While small rifts may throw off the balance of society, because of the structure, society will eventually return to a balanced state. Institutions and social facts/norms are two structures that are connected and work together to create a nice balance in order to maintain social order and stability. Institutions are structures that meet the needs of the society such as social classes, education systems, religions, business, and many more. Social facts are accepted ways of thinking and acting formed by the society. Efferent 4) For example, in a current movie, Divergent, when a member of the society reaches a certain age they must choose one of several factions to be a part of. Society is divided into five efferent factions based on human virtues: Abnegation (the selfless), Amity (the peaceful), Candor (the honest), Dauntless (the brave), and Erudite (the intelligent). There was also a faction called Divergent. Members considered as a divergent had all qualities and could not be easily manipulated as society thought they should be. They could not be easily controlled and were considered rebellious and a threat to society.
Divergent were also feared because no one knew what to expect from them, so they were sought out to be killed as not to worry about them disrupting the smooth flow of society. Without each faction though, the society would not be able to function as a whole. Society is dependent on the structures that create it. August Come, the founder of sociology, developed the “organism analogy. He created the thought that sociology, like a cell is dependent on all the little parts that make it up. Every part has a specific function that also depends on other parts of the cell.
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Herbert Spencer went on to say that as societies became larger, the parts become more complex. He was influence by sociologist Charles Darwin who stated that societies evolve the same as living organisms. Without everything working together, the organism would die and the same would be true for society. (PPTP slide 4) The Conflict Theory observes society as “multiple groups competing for limited resources. “(PPTP slide 6) It shares one feature in common with the functionalist theory: it is a macro level theory that focuses on institutions and structures.
This theory is based on the ideas of Karl Marx in the 19th century who believed society evolves through several stages. In the 1 9th century, Europe was considered to be a capitalist society. The bourgeoisie (upper class) were the minority of the population, while the majority were aerialists (lower class). (Efferent 12) One would think that the majority would have more control over the minority as they do into today’s political world, but the bourgeoisie actually had the power. The upper class owned the factories that made products people needed and they sold them to earn a living.
The proletarians were dependent on the factory owners to get paid. However, the factory owners were also dependent on the workers to work in their factories to produce the needed supplies. As the workers realized the factory owners were abusing them, they all united with the common goal of coming stronger to overthrow the capitalist status quo. The bourgeoisie was content with the situation, but the proletarians were not and spoke out for change. Eventually, the two sides would come to some sort of compromise.
The struggle between the two classes is continual and always changing. (Efferent 1 3) Conflict theorists are interested in the power and power relations of society. Marx was concerned that economic inequality would create a change in society and was unfair to many. Marx had a mainly optimistic outlook about the future and believed his theory could improve conditions. Weber on the other hand was more negative and disagreed with Marx. He saw a correlation between capitalism and Protestantism where people worked hard their whole lives.
The idea is that they would save their money instead of spending it so when the industrial revolution needed money; there was a group of people with both strong work ethic as well as money to invest. (Efferent 12-13) The idea of two opposing sides has occurred countless times throughout history. WEB Dubos was the first African American sociologist and was very influential in equal rights and women’s suffrage movement. PPTP slide 8) He also coined the term “double consciousness”. He applied this term to race as African- Americans viewing themselves through a Caucasians eyes.
This concept though can be used for social class, race, gender and many other groups. (Efferent 17) The conflict theory doesn’t take into account the stability a society could potentially experience. It also doesn’t explain how a society is held together and leaves many thoughts unanswered. When trying to study and understand the world we live in though, it does present a different perspective. Symbolic Interactions is a micro level theory. Unlike the functionalist and conflict theories, it focuses primarily on individuals rather than large-scale structures such as businesses or organizations.
It is a small-scale perspective that concentrates on the individual in a society and their interactions with others. This theory was compiled from the findings of George Herbert Mead in the early 20th century. He believed that the development of an individual was a social process. (PPTP slide 10) Charles Horton Cooley created the “looking-glass self” concept. This means that we often view ourselves as a reflection of how others see us. We first imagine how we appear to others, and imagine their judgments made about us.
Based on those factors, we then develop a self- concept and no longer see ourselves through our own perspective, but through someone else’s eyes. (PPTP slide 10) The movie The Blind Side contains many examples of this theory. For example, Michael, a homeless teenager tries to fit in with those around him. At school, he never talks and struggles to impress his peers. He had Worn out clothes and very few personal belongings. A Symbolic Interactions theorist would look at things that he doesn’t have: a home, clothes, or personal possessions and loud note this as a symbol of poverty and homelessness.
