The Sociological Perspective The sociological perspective shows how social forces influence our lives in a very powerful way. It helps us see how groups influence people, with emphasis as how people are influenced by their society. We explore how time and place affect our lives. Such variables of how Jobs, income, education, gender, age and race-ethnicity affect people’s thoughts and beliefs. C. Wright Mills taught us that the sociological imagination helps us to grasp the connection between history and biography.

As we study families and marriages we will explore the broad social context in which people live and how its shapes our beliefs and attitudes and sets guidelines for what we do. The Three Contemporary Theoretical Perspectives Sociologists use three major theories: symbolic interactions, functional analysis and conflict theory. Symbolic interactions Studies how people use symbols to develop their views of the world and to communicate with one another.

Without symbols, our social life would be no more sophisticated then that of animals. It is symbols that define for us what relationships are. Symbols allow not only relationships to exist but also society. Symbols incapacitation’s analyze how our behavior depends on the ways we define ourselves and others. They study face to face relationships and how they make sense out of life and their place in it. Functional Analysis The central concept is that society is a whole unit.

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It is made up of interconnected parts that usually work together for the common benefit. To understand society we need to know how the parts fit together to make sure how we function and what each part does, and how it contributes to society. The term function refers to the beneficial consequences of people’s activities. Functions help keep a group in correct status. Tensions are consequences that harm society. Functions can be manifest (open and intended) or they can be latent unintended that help a system adjust.

Some functions can hurt a system or group and are called dysfunctions, which can be either manifest or lat Conflict Theory This perspective stresses that society is composed of groups that operate in strong competition for scarce resources. Although connections or cooperation may exist on the surface, beneath that surfaces lies a struggle for power between those who have it and those or do not but wish to have control and power.