Sociology for Care pg.84
What is Sociology?
Sociology is the study of human behaviour it includes the way we think and behave, Sociologists use terms such as norms, values and roles. It is the systemic study of society; theories try to give an insight onto why we may act a certain way or how we think for example by looking at social trends.
1. Explain one similarity and one difference between structural and action theories.
One Similarity- Both interested in explaining and making sense of the social world, we live in.
One Difference – Action theories look at the individual and how society has changed over time, this theory is interested in explaining how the individual shapes society. By using qualitative methods of research, (i.e. understanding and interpretability by carrying out unstructured interviews for example asking people). Whereas Structural theories look at the whole of society, these theories look at how society has changed over time, by looking at social trends examining quantitative data (numerical form).
2. Identify and briefly describe two key features of each of the following sociological theories.
Key point one: Society is seen as being made up of inter-connected parts, which form a system (the social system). Understanding of each part is essential and can only be gained by looking at the functions it has in relation to the whole. Functionists’ empathize the importance of looking at parts of society, such as the family in terms of their function in and in the maintenance of the social system (as a whole), if these parts do not work collectively this can lead to dysfuctionaility.
Key point two: Consensus on norms, roles and values - Functionalists believe that without collective conscience/ shared values and beliefs, achieving social order is unattainable and social order is vital for the well-being of society. They believe that value consensus forms the basic integrating principle in society. In addition, if members of society have shared values, they therefore also have similar identities; this helps co-operation (working together) and avoids conflict. Value consensus also ensures that people have shared: - Goals, Roles and Norms. Norms can be described as specific guidelines of appropriate behaviour; for example, queuing and when purchasing things.
Key Point Three: Stability and continuality
Functionalists believe society viewed as being stable and largely unchanging. It believes we all have the same collective conscience (norms, roles and values), which perpetuates in culture. This theory is seen as a conservative view (traditional).
Key point four: Dysfuctionaility
Dysfuctionaility is when a group/person does not conform to society’s consensus on appropriate behaviour. It could be perceived to be threatening the stability of society.
+ Positives and - negatives
+ Harmonious approach – Peace and order
+ Ideal for social order - The ultimate goal for Functionalists is to ensure that social order is maintained under any circumstances. This identifies areas of society that are not functioning and applies intervention.
Does not embrace social change (outdated) - Functionism is a very conservative (traditional) theory that does not embrace social change.
Does not account for conflict - As Functionalism focuses on consensus and social harmony; it clearly attempts to avoid discussion of conflict within society. For example, they do not acknowledge power struggles generated by social class, gender, ethnicity, religious/political beliefs etc.
Consensus? – Functionalists believe that everyone has the same norms and values and that we all live in harmony. Is this really the case? How can a society like the UK which is so diverse, maintain a value consensus when we all value different things?
Key point one: Social conflict and change – Conflict theories draws attention to power differentials for example class conflict (different groups will possess