Understanding Perspectives in Sociology

Sociology is all about understanding the society and the factors affecting it. It studies about the various changes resulting due to these factors. The complexity of the subject lies in the fact that society itself is a dynamic concept.

Understanding Perspectives in Sociology
Understanding Perspectives in Sociology

Sociology is all about understanding the society and the factors affecting it. It studies about the various changes resulting due to these factors. The complexity of the subject lies in the fact that society itself is a dynamic concept.

 Therefore it becomes a bit difficult to collectively analyze the reasons for these changes. Sociology students face problem in this domain and thus go for assignment help. 

The society our grandfather lived in, differed from the one we are living in. The sociologists use various tools to analyze these very changes in our society over time. These tools are the different perspectives offered:

  • The Conflict Perspective:

 The conflict perspective views society as composed of different parts and groups, competing with each other in order to gain resources and compete for power.

 This perspective studies the various social groups in society and explains which social groups have power and how do these groups benefit from the social arrangement. 

For example, the feminist perspective studies the society from the eyes of its patriarchal set up. It argues that we live in a society dominated by men and therefore studies it in the same manner.

 Karl Marx can be credited with the contribution to this perspective. His research paper writings suggested that society goes through a series of economic development.

 The earlier society was an agrarian one. Agriculture was the main practice and was done to fulfill the survival needs.

 As we moved from an agricultural to an industrial society, the chase for survival needs transformed to that of making profits, thus resulting into a capitalist society. Marx suggested that in such a society the few elite class (Bourgeoisie) dominate the resources and the working middle class (Proletariat) and the lower class, are left to survive in the limited resources. These were the two classes developed during the Industrial Revolution.

 The society’s division into two broad categories of people, the “haves” and the “have-nots”, was beneficial to the owners of the means of production who were the bourgeoisie. 

The workers, who earned only meagre wages, were denied access to these resources available to the elite class or specifically the factory owners. 

Therefore Marx stated that these elite class use their power to control these institutions to their own advantage. Karl Marx gave an analogy to support the same. 

He said that religion serves the same dominance over individuals as their employers. It serves a san opium of mosses. Workers tend to do their work with all due responsibilities so that they are rewarded in the after life. 

It also influences them to lead a moral life in the fear of being punished for the sins. Thus conflict perspective states that oppression and exploitation are important for conflict and conflict is what is inevitable in the society for it to function efficiently. 

  • Functionalism:

 Contrary to the conflict perspective, functionalism states that society is a structure of interrelated parts that function together in order to fulfill the basic needs. 

The main proponent of this theory was Herbert Spencer. He was of the opinion that the various parts of society function together to keep the society functioning, in the same manner as the various organs of body work together to keep the body functioning. 

These organs are comparable to the various social structures and institutions. Emile Durkheim also gave views on this theory. He stated how societies witness change and survive over time.

 He said that all these components of society function together to maintain stability in the society. It is held together by shared values, symbols and languages. Each social institution may have one or more functions to fulfill. 

For example: a family teaches value to the individual, maintains bonds, etc. But although conflict theory could explain the reason and basis for social change functionalism could not.


  • Symbolic Interactionism Theory: 

The perspective, as stated by George Herbert Mead, in his research paper writing, stated that individuals interact with each other based on the symbolic meaning they ascribe to them and these meanings are ascribed based on the human’s interactions with each other. 

Charles Horton Cooley introduced the concept of looking glass self- he said that individuals see how others react to them, they interpret that reaction as positive or negative and then these individuals develop a sense of self based on these interpretations. 

Thus both these concepts were interrelated. Thus symbolic interactionism analyses the patterns of interaction among individuals.

 For example, in case of factory workers’ strike, while conflict perspective would analyze the reasons for this conflict and possible results, symbolic interactionism would analyze how the individuals in this group interact with each other.

 Also, each individual has various roles to play in the society and accordingly interact with people. For example, a woman can be a mother, a daughter, a wife, a daughter-in-law, a sister, an employee, etc. and she has to interact adjusting to all these different roles. 

  • Feminist Theory:

The main aim of this theory is to observe the society from a feminist perspective. Here the sociologists see the dominance of the males in each aspect of the society.

 The various social changes are seen as a result of the dominance of the patriarchal society. It can be said to be a subset of conflict theory and therefore it analyzes it from the feminist point of view. Therefore it highlights the reasons for the suppression of the women in the society leading to an underlying conflict between the two sexes. 

Therefore these are a few perspectives of sociology that offer the different spheres of its analysis. If students understand these perspectives and look at social changes through them they would not need assignment help. Remember, though society is dynamic in nature, it can be studied scientifically by observing the patterns and reasons for changes.