In your own words, describe how a sociologist views the social world as a(n): 1. Functionalist 2. Conflict Theorist 3. Interactionist 4. Postmodernist   Finally, include in each section how each way of thinking about the social world views the "glass of water" analogy and why (i.e., the glass is half full, the glass is half empty, and so forth).  

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The functionalist, conflict theorist, interactionist, and post modernist each see the world through different perspectives. Here, we will discuss how each sees the world and whether each is a pessimist (glass half empty) or an optimist (glass half full).

  1. The functionalist sees society as a collaborative whole. Each component of...

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The functionalist, conflict theorist, interactionist, and post modernist each see the world through different perspectives. Here, we will discuss how each sees the world and whether each is a pessimist (glass half empty) or an optimist (glass half full).

  1. The functionalist sees society as a collaborative whole. Each component of society has an important role, and each component is interdependent to make society function. The functionalist is typically optimistic as long as each component of society is present and working well.
  2. Conflict theorists view society as existing in a constant state of competition with the presence of inequality. They believe that this inequality exists at all levels of society, including the political level. In addition to inequality, conflict theorists focus on power and resources. Conflict theorists are pessimists.
  3. Interactionists believe that individuals are shaped through social processes and interactions. Formative interactions include those regarding conflict, cooperation, and identity. They want to understand each individual and learn how they interact with others. This perspective is one of the most widely accepted sociological theories today. Interactionists are typically optimistic.
  4. The post modernist movement developed during the 20th century. It questions the morals, honesty, reason, nature, language, and social progress of society. Post modernists do not believe that there is reliable knowledge available. They believe all information is subjective. The post modernist is generally pessimistic.
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A functionalist sociologist looks at the ways in which the different parts of society are interconnected and rely on each other. In their view, one part of society fills a role that helps the operation of the society as a whole. A functionalist sociologist might look at the interrelatedness or interconnectedness of the water to the glass (and to the faucet, etc). In other words, a functionalist would understand that several components go into creating the glass of water.

A conflict theorist examines the tensions and stresses that result from the unequal distribution of resources in society and looks at these tensions as  catalysts for social change. A conflict theorist might look at the full part of the glass as causing tensions for the empty part of the glass.

The interactionist theory looks at the symbolic meanings people attach to everyday interactions between people. In other words, interactions between people are framed by the symbolic meanings we attach to them. A person from this school of thought might look at what the glass of water symbolizes. For example, is it in a fancy Evian bottle? That type of glass of water would symbolize a world of wealth and privilege.

The postmodern theory stresses the declining importance of once-formative institutions such as the state, church, marriage, school, etc. In an increasingly global and media-driven society, each individual is free to choose his, her, or their own lifestyle. A postmodern sociologist might decide that whatever way the person wants to look at the half-full glass is up to that person's own taste and values. 

 

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