⌛ The Social Imagination: A Sociological Analysis

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The Social Imagination: A Sociological Analysis



New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction. Most of the The Social Imagination: A Sociological Analysis theorists believed in Freud's basic model of human The Social Imagination: A Sociological Analysis. Their The Social Imagination: A Sociological Analysis taken together offer a fuller The Social Imagination: A Sociological Analysis of social problems than any of the views can offer alone. Sociology 7th Canadian ed. Structure and agency, sometimes referred to The Social Imagination: A Sociological Analysis determinism versus voluntarism[] form an enduring Personal Narrative: My Trip To Kohls debate in social theory: "Do social The Social Imagination: A Sociological Analysis determine an individual's behaviour or does human agency? At its The Social Imagination: A Sociological Analysis, sociology fosters critical thinking, poses analytical questions, and pursues solutions.

A* Sociology: The Sociological Imagination

Together the works of these great classical sociologists suggest what Giddens has recently described as 'a multidimensional view of institutions of modernity' and which emphasises not only capitalism and industrialism as key institutions of modernity, but also 'surveillance' meaning 'control of information and social supervision' and 'military power' control of the means of violence in the context of the industrialisation of war. Ward , who later became the first president of the American Sociological Association ASA , published Dynamic Sociology—Or Applied social science as based upon statical sociology and the less complex sciences , attacking the laissez-faire sociology of Herbert Spencer and Sumner.

In , the oldest continuing American course in the modern tradition began at the University of Kansas , lectured by Frank W. The sociological "canon of classics" with Durkheim and Max Weber at the top owes in part to Talcott Parsons , who is largely credited with introducing both to American audiences. Sociology in the United States was less historically influenced by Marxism than its European counterpart, and to this day broadly remains more statistical in its approach. Weber established the first department in Germany at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich in , having presented an influential new antipositivist sociology.

The Institute for Social Research at the University of Frankfurt later to become the Frankfurt School of critical theory was founded in The contemporary discipline of sociology is theoretically multi-paradigmatic [68] in line with the contentions of classical social theory. Randall Collins ' well-cited survey of sociological theory [69] retroactively labels various theorists as belonging to four theoretical traditions: Functionalism, Conflict, Symbolic Interactionism, and Utilitarianism. Accordingly, modern sociological theory predominantly descends from functionalist Durkheim and conflict Marx and Weber approaches to social structure, as well as from symbolic-interactionist approaches to social interaction, such as micro-level structural Simmel and pragmatist Mead , Cooley perspectives.

Utilitarianism aka rational choice or social exchange , although often associated with economics, is an established tradition within sociological theory. Lastly, as argued by Raewyn Connell , a tradition that is often forgotten is that of Social Darwinism , which applies the logic of Darwinian biological evolution to people and societies. Ward , and William Graham Sumner. Contemporary sociological theory retains traces of each of these traditions and they are by no means mutually exclusive.

A broad historical paradigm in both sociology and anthropology , functionalism addresses the social structure —referred to as " social organization " by the classical theorists—with respect to the whole as well as the necessary function of the whole's constituent elements. A common analogy popularized by Herbert Spencer is to regard norms and institutions as 'organs' that work towards the proper-functioning of the entire 'body' of society. It is in latter's specific usage that the prefix "structural" emerged. As Giddens states: [77]. Functionalist thought, from Comte onwards, has looked particularly towards biology as the science providing the closest and most compatible model for social science.

Biology has been taken to provide a guide to conceptualizing the structure and the function of social systems and to analyzing processes of evolution via mechanisms of adaptation. Functionalism strongly emphasizes the pre-eminence of the social world over its individual parts i. Functionalist theories emphasize "cohesive systems" and are often contrasted with "conflict theories", which critique the overarching socio-political system or emphasize the inequality between particular groups. The following quotes from Durkheim [78] and Marx [79] epitomize the political, as well as theoretical, disparities, between functionalist and conflict thought respectively:.

