Kaneenah Abdul Qadir Discussion Group 1 Writing Assignment #1 January 22nd, 2018 Often when researchers seek to understand their research they support their findings with assumptions known as theories. Theories are methodically devised ideas used to explain some concept. Not only do theories contain concepts but theories contain principles which both help us understand our environment and helps us predict future occurrences.
Theory is important because it allows us to assess problems and discover courses of actions for changing situations. Theory guides research which allows our sources of information to expand as theories continue to build. One can say that theories are a foundation for all knowledge.
In sociology, formulating theory is very similar to formulating theory in other fields of science. The difference is that sociological theories are developed to explain social events and give sociologists the ability to form social hypothesis. Theories differ based on their reach to which an issue extends. For example, you have micro level theories that deal with individuals and small groups. You also have grand theories that deal with a larger scale of perceptions for instance macro-level theories explain how societies function as one. Like other types of theory, it is always progressing and never finished due to new sociological theories forming by adding on to previous works. Classic sociological theories carry their significance When theories allow for various analyzations from different social life perspectives this leads us to paradigms.
Paradigms are basically the framework for different ways of thinking that are shared by specific social groups. Sociology focuses on three main paradigms as a construct for sociological thinking. These paradigms are structural functionalism, conflict theory, and symbolic interactionism. Individually these paradigms fall within different scales or levels of analysis. Structural functionalism falls within a macro or mid-level of analysis. So, it is on a larger scale of perspectives. Structural functionalism focuses on the operations of each division of a society as a contribution to the society as one. Similar to an engine there are different parts that do different jobs to keep the engine running, the different parts of a society do the same so the society can remain operational.
The roles of each part of a society may include fulfilling social expectations or doing each owns part in making the society stable. This can include government, religion, health, education, economic, and many more. Some sociologist feel that structural functionalism contribution a societies stability to takes away from the ability to recognize its dysfunctions. This makes it difficult for structural functionalism to accurately represent social change because its repetitiveness gives the illusion that dysfunction is unique to a society which is not true. For this reason, sociology has shifted structural functionalism to mainly a mid-level analysis.
Conflict theory falls within a macro level of analysis also a larger scale of perspectives, Conflict theory focuses on the way in which imbalances in a society creates levels of power based on dissimilarities. This involves the competition for limited resources. Conflict theory further breaks down the different roles within structural functionalism as they would vary to distinct social classes.
The balance of social institutions thrives off of which classes of the society are able to obtain more resources. The competition of social groups in some societies have also included inequalities based on gender and race. Many sociologists are skeptical of conflict theory because its focus on conflict tends to condemn a societies stability. Symbolic Interactionism focuses on individual interactions and communications with others within the society. This is why it falls within the smaller scale of perspectives known as micro level of analysis. In other words, symbolic interactionism deals with individual relationships compared to how individuals in a society reciprocate their perception of the world surrounding them.
This give emphasis to the theory that people shape societies rather than fall into place. Symbolic-interactionist allow sociologist to center their research on patterns of interaction. While some sociologist studying religious practices may focus on different religious groups as a whole, other sociologist showing interest in symbolic interactionism would focus on how individuals interact and communicate within different religious practices. Research of symbolic interactionism often includes interviews, surveys, individual observations that helps social scientist comprehend the world of each individual perspective. This leads them to believe that the real world is only the cognitive conceptions of individuals also known as constructivism. Symbolic Interactionism faces controversy because some believe these that its focus on symbolic interactions are beneficial while others believe that its of limited significance to society.
In applying these social paradigms to an executive summary from USDA and HHS Diet Guidelines you may be more able to understand the significance of each paradigm and how they play a role in sociology today. In theory this summary seeks to prove that physical activity and eating habits that strive to reduce calorie intake, can result in healthy weight and less chance of illness and disease. Structural functionalism would emphasize on cultural traditions that promote bad or good eating habits. Americans as a society are at greater risk of the negative effects of poor diet and physical health because their overall consumption of sodium, calorie, fats and sugars. When dealing with conflict theory it is significant that fifteen percent of American families are unable to obtain the food resources needed to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
With that said many Americans who have the resources to obtain the proper food diet still does not. Symbolic Interactionism may focus on each individua’s effort to enforce these guidelines within their lifestyle. There are many ways these paradigms can be applied to any social concept.
They serve as a construct to social thinking that may broaden your understanding of any theoretical topic within sociology,