To Michael, there are items and people that have different meanings to him. The Toothy family that selflessly took him in represents the love and compassion in his life that he didn’t have before. His football team stood for discipline and teamwork and created a great bond with one another. Michelle old life in the bad parts of town represented his problems and past life. However, all of these little things put together created and shaped him as in individual. Before he was taken in by the Thou family, he saw himself as a low life that would never get chance to succeed due to the way he was raised and the way his peers treated him.
The family that took him in and cared for him changed his self- perspective. He became a more confident, well-rounded individual because of the people around him that viewed him as an amazing person. Michael experienced a variety of social interactions with different people, which caused a continual change and growth as an individual. Symbolic Interactions doesn’t ask the same question as the large-scale sociology theories do. Symbolic interactions may miss the larger issues of society by sousing too closely on the individuals rather than the entire society.
This theory does allow us to see how symbols are the basis of society. Without them, there would be no interaction and therefore, no society. Part II Education plays a vital role in both in individuals’ lives as well as society as a whole. Sociologists view that role through several different perspectives. Functionalists believe that education prepares people to perform different practical roles in society. Conflict theorists view education as a way of widening the gap in social inequality. Symbolic interactions study the dents as an individual and how they assign meaning to the environment around them.
Functionalists view education as one of the most important intuitions in a society. Continuing education allows an individual to gain more knowledge so they can contribute more to society. Education can contribute to both manifest and latent functions. Colonization is one manifest function connected with education. From a young age, students are taught different community roles. Druthers would most likely study discipline and how children interact with others. He would also investigate how they would tangentially prepare for future societal roles. Colonization could also include learning about the norms and rules of the society.
Today, students may also be exposed to a number of cultural norms and learn about different cultures in society. Social control is also learned through the education system. Schools must teach their students respect for authority and conforming to the rules. These principles will stick with the students and eventually become useful when entering the workplace environment. (PPTP slide 4) Education also satisfies several latent functions. Courtship and relationships are inevitable in school. Making plans with friends, planning a date, creating a study group are all relations that become available through school.
Students can also network with teachers, professors, and other faculty to establish useful connections for current and future endeavors. These types of connections may not have the ability to be experienced in a homeless setting, which only increases the value of education. (PPTP slide 4) A functional sociologist might inquire how education contributes to society as a whole. The answer is that most educational system creates well-rounded students that will learn many useful kills that will prepare them to become productive members of society.
Another question may ask what values are reflected through education. There are so many planned and unplanned lessons and standards that are experienced through school. The truth is, all individuals will have a completely different experience through their schooling careers, but all will have the same basis to build off. Discipline, work ethic, and communication are all shared practices that will be useful throughout different phases of life. (PPTP slide 5) Education viewed through the conflict theory focuses more on the rower stance and how students are affected by social inequality.
To conflict theorists, the education system maintains the status quo. The types of educational opportunities are very much related to social class. Student who come from a lower class status are typically not allowed the same opportunities as a higher class student, no matter how great their academic abilities or their desire to succeed. For example, there is a student from a low class home who strives to excel in school. On Tuesday, he is is given a report that is due Friday morning. When he gets home from school, he finds out he as to babysat his three younger siblings while his single mother works all night.
The next day, he has an out of town football game with school and doesn’t arrive home until 1 1 :Mom. Thursday, he finally has time to work on his paper, but is so tired he cannot focus on his assignment. His mother barely speaks English and is unable to help him also. The family also does not have a computer, Internet, or printer like many of his classmates do. I think this example shows that lower class students are more likely to struggle with school when they come from a financially unstable background. Resources re not available, study conditions are poor, and the student may potentially lack support from their families.
It would also be interesting to see how W. E. B Dubos would have compared different races in social classes in relation to educational opportunities. One concern may be who has the power and how is it being used? One point to bring up is that the educational systems, especially in today’s world are very much technology dependent. Also, students of a higher class may have more resources available to assist them with schooling needs. The school then is in the power and allowing students f lower classes to not succeed as well as they could.
A compromise must be made between the students and the educational systems in order too allow fair and equal educational opportunities for people of all classes. (PPTP slide 8) Symbolic interactions such as Charles Horton Cooley may study how “labeling” affects a student. This is particularly interesting considering not only self-applied pressure, but exceptions they feel they need to meet based on what others think. The “looking glass self’ concept is very applicable in an educational setting. (PPTP slide 12) “l have to go to this school, it is rated umber 2 in the country for my major! So many students, especially those in college are worried about their grades/GAP, what degree they will come out with, and where they graduate from. Many labels are acquired throughout a student’s educational journey. To some students, it is imperative to graduate from a prestigious school, because for them it is a symbol Of elite education and academic success. Other students may be happy to just go to a community college, and for them it is a symbol of simply furthering their education. Most every student though has one common goal: they want to succeed.