To aim for a civilization beyond that made possible by the nexus of the surrounding environment will result in unloosing sickness into the very society we live in. Collective activity cannot be encouraged beyond the point set by the condition of the social organism without undermining health. The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles. Freeman and slave, patrician and plebeian, lord and serf, guild-master and journeyman, in a word, oppressor and oppressed, stood in constant opposition to one another, carried on an uninterrupted, now hidden, now open fight, a fight that each time ended, either in a revolutionary re-constitution of society at large, or in the common ruin of the contending classes.

Symbolic interaction —often associated with interactionism , phenomenology , dramaturgy , interpretivism —is a sociological approach that places emphasis on subjective meanings and the empirical unfolding of social processes, generally accessed through micro-analysis. Society is nothing more than the shared reality that people construct as they interact with one another. This approach sees people interacting in countless settings using symbolic communications to accomplish the tasks at hand. Therefore, society is a complex, ever-changing mosaic of subjective meanings.

It is also in this tradition that the radical-empirical approach of ethnomethodology emerges from the work of Harold Garfinkel. Utilitarianism is often referred to as exchange theory or rational choice theory in the context of sociology. This tradition tends to privilege the agency of individual rational actors and assumes that within interactions individuals always seek to maximize their own self-interest.

As argued by Josh Whitford , rational actors are assumed to have four basic elements: [82]. Exchange theory is specifically attributed to the work of George C. Homans , Peter Blau and Richard Emerson. March and Herbert A. Simon noted that an individual's rationality is bounded by the context or organizational setting. The utilitarian perspective in sociology was, most notably, revitalized in the late 20th century by the work of former ASA president James Coleman. Following the decline of theories of sociocultural evolution in the United States, the interactionist thought of the Chicago School dominated American sociology. As Anselm Strauss describes, "we didn't think symbolic interaction was a perspective in sociology; we thought it was sociology.

Ultimately, "the failure of the Chicago, Columbia, and Wisconsin [sociology] departments to produce a significant number of graduate students interested in and committed to general theory in the years —45 was to the advantage of the Harvard department. In addition to Parsons' revision of the sociological canon which included Marshall, Pareto, Weber and Durkheim , the lack of theoretical challenges from other departments nurtured the rise of the Parsonian structural-functionalist movement, which reached its crescendo in the s, but by the s was in rapid decline.

By the s, most functionalist perspectives in Europe had broadly been replaced by conflict -oriented approaches, [87] and to many in the discipline, functionalism was considered "as dead as a dodo:" [88] According to Giddens : [89]. The orthodox consensus terminated in the late s and s as the middle ground shared by otherwise competing perspectives gave way and was replaced by a baffling variety of competing perspectives. This third 'generation' of social theory includes phenomenologically inspired approaches, critical theory, ethnomethodology , symbolic interactionism , structuralism , post-structuralism , and theories written in the tradition of hermeneutics and ordinary language philosophy.

While some conflict approaches also gained popularity in the United States, the mainstream of the discipline instead shifted to a variety of empirically oriented middle-range theories with no single overarching, or "grand", theoretical orientation. John Levi Martin refers to this "golden age of methodological unity and theoretical calm" as the Pax Wisconsana , [90] as it reflected the composition of the sociology department at the University of Wisconsin—Madison : numerous scholars working on separate projects with little contention. In this context, 'structure' does not refer to 'social structure', but to the semiotic understanding of human culture as a system of signs. One may delineate four central tenets of structuralism: [93].

The second tradition of structuralist thought, contemporaneous with Giddens, emerges from the American School of social network analysis in the s and s, [94] spearheaded by the Harvard Department of Social Relations led by Harrison White and his students. This tradition of structuralist thought argues that, rather than semiotics, social structure is networks of patterned social relations. And, rather than Levi-Strauss, this school of thought draws on the notions of structure as theorized by Levi-Strauss' contemporary anthropologist, Radcliffe-Brown.

