Sociologists behavior of humans and social forces. Symbolic interactionism

  Sociologists use three primary hypothetical
perspectives: the functionalist perspective, the conflict perspective, and the
symbolic interactionism perspective. The three perspectives offer sociologists
hypothetical examples that are used to explain the way society impacts people.
Each individual perspective distinctively analyzes society, the behavior of
humans and social forces.

   Symbolic interactionism perspective is a sociological
micro level perspective that focuses on the connections that members of society
have with each other. Communication is accomplished by finding the meaning of
language and symbols. George Herbert Mead (1863-1931) is viewed as the one that
established symbolic interactionism even though Mead’s work was not published. Mead
had a student by the name of Herbert Blumer, he coined the definition of
“symbolic interactionism” and established that humans can communicate with
objects depending on the meaning that the objects hold. The meaning the objects
hold originates from our communication with other members of society. The
definition of things is determined by a person when they are decoded by someone
that is involved with the objects in circumstances that are specific. If
someone is interested in books, a symbolic interactionist would say that you
have learned that books are of importance because of the interactions you have
had with books in society for example during your bed time story. Your bed time
story was viewed as a special event. You remember your bedtime story by
connecting it with the warmth and comfort you felt.

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   Conflict theory views society as a race for
resources that are limited. The conflict theory is a macro-level approach that
is similar with the views of the sociologist and philosopher Karl Marx
(1818-1883), whom saw society as being established by members of society that
are in different social classes. Marx belief was that social classes must try
to defeat each other by establishing superiority over others for resources such
as food, housing, education, employment and free time. Institutions that are
considered social institutions such as governmental, educational and religious
in their unfair equal treatment help keep the unbalanced social composition.  Members of society and institutions are able
to retain more of the resources that others have and they use their domination
and authority to keep social organizations. Max Weber a German sociologist
coincided with Marx and also believed that not only economic imbalance but also
believed that the imbalance of political power and the set up of the social
structure created friction. Weber stated that different groups of society were
affected in different ways. Some groups were affected based on education,
gender or race, and some members of society reacted to the imbalance were
determined by class dissimilarities and by the idea of the lawfulness of those in
power.

          The functionalism perspective is known
as one of the major theoretical perspectives in the subject of sociology. It began
with the work of Emile Durkheim whom was very interested in the social order and
how it is possible and the way that society is able to remain somewhat stable. The
functionalism theory focuses on the macro-level of social structure instead of the
micro level that is used in everyday life. Functionalism portrays every portion
of society in the way that it contributes to the role it plays of stabilizing society.
Society is more than just each part that represents it. Each part of society is
responsible to the stability of society as a whole. Durkheim saw society as a life
form and as a life form every component is a crucial part because it can’t function
alone. And every part of it feels when there is chaos or trouble, and each part
must find a way to adapt itself and be able to fill the void. The functionalist
theory portrays that the many parts that makeup society are made up of social institutions.
Each social institution is there to be able to fill different needs of society and
each part of society will depend on each other. Sociology defines core institutions
that are all very important to be able to understand this theory and those would
include government, family economy, education and religion.