On what aspect of the problem would your theory focus,i.e. macro structure, micro relationships?


Conceptual Map

Read the following guide to the three central theories of sociology.

Choose a social issue or problem that you know something and attempt to apply each theory to the problem.

On what aspect of the problem would your theory focus (i.e. macro structure, micro relationships)?

According to this perspective, what might be considered causal factors?

What might be considered solutions?

SOCIOLOGICAL THEORIES –A LAYPERSON’S GUIDE Macro Perspectives Structural Functionalism Functionalists view society as a stable, well-organized system in which the parts function to maintain the whole. When disequilibrium occurs, there is a tendency for balance to be restored. In general, there is consensus regarding the basic values in a society. These folks are interested in how the various parts of the social system –its major social institutions –function to contribute to the maintenance of social order. When all members of the group perform their roles correctly, based on societal norms, the group is said to be functioning well. The main reason for the existence of social problems is that societies are always changing and having to adapt to new conditions; failure to adapt successfully leads to social problems.

Society is viewed as a smoothly functioning organism

Parts work together to contribute to well-being of the wholevalues are the “glue” which hold society together

Dysfunctions are the result of dysfunctions within a mechanism (institution)which is a result of deviance from the “norms”

Social change often triggers problems change in values CENTRAL QUESTION: HOW DOES A PART CONTRIBUTE TO OVERALL STABILITY?