Post-structuralist thought has tended to reject 'humanist' assumptions in the construction of social theory. The anti-humanist position has been associated with " postmodernism ", a term used in specific contexts to describe an era or phenomena , but occasionally construed as a method. Overall, there is a strong consensus regarding the central problems of sociological theory, which are largely inherited from the classical theoretical traditions.

This consensus is: how to link, transcend or cope with the following "big three" dichotomies: []. Lastly, sociological theory often grapples with the problem of integrating or transcending the divide between micro, meso, and macro-scale social phenomena, which is a subset of all three central problems. The problem of subjectivity and objectivity can be divided into two parts: a concern over the general possibilities of social actions, and the specific problem of social scientific knowledge. In the former, the subjective is often equated though not necessarily with the individual, and the individual's intentions and interpretations of the objective.

The objective is often considered any public or external action or outcome, on up to society writ large. A primary question for social theorists, then, is how knowledge reproduces along the chain of subjective-objective-subjective, that is to say: how is intersubjectivity achieved? While, historically, qualitative methods have attempted to tease out subjective interpretations, quantitative survey methods also attempt to capture individual subjectivities.

Also, some qualitative methods take a radical approach to objective description in situ. The latter concern with scientific knowledge results from the fact that a sociologist is part of the very object they seek to explain, as Bourdieu explains:. How can the sociologist effect in practice this radical doubting which is indispensable for bracketing all the presuppositions inherent in the fact that she is a social being, that she is therefore socialised and led to feel "like a fish in water" within that social world whose structures she has internalised?

How can she prevent the social world itself from carrying out the construction of the object, in a sense, through her, through these unself-conscious operations or operations unaware of themselves of which she is the apparent subject. Structure and agency, sometimes referred to as determinism versus voluntarism , [] form an enduring ontological debate in social theory: "Do social structures determine an individual's behaviour or does human agency? Discussions over the primacy of either structure or agency relate to the core of sociological epistemology i.

Synchrony and diachrony or statics and dynamics within social theory are terms that refer to a distinction that emerged through the work of Levi-Strauss who inherited it from the linguistics of Ferdinand de Saussure. Diachrony, on the other hand, attempts to analyse dynamic sequences. Following Saussure, synchrony would refer to social phenomena as a static concept like a language , while diachrony would refer to unfolding processes like actual speech. In Anthony Giddens' introduction to Central Problems in Social Theory , he states that, "in order to show the interdependence of action and structure…we must grasp the time space relations inherent in the constitution of all social interaction. In terms of sociology, historical sociology is often better positioned to analyse social life as diachronic, while survey research takes a snapshot of social life and is thus better equipped to understand social life as synchronized.

Some argue that the synchrony of social structure is a methodological perspective rather than an ontological claim. Many people divide sociological research methods into two broad categories, although many others see research methods as a continuum: []. Sociologists are often divided into camps of support for particular research techniques. These disputes relate to the epistemological debates at the historical core of social theory. While very different in many aspects, both qualitative and quantitative approaches involve a systematic interaction between theory and data. Most textbooks on the methodology of social research are written from the quantitative perspective, [] and the very term "methodology" is often used synonymously with "statistics".

Practically all sociology PhD programmes in the United States require training in statistical methods. The work produced by quantitative researchers is also deemed more 'trustworthy' and 'unbiased' by the general public, [] though this judgment continues to be challenged by antipositivists. The choice of method often depends largely on what the researcher intends to investigate. For example, a researcher concerned with drawing a statistical generalization across an entire population may administer a survey questionnaire to a representative sample population.

By contrast, a researcher who seeks full contextual understanding of an individual's social actions may choose ethnographic participant observation or open-ended interviews. Studies will commonly combine, or 'triangulate' , quantitative and qualitative methods as part of a 'multi-strategy' design. For instance, a quantitative study may be performed to obtain statistical patterns on a target sample, and then combined with a qualitative interview to determine the play of agency. Quantitative methods are often used to ask questions about a population that is very large, making a census or a complete enumeration of all the members in that population infeasible.

