Sociological Perspective

What is the sociological perspective?

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The sociological perspective is a way of viewing humanity as a society. Sociologists try to study the nature of human societies to see how they behave on large scales. Individuals will make clearly defined decisions, and psychology is used to predict how people will react in certain situations; however, groups of people often exhibit strange and contradictory behaviors.

The main goal of the sociological perspective is viewing society as a group that has a logic behind its decisions. It essentially treats society as an organism with a rationale behind the choices that the group makes, even if...

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There are three main sociological perspectives:

Symbolic Interactionism: This perspective focuses on symbols that can be found in society, what those symbols mean to each of us, and how those symbols affect the way we interact with others in our society. See George Herbert Mead

Functionalism: This perspective is an oddly positive way to look at society. It explains that each part of society is dependent on other parts of society and vice versa. All aspects of our society are interdependent, and rely on each other to function. Functionalism is a very passive way to look at sociology. It does not challenge the way things are, but in fact believes that whatever is happening in society is supposed to happen.
See Robert Merton

Conflict Theory: A more negative approach to sociology. Conflict theory focuses on how certain parts of our society are in conflict with each other, and how the "elite" members of our society oppressed the lower class for their own gain.
See Karl Marx and C. Wright Mills.

The sociological perspective is a particular way of approaching a phenomenon common in sociology. It involves maintaining objectivity, not by divesting oneself of values, but by critically evaluating and testing ideas, and accepting what may be surprising or even displeasing based on the evidence. The sociological perspective often assumes that “official” explanations are incomplete or self-serving. It involves a conscious effort to go beyond the obvious and question what is accepted as true or common sense. This is important because common-sense assumptions are usually based on very limited observation. Moreover, the premises on which common-sense assumptions are based are seldom examined. While sociological research might confirm common-sense observation, its broader observation base and theoretical rational provide a stronger basis for conclusions.
The sociological perspective helps us to see general social patterns in the behaviour of particular individuals and offers insights about the social world that extend far beyond explanations that rely on individual quirks and personalities. Essential to the sociological perspective is the sociological imagination. This term, attributed to C. Wright Mills, means “...the vivid awareness of the relationship between experience and the wider society.” It means going beyond the individual and understanding how structural forces shape individuals and their action.
The sociological perspective, as a broad way of approaching phenomena, is different from a sociological paradigm, which is a specific set of assumptions that frame a sociologist's theories and findings