What are the components of a theory in sociology

what are the components of a theory in sociology

Sociological theory

A sociological theory is a supposition that intends to consider, analyze, and/or explain objects of social reality from a sociological perspective, drawing connections between individual concepts in order to organize and substantiate sociological knowledge. Hence, such knowledge is composed of complex theoretical frameworks and zi255.comted Reading Time: 7 mins. In sociology, a few theories provide broad perspectives that help explain many different aspects of social life, and these are called paradigms. Paradigms are philosophical and theoretical frameworks used within a discipline to formulate theories, generalizations, and the .

Much of what we know about societies, relationships, and social behavior has emerged thanks to various sociology theories. Sociology students typically spend a great deal of time studying these different theories. Some theories have fallen out of favor, while others sociologyy widely accepted, but all have contributed tremendously to our understanding of society, relationships, and social behavior.

By learning more about these theories, you can gain a deeper and richer understanding of sociology's past, present, and future. This perspective focuses on hhe symbolic meaning that people develop and rely upon in the process of social interaction. Conflict theory emphasizes the role of coercion and power in producing social order. This perspective is derived from the works of Karl Marxwho saw society as fragmented into groups that compete for social and economic resources. Social order is maintained by domination, with power in the hands of those with the greatest political, economic, and social resources.

The functionalist perspective, also called functionalism, is one of the major theoretical perspectives in sociology. It has its origins in the works of Emile Durkheimwho was especially interested in how social order is possible and how society remains relatively stable. Thekry theory is one of the major contemporary sociological theories, which analyzes the status of women and men in eociology with the purpose of using that knowledge to better women's lives.

Feminist theory is most concerned with giving a voice to women and highlighting what can marijuana do to u various ways women have contributed to society. Critical Theory is a type of theory that aims to critique society, social structures, and systems of power, and to foster egalitarian social change.

Labeling theory is one of the most important approaches to understanding deviant and criminal behavior. It begins with the assumption that no act is intrinsically criminal. Og of criminality are established by those in power through the formulation of what are the components of a theory in sociology and the interpretation of those laws by police, courts, and correctional institutions.

Social learning theory is a theory that attempts to explain socialization and its effect on the development of the self. It looks at the individual learning process, the formation of self, and the influence of society in socializing individuals. Social learning theory is commonly used by sociologists to explain deviance and crime. Robert K. Merton developed structural strain theory as an extension of the functionalist perspective on deviance.

This theory traces the origins of deviance to the how to edit in video that are caused by the gap between cultural goals and the means people have available to achieve those goals. Economics plays a huge role in human behavior. That is, people are often motivated by money and the possibility thoery making a profit, calculating the likely costs and benefits of any action before deciding what to do.

This way of thinking is called rational how to build best paper airplane theory. Game theory is a theory of social interaction, which attempts to explain the interaction people have with one another.

As the name of the theory suggests, game theory sees human interaction as just that: a game. Sociobiology is the application of evolutionary theory to social behavior.

It is based on the premise that some behaviors are at least partly inherited and can be affected by natural selection. Social exchange theory interprets society as a series of interactions that are based on estimates of rewards and punishments. According to this view, our interactions are determined by the rewards or punishments that we receive from others, and all human relationships are formed by the use of subjective cost-benefit analysis.

Chaos theory is a field of study in mathematics, however, it has applications in several disciplines, including sociology and other social sciences. In the social sciences, chaos theory is the study of complex nonlinear systems of social complexity.

It is not about disorder, but rather is about very complicated systems of order. Social phenomenology is an approach within the field of sociology that aims to reveal qre role human awareness plays in the production of social action, social situations and social worlds.

In essence, phenomenology is the belief that society is a human construction. Disengagement theory, which has many critics, suggests sofiology people slowly disengage from social life as they age and enter the elderly stage. Share Flipboard Email. By Ashley Crossman.

Cite this Article Format. Crossman, Ashley. Major Sociological Theories. Sociological Explanations of Deviant Behavior. The Major Theoretical Perspectives of Sociology. Deviance and Strain Theory in Sociology. ThoughtCo uses cookies to provide you with a great user experience. By using ThoughtCo, you accept our.

A List of Sociological Theories, Concepts and Frameworks

These theories include: Continuity, Activity, Differential Association, and Labeling theories. (see American Sociology Association, Theory SOURCE). Let's consider the 4 grand theories one at a time. The Conflict Theory is a macro theory. A Macro theory is a sociological theory designed to study the larger social, global, and societal level of. Define sociology, identify the basic components of the sociological perspective and understand the major sociological theories. Durkheim believed that if he could show that the most individual of acts, which had previously been attributed to psychological causes, had social. behavior. The components of theory are concepts(ideally well defined).