A 'sample' then forms a manageable subset of a population. In quantitative research, statistics are used to draw inferences from this sample regarding the population as a whole. The process of selecting a sample is referred to as 'sampling'. While it is usually best to sample randomly , concern with differences between specific subpopulations sometimes calls for stratified sampling. Conversely, the impossibility of random sampling sometimes necessitates nonprobability sampling , such as convenience sampling or snowball sampling.

Sociologists increasingly draw upon computationally intensive methods to analyse and model social phenomena. Although the subject matter and methodologies in social science differ from those in natural science or computer science , several of the approaches used in contemporary social simulation originated from fields such as physics and artificial intelligence. In relevant literature, computational sociology is often related to the study of social complexity.

Sociologists' approach to culture can be divided into " sociology of culture " and " cultural sociology "—terms which are similar, though not entirely interchangeable. Conversely, cultural sociology sees all social phenomena as inherently cultural. For Simmel , culture referred to "the cultivation of individuals through the agency of external forms which have been objectified in the course of history. Cultural sociology often involves the hermeneutic analysis of words, artefacts and symbols, or ethnographic interviews.

However, some sociologists employ historical-comparative or quantitative techniques in the analysis of culture, Weber and Bourdieu for instance. The subfield is sometimes allied with critical theory in the vein of Theodor W. Adorno , Walter Benjamin , and other members of the Frankfurt School. Loosely distinct from the sociology of culture is the field of cultural studies. Birmingham School theorists such as Richard Hoggart and Stuart Hall questioned the division between "producers" and "consumers" evident in earlier theory, emphasizing the reciprocity in the production of texts.

Cultural Studies aims to examine its subject matter in terms of cultural practices and their relation to power. For example, a study of a subculture e. The " cultural turn " of the s ultimately placed culture much higher on the sociological agenda. Sociology of literature, film, and art is a subset of the sociology of culture. This field studies the social production of artistic objects and its social implications. Durkheim's view of sociology as the study of externally defined social facts was redirected towards literature by Robert Escarpit. Bourdieu's own work is clearly indebted to Marx, Weber and Durkheim. Criminologists analyse the nature, causes, and control of criminal activity, drawing upon methods across sociology, psychology , and the behavioural sciences.

The sociology of deviance focuses on actions or behaviours that violate norms , including both infringements of formally enacted rules e. It is the remit of sociologists to study why these norms exist; how they change over time; and how they are enforced. The concept of social disorganization is when the broader social systems leads to violations of norms. For instance, Robert K. Merton produced a typology of deviance , which includes both individual and system level causal explanations of deviance.

The study of law played a significant role in the formation of classical sociology. Durkheim famously described law as the "visible symbol" of social solidarity. Sociology of law is a diverse field of study that examines the interaction of law with other aspects of society, such as the development of legal institutions and the effect of laws on social change and vice versa. For example, an influential recent work in the field relies on statistical analyses to argue that the increase in incarceration in the US over the last 30 years is due to changes in law and policing and not to an increase in crime; and that this increase has significantly contributed to the persistence of racial stratification. The sociology of communications and information technologies includes "the social aspects of computing, the Internet, new media, computer networks, and other communication and information technologies.

The Internet is of interest to sociologists in various ways; most practically as a tool for research and as a discussion platform. Online communities may be studied statistically through network analysis or interpreted qualitatively through virtual ethnography. Moreover, organizational change is catalysed through new media , thereby influencing social change at-large, perhaps forming the framework for a transformation from an industrial to an informational society. As with cultural studies , media study is a distinct discipline that owes to the convergence of sociology and other social sciences and humanities, in particular, literary criticism and critical theory.

