Major Theoretical Sociological Perspectives: Similarities and Differences
Sociology: the scientific study of the development, structure and functioning of human society (Oxford). When the topic of discussion is sociology, Auguste Comte, the “father of positivism” would come to mind, as it was he who first coined the term “sociology” (Kreis, 2009). Comte also emphasized that the study of society must be scientific and he pushed sociologists to employ the use of qualitative methods such as observation, historical comparative analysis and experimentation. Sociological Perspective is the way in which we view sociological phenomena (Long, 2011). Among the many perspectives that exist there are three theoretical perspectives that are widely acknowledged by sociologists, these are the symbolic-interactionist perspective, conflict perspective and functionalist perspective.
The analysis of social phenomenon occurs at varying levels by one of the three main theoretical perspectives or paradigms which provide sociologists with an orienting position or rather a philosophical position used to guide their questions about a society and its inhabitants. These phenomena range from evident interpretations to sweeping generalizations of society and its social behavior. Everything is studied from specific events straight up to the “big picture”, this would include the micro levels and macro levels of a society’s social patterns.
The origin of the symbolic-interactionist theory traces back to Max Weber and his assertion that people act in accordance to their interpretation of the meaning of their world. However, George H. Mead was the one to introduce the theory to American sociology. Although he was never able to publish this theory so his student, Herbert Blumer, did after his teacher’s death (Williams, W). The focal point of symbolic-interactionism is the manner in which people...