Sociological theories are the core and underlying strength of the discipline. They guide researchers in their studies. They also guide practitioners in their intervention strategies. And they will provide you with a basic understanding of how to see the larger social picture in your own personal life.

Goggles work because the best scientific components work together to magnify, enlarge, clarify, and expand to our view the thing we are studying. Theories are sets of inter-related concepts and ideas that have been scientifically tested and combined to magnify, enlarge, clarify, and expand our understanding of people, their behaviors, and their societies.

Without theories, science would be a futile exercise in statistics. In the diagram below you can see the process by which a theory leads sociologist to perform a certain type of study with certain types of questions that can test the assumptions of the theory. Once the study is administered the findings and generalizations can be considered to see if they support the theory.

If they do, similar studies will be performed to repeat and fine-tune the process. If the findings and generalizations do not support the theory, the sociologist rethinks and revisits the assumptions they made.

They devised a theory on aging that had assumptions built into it. These were simply put, that all elderly people realize the inevitability of death and begin to systematically disengage from their previous youthful roles while at the same time society prepares to disengage from them see Maddox et al. NY for much more detail. Cumming and Henry tested their theory on a large number of elderly persons.

Findings and generalization consistently yielded a "no" in terms of support for this theory. Theories have to be supported by research and they also provide a framework for how specific research should be conducted. By the way theories can be used to study societymillions of people in a state, country, or even at the world level. When theories are used at this level they are referred to as Macro Theories. Macro theories are theories which best fit the study of massive numbers of people typically Conflict and Functional theories.

When theories are used to study small groups or individuals, say a couple, family, or team, they are referred to as being Micro Theories. Micro Theories are theories which best fit the study of small groups and their members typically Symbolic Interactionism or Social Exchange theories.

In many cases, any of the four main theories can be applied at either the macro or micro levels. There are really two distinct types of theories: first, Grand Theories are theories which deal with the universal aspects of social processes or problems and is based on abstract ideas and concepts rather than on case specific evidence.

These include Conflict, Functionalism, Symbolic Interactionism, and Social Exchange Theories; second, Middle-Range Theories are theories derived from specific scientific findings and focuses on the interrelation of two or more concepts applied to a very specific social process or problem. Robert K. Merton was a functional theory-based sociologist who taught the value of using smaller more specifically precise theories in trying to explain smaller and more specific social phenomena.

Let's consider the 4 grand theories one at a time. The Conflict Theory is a macro theory. A Macro theory is a sociological theory designed to study the larger social, global, and societal level of sociological phenomena. This theory was founded by a German philosopher, economist, sociologist, and revolutionary He had very little patience for the capitalistic ideals that undergirded these powerful acts of inhumane exploitation of the average person.

To him struggle was innate to all human societies. Later another German named Max Weber ; pronounced "Veybur" further developed this sociological theory and refined it to a more moderate position.

Conflict theory is especially useful in understanding: war, wealth and poverty, the haves and the have nots, revolutions, political strife, exploitation, divorce, ghettos, discrimination and prejudice, domestic violence, rape, child abuse, slavery, and more conflict-related social phenomena.

Conflict theory claims that society is in a state of perpetual conflict and competition for limited resources. Marx and Weber, were they alive today, would likely use Conflict Theory to study the unprecedented bail outs by the US government which have proven to be a rich-to-rich wealth transfer.

Conflict Theory assumes that those who have perpetually try to increase their wealth at the expense and suffering of those who have not. It is a power struggle which is most often won by wealthy elite and lost by the common person of common means. Power is the ability to get what one wants even in the presence of opposition. Authority is the institutionalized legitimate power. By far the Bourgeoisie wealthy elite royalty, political, and corporate leaders have the most power.

Bourgeoisie are the "Goliaths" in society who often bully their wishes into outcomes. The Proletariat are the common working class, lower class, and poor members of society. According to Marx see diagram below the Bourgeoisie and Proletariat cannot both have it their way and in order to offset the wealth and power of the Bourgeoisie the proletariat often rise up and revolt against their oppressors The French, Bolshevik, United States, Mexican, and other revolutions are examples.

In fact Marx and Weber realized long ago that society does have different classes and a similar pattern of relatively few rich persons in comparison to the majority who are poorthe rich call the shots. Look below at the photographic montage of homes in one US neighborhood which were run down, poor, trashy, and worth very little.