Though neither the production process nor the critique of aesthetic forms is in the remit of sociologists, analyses of socializing factors, such as ideological effects and audience reception , stem from sociological theory and method. Thus the 'sociology of the media' is not a subdiscipline per se , but the media is a common and often indispensable topic. The term "economic sociology" was first used by William Stanley Jevons in , later to be coined in the works of Durkheim, Weber, and Simmel between and The relationship between capitalism and modernity is a salient issue, perhaps best demonstrated in Weber's The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism and Simmel's The Philosophy of Money The contemporary period of economic sociology, also known as new economic sociology , was consolidated by the work of Mark Granovetter titled "Economic Action and Social Structure: The Problem of Embeddedness".

This work elaborated the concept of embeddedness , which states that economic relations between individuals or firms take place within existing social relations and are thus structured by these relations as well as the greater social structures of which those relations are a part. Social network analysis has been the primary methodology for studying this phenomenon. Granovetter's theory of the strength of weak ties and Ronald Burt 's concept of structural holes are two of the best known theoretical contributions of this field. The sociology of work, or industrial sociology, examines "the direction and implications of trends in technological change, globalization , labour markets, work organization, managerial practices and employment relations to the extent to which these trends are intimately related to changing patterns of inequality in modern societies and to the changing experiences of individuals and families the ways in which workers challenge, resist and make their own contributions to the patterning of work and shaping of work institutions.

The sociology of education is the study of how educational institutions determine social structures, experiences, and other outcomes. It is particularly concerned with the schooling systems of modern industrial societies. The study also found that socially disadvantaged black students profited from schooling in racially mixed classrooms, and thus served as a catalyst for desegregation busing in American public schools. Environmental sociology is the study of human interactions with the natural environment, typically emphasizing human dimensions of environmental problems, social impacts of those problems, and efforts to resolve them.

As with other sub-fields of sociology, scholarship in environmental sociology may be at one or multiple levels of analysis, from global e. Attention is paid also to the processes by which environmental problems become defined and known to humans. As argued by notable environmental sociologist John Bellamy Foster , the predecessor to modern environmental sociology is Marx's analysis of the metabolic rift , which influenced contemporary thought on sustainability. Environmental sociology is often interdisciplinary and overlaps with the sociology of risk, rural sociology and the sociology of disaster. Human ecology deals with interdisciplinary study of the relationship between humans and their natural, social, and built environments.

In addition to Environmental sociology, this field overlaps with architectural sociology , urban sociology , and to some extent visual sociology. In turn, visual sociology—which is concerned with all visual dimensions of social life—overlaps with media studies in that it uses photography, film and other technologies of media. Social pre-wiring deals with the study of fetal social behavior and social interactions in a multi-fetal environment. Specifically, social pre-wiring refers to the ontogeny of social interaction. Also informally referred to as, "wired to be social".

The theory questions whether there is a propensity to socially oriented action already present before birth. Research in the theory concludes that newborns are born into the world with a unique genetic wiring to be social. Circumstantial evidence supporting the social pre-wiring hypothesis can be revealed when examining newborns' behavior. Newborns, not even hours after birth, have been found to display a preparedness for social interaction. This preparedness is expressed in ways such as their imitation of facial gestures. This observed behavior cannot be contributed to any current form of socialization or social construction. Rather, newborns most likely inherit to some extent social behavior and identity through genetics.

Principal evidence of this theory is uncovered by examining Twin pregnancies. The main argument is, if there are social behaviors that are inherited and developed before birth, then one should expect twin foetuses to engage in some form of social interaction before they are born. Thus, ten foetuses were analyzed over a period of time using ultrasound techniques. Using kinematic analysis, the results of the experiment were that the twin foetuses would interact with each other for longer periods and more often as the pregnancies went on.

Researchers were able to conclude that the performance of movements between the co-twins were not accidental but specifically aimed. The social pre-wiring hypothesis was proved correct: []. The central advance of this study is the demonstration that ' social actions ' are already performed in the second trimester of gestation. Starting from the 14th week of gestation twin foetuses plan and execute movements specifically aimed at the co-twin. These findings force us to predate the emergence of social behavior : when the context enables it, as in the case of twin foetuses, other-directed actions are not only possible but predominant over self-directed actions.

