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What are the major differences between the functionalist and symbolic interaction perspectives in sociology? 

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Functionalism considers society at the structural, or "macro" level, focusing on the roles that institutions and even behaviors play in the workings of society. According to functionalist thinking, all parts of society are connected, and institutions have functions within this organic whole. For example, sociologist Emile Durkheim, one of the founders and earliest proponents of what would become known as "functionalism," argued that religion served a societal purpose: it encouraged people to adhere and accept social norms that contributed to order. Symbolic interaction focuses on the interpersonal, what we might call the "micro" level of society. In...

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volleyball96 | Student

One major difference between Functionalism and Symbolic Interaction (SI) is SI is a Micro Theory (small picture) and Functionalism is a macro theory (big picture). One great example of SI is Jerry Seinfeld's form of Comedy. I attached a link for the Close Talker bit from Seinfeld. It basically is the epitome of Symbolic Interaction.