in sociology. Choose a social issue (other than divorce) and apply the three sociological perspectives to the chosen issue. The three major theoretical frameworks are symbolic interactionism, functional analysis, and conflict theory. Symbolic interactionism is a microsociological analysis, meaning that it focuses on face-to-face interactions between people, and uses symbols to understand the surrounding world. These symbols can range from family members, to teachers, to doctors and police officers, to love.
These symbols are the basis behind people’s’ actions. Functional analysis is a macrosociological approach and views society as a whole unit that works together, similar to the organs in a body. In this functional analysis framework, all parts work together harmoniously to balance each other out. Conflict theory is also a macrosociological approach, but it focuses on how groups are competing for resources, rather than how they work together as it does in functional analysis. It describes class conflict as a key to human history. Let’s reflect on the issue of cyberbullying.
Symbolic interactionism suggests that because of the rising popularity of computers and other technologies, cyberbullying is becoming increasingly popular. Functional analysis suggests that as children progress through school, their relationships become more complicated and cyberbullying is inevitable with the loss of functioning friendships as attachment to computers grow. Conflict theory suggests that because children come from very different backgrounds, bullying is bound to occur because of the class conflict, and technologies are only making it easy for these ullies to tease other children.
2. Thoroughly discuss the relationship between theory and research. Theory is defined as the way parts of the world work together and how facts are related. Research is the discovering of new ideas. Theory and research depend on one another. Theories might create questions for sociologists to research while research might help generate a theory. Without research, theories have no support, and without theories, research is just a conglomeration of facts.
3. What are norms? How do they develop? Discuss how norms are regulated by society as well as the difference between folkways, mores and taboos. Norms are the unwritten rules of society. Each group determines its’ own norms through defining expectations that best reflect that group’s values. These rules of behavior each society possesses are regulated by both positive and negative sanctions. Positive sanctions are rewards for following the norms society creates such as getting promoted for following the norms of a job. Negative sanctions are the consequences that come from straying from societal norms.
This might include getting a speeding ticket or getting yelled at by a boss or authority figure. Folkways are norms that aren’t strictly enforces such as wearing matching socks. If you see someone wearing mismatching crazy socks, you aren’t likely to say anything, but you’ll probably notice. Mores stray far from society’s norms and are considered more serious such as heroin or cocaine addictions. The consequences for mores is often jail time. Taboos are things that are so strongly repelled, that it often disgusts people even talking about them, such as child pornography.
What are the components of material and nonmaterial culture? Provide the definition and an example of each. Material and nonmaterial cultures are both vital, distinguishing parts of society. Material culture are tangible items such as jewelry or clothing. The women in Africa often wear bright colored clothing and earrings that stretch out their earlobes. This is an example of material culture. Nonmaterial culture are things that can’t be touched, but can be learned about and passed through generations. These can be beliefs, values, language, or gestures.
Thoroughly discuss the “nature vs. nurture” controversy. Define each term and the types of research that can provide data to support each argument. The debate between nature versus nurture has been around since sociology first became an area of study. Nature is defined as a person’s heritable traits, or the traits they are born with. Nurture is defined as the traits that develop over time based on a person’s surroundings. The best research done regarding nature versus nurture is the study of identical twins, especially those separated at birth.
The book describes the unique case of twins Jack and Oskar. Jack grew up with his father in a Jewish family in Trinidad where he learned to hate Hitler, always work hard, and leaned more toward a liberal political stance. Oskar, however, was raised in a Catholic family in Czechoslovakia by his mother where he loved Hitler, so much so he even joined the Hitler Youth as a young boy. When Oskar grew up, he appreciated leisure time, and leaned toward a more conservative political stance.
These differences make a solid case for the nurture standpoint, however, their similarities such a both enjoying similar types of alcohol and spicy foods, playing sports, and having a strong disliking for math show that it’s a combination of nature and nurture that make up a person. 6. List the major stages of the life course and briefly describe what transpires in each. The life course is the breakdown of five major stages of life. It begins with childhood, followed by adolescence, transitional adulthood, the middle years, and then, the older years.
Childhood occurs between ages zero to twelve. During this time, children are highly moldable by their surroundings, and this is when they first begin to realize what society expects of them. The book notes that today, “we view children as needing gentle guidance if they are to develop emotionally, intellectually, morally, and even physically. ” The second stage of life, adolescence, occurs between thirteen and seventeen. In this stage, teens are often described as being rebellious and filled with angst.
Transitional Adulthood is the stage between ages eighteen and twenty-nine where people often postpone the onset of adult responsibilities by going to college and trying to define who they truly are. It is during this stage that people are free from parents, but don’t necessarily have to support themselves. It’s a way to ease into adulthood rather than jumping in all at once. The middle years begin with what is called the early middle years. During this time, adults are sure of themselves and their goals in life; however, it is the most common time for loss of jobs and divorces.
This is followed by the later middle years where people begin to realize their time left is limited. It is often considered the most comfortable period of life seeing as most people in this age category experience job security, marriage security, and high standards of living. The middle years are followed by the later years. These begin with the transitional middle years, a time between retirement and the onset of health issues, where people enjoy good health and take advantage of their final years in good health. The later older years come with frailty and health problems and is ended by death.
7. Define a social institution. Name at least four of the ten discussed in the textbook and discuss the basic needs they supply for society. A social institution is defined by the book as a “standard or usual way that a society meets its basic needs” (99). These shape people’s behaviors and encourage them to follow social norms. Four social institutions are family, education, medicine, and law. Family provides reproduction so a society can continue to grow or maintain size. It is the family’s responsibility to teach children what is appropriate and what is not as well as protecting the children from harm.
Education is responsible for passing knowledge from generation to generation. Without this passing of information through education, members of the society could never move forward because they would be stuck relearning the information that was failed to be passed down. Medicine is necessary to keep members of the society healthy. Without medicine, the lifespan of a society would be significantly lower, and the quality of life would also be lower. Law is necessary to keep society in order and maintain social order. They often enforce norms, specifically mores. . List and describe each of the five maior social revolutions, including their causes and consequences for social life.
9. What is a bureaucracy? Discuss the characteristics of bureaucracy as well as the dysfunctions. How do bureaucracies create both a positive and negative impact upon members of society? 10. Define what is meant by “The McDonaldization of Society. ” What are the potential advantages and disadvantages of a completely rationalized, standardized society? Apply these to the example of a college education.