Family, gender and sexuality form a broad area of inquiry studied in many sub-fields of sociology. The family unit is one of the most important social institutions found in some form in nearly all known societies. It is the basic unit of social organization and plays a key role in socializing children into the culture of their society. The sociology of the family examines the family, as an institution and unit of socialization , with special concern for the comparatively modern historical emergence of the nuclear family and its distinct gender roles. The notion of " childhood " is also significant. As one of the more basic institutions to which one may apply sociological perspectives, the sociology of the family is a common component on introductory academic curricula.

Feminist sociology , on the other hand, is a normative sub-field that observes and critiques the cultural categories of gender and sexuality, particularly with respect to power and inequality. The primary concern of feminist theory is the patriarchy and the systematic oppression of women apparent in many societies, both at the level of small-scale interaction and in terms of the broader social structure. Feminist sociology also analyses how gender interlocks with race and class to produce and perpetuate social inequalities.

The sociology of health and illness focuses on the social effects of, and public attitudes toward, illnesses, diseases, mental health and disabilities. This sub-field also overlaps with gerontology and the study of the ageing process. Medical sociology, by contrast, focuses on the inner-workings of medical organizations and clinical institutions. In Britain, sociology was introduced into the medical curriculum following the Goodenough Report The Sociology of the body and embodiment [] takes a broad perspective on the idea of "the body" and includes "a wide range of embodied dynamics including human and non-human bodies, morphology, human reproduction, anatomy, body fluids, biotechnology, genetics.

This often intersects with health and illness, but also theories of bodies as political, social, cultural, economic and ideological productions. A subfield of the sociology of health and illness that overlaps with cultural sociology is the study of death, dying and bereavement, [] sometimes referred to broadly as the sociology of death. This topic is exemplified by the work of Douglas Davies and Michael C. The sociology of knowledge is the study of the relationship between human thought and the social context within which it arises, and of the effects prevailing ideas have on societies. The term first came into widespread use in the s, when a number of German-speaking theorists, most notably Max Scheler , and Karl Mannheim , wrote extensively on it.

With the dominance of functionalism through the middle years of the 20th century, the sociology of knowledge tended to remain on the periphery of mainstream sociological thought. It was largely reinvented and applied much more closely to everyday life in the s, particularly by Peter L. Berger and Thomas Luckmann in The Social Construction of Reality and is still central for methods dealing with qualitative understanding of human society compare socially constructed reality. The "archaeological" and "genealogical" studies of Michel Foucault are of considerable contemporary influence. The sociology of science involves the study of science as a social activity, especially dealing "with the social conditions and effects of science, and with the social structures and processes of scientific activity.

Merton and Bruno Latour. These branches of sociology have contributed to the formation of science and technology studies. Sociology of leisure is the study of how humans organize their free time. Leisure includes a broad array of activities, such as sport , tourism, and the playing of games. The sociology of leisure is closely tied to the sociology of work, as each explores a different side of the work—leisure relationship.

More recent studies in the field move away from the work—leisure relationship and focus on the relation between leisure and culture. This subfield of sociology studies, broadly, the dynamics of war, conflict resolution, peace movements, war refugees, conflict resolution and military institutions. It is a highly specialized sub-field which examines issues related to service personnel as a distinct group with coerced collective action based on shared interests linked to survival in vocation and combat , with purposes and values that are more defined and narrow than within civil society.

Military sociology also concerns civilian-military relations and interactions between other groups or governmental agencies. Topics include the dominant assumptions held by those in the military, changes in military members' willingness to fight, military unionization, military professionalism, the increased utilization of women, the military industrial-academic complex, the military's dependence on research, and the institutional and organizational structure of military. Historically, political sociology concerned the relations between political organization and society.