They were on the West side of this gully and frustrated many who lived on the East side who were forced to drive through these "slums" to reach their own mansions. The Conflict Theory has been repeatedly tested against scientifically derived data and it repeatedly proves to have a wide application among many different levels of sociological study. That is not to say that all sociological phenomena are conflict-based. But, most Conflict theorist would argue that more often than not Conflict assumptions do apply.

Feminist theory is a theoretical perspective that is couched primarily in Conflict Theory assumptions. They then turn around and exploit the more common, less well-educated members of society.

Over 24, victims will be compensated by Federal funds. Madoff was sentenced to years in a medium security Federal Prison. The next grand theory is called Functionalism or Structural Functionalism. Functionalist theory claims that society is in a state of balance and kept that way through the function of society's component parts.

This theory has underpinnings in biological and ecological concepts see diagram below. Society can be studied the same way the human body can be studiedby analyzing what specific systems are working or not working, diagnosing problems, and devising solutions to restore balance. Socialization, religious involvement, friendship, health care, economic recovery, peace, justice and injustice, population growth or decline, community, romantic relationships, marriage and divorce, and normal and abnormal family experiences are just a few of the evidences of functional processes in our society.

Sure, Functionalists would agree with Conflict Theorists that things break down in society and that unfair treatment of others is common. These break downs are called Dysfunctions are breakdowns or disruptions in society and its parts, which threaten social stability. But, Functionalists also look at two types of functions: manifest and latent functions. Manifest functions are the apparent and intended functions of institutions in society.

Latent functions are the less apparent, unintended, and often unrecognized functions in social institutions and processes. After the Enron collapse, every company offering stocks for trade underwent a government supervised audit of its accounting processes in order to restore the public trust.

For the most part balance was restored in the Stock Market to a certain degree at least. Does the government also provide latent or accidental functions to society? Take for example the US military bases. Of all the currently open US military bases, all are economic boons for the local communities surrounding them.

All provide jobs, taxes, tourism, retail, and government contract monies that would otherwise go somewhere else. As you can already tell, Functionalism is more positive and optimistic than Conflict Theory the basis for much criticism by many Conflict Theorists.

Functionalists realize that just like the body, societies get "sick" or dysfunction. Equilibrium is the state of balance maintained by social processes that help society adjust and compensate for forces that might tilt it onto a path of destruction. Getting back to the Conflict Example of the gully separating extremely wealthy and poor neighborhoods, look at this Habitat for Humanity picture below.

I took this close to my own home, because it represents what Functional Theorists claim happenscomponent parts of society respond to dysfunctions in ways that help to resolve problems. In this house the foundation was dug, poured, and dried within a week.

From the foundation to this point was three working days. This house is now finished and lived in, thanks mostly to the Habitat non-profit process and the work of many volunteers. From the Functionalism perspective, optimism is appropriate and fits the empirical data gathered in society.

Interactionism comes in two theoretical forms: Symbolic Interaction and Social Exchange. By far, my favorite sociological theory is Symbolic Interactionism. Symbolic Interaction claims that society is composed of ever present interactions among individuals who share symbols and their meanings. This is a very useful theory for: understanding other people; improving communications; learning and teaching skills in cross-cultural relations; and generally speaking, "not doing harm to your roommates" as many of my students often say after understanding this theory.

Values, communication, witch hunting, crisis management, fear from crime, fads, love and all that comes with it, "evil and sin," what's hot and what's not, alien abduction beliefs, "who I am," litigation, mate selection, arbitration, dating joys and woes, and both personal national meanings and definitions September 1, WTC can all be better understood using Symbolic Interactionism. This theory magnifies the concepts of meanings.

Each letter is a symbol. When combined in specific order, each word can be defined. We also know that LARD has nothing to do with either of these two terms for most people at least. Contrast these word pairs: hate versus hope; help versus hurt; advise versus abuse; and connect versus corrupt. These words, like many others carry immense meaning and when juxtaposed sound like the beginning of philosophical ideas.

Symbolic Interactionism makes it possible for you to be a college student. Our daily interactions are filled with symbols and an ongoing process of interactions with other people based on the meanings of these symbols. Most of us never have. If not, you may have to explain yourself.

Symbolic Interactionism Theory explores the way we communicate and helps us to understand how we grow up with our self-concept see socialization chapter. It helps you to know what the expectations of your roles are and if you perceive yourself as doing a good job or not in meeting those expectations.

The Thomas Theorem is often called the "Definition of the situation" which is basically if people perceive or define something as being real then it is real in its consequences. I give a few examples from the media: a woman was diagnosed as HIV positive.

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