A typical research question in this area might be: "Why do so few American citizens choose to vote? A major subfield of political sociology developed in relation to such questions, which draws on comparative history to analyse socio-political trends. The field developed from the work of Max Weber and Moisey Ostrogorsky. Contemporary political sociology includes these areas of research, but it has been opened up to wider questions of power and politics. Such questions are more likely to be studied qualitatively. The study of social movements and their effects has been especially important in relation to these wider definitions of politics and power.

Political sociology has also moved beyond methodological nationalism and analysed the role of non-governmental organizations, the diffusion of the nation-state throughout the Earth as a social construct , and the role of stateless entities in the modern world society. Contemporary political sociologists also study inter-state interactions and human rights. Demographers or sociologists of population study the size, composition and change over time of a given population. Demographers study how these characteristics impact, or are impacted by, various social, economic or political systems. The study of population is also closely related to human ecology and environmental sociology, which studies a populations relationship with the surrounding environment and often overlaps with urban or rural sociology.

Researchers in this field may study the movement of populations: transportation, migrations, diaspora, etc. Demographers may also study spread of disease within a given population or epidemiology. Public sociology refers to an approach to the discipline which seeks to transcend the academy in order to engage with wider audiences. It is perhaps best understood as a style of sociology rather than a particular method, theory, or set of political values.

This approach is primarily associated with Michael Burawoy who contrasted it with professional sociology, a form of academic sociology that is concerned primarily with addressing other professional sociologists. Public sociology is also part of the broader field of science communication or science journalism. The sociology of race and of ethnic relations is the area of the discipline that studies the social , political, and economic relations between races and ethnicities at all levels of society. This area encompasses the study of racism, residential segregation , and other complex social processes between different racial and ethnic groups. This research frequently interacts with other areas of sociology such as stratification and social psychology , as well as with postcolonial theory.

At the level of political policy, ethnic relations are discussed in terms of either assimilationism or multiculturalism. The sociology of religion concerns the practices, historical backgrounds, developments, universal themes and roles of religion in society. Diachrony, on the other hand, attempts to analyze dynamic sequences. Following Saussure, synchrony would refer to social phenomena as a static concept like a language , while diachrony would refer to unfolding processes like actual speech. In Anthony Giddens ' introduction to Central Problems in Social Theory , he states that, "in order to show the interdependence of action and structure In terms of sociology, historical sociology is often better positioned to analyze social life as diachronic, while survey research takes a snapshot of social life and is thus better equipped to understand social life as synchronic.

Some argue that the synchrony of social structure is a methodological perspective rather than an ontological claim. The contemporary discipline of sociology is theoretically multi-paradigmatic, [29] encompassing a greater range of subjects, including communities , organizations , and relationships , than when the discipline first began. Strain theory is a theoretical perspective that identifies anomie i.

Emile Durkheim first described anomie as one of the results of an inequitable division of labour within a society, observing that social periods of disruption resulted in greater anomie and higher rates of suicide and crimes. Mawson Robert K. Developed by Erving Goffman , [i] dramaturgy aka dramaturgical perspective is a particularized paradigm of symbolic interactionism that interprets life to be a performance i. As "actors," we have a status, i.

For example, a doctor the role , uses instruments like a heart monitor the prop , all the while using medical terms the script , while in his doctor's office the setting. In addition, our performance is the "presentation of self," which is how people perceive us, based on the ways in which we portray ourselves. Mathematical theory aka formal theory refers to the use of mathematics in constructing social theories. Mathematical sociology aims to sociological theory in formal terms, which such theories can be understood to lack.

The benefits of this approach not only include increased clarity, but also, through mathematics, the ability to derive theoretical implications that could not be arrived at intuitively. As such, models typically used in mathematical sociology allow sociologists to understand how predictable local interactions are often able to elicit global patterns of social structure. Positivism is a philosophy, developed in the middle of the 19th century by Auguste Comte , that states that the only authentic knowledge is scientific knowledge , and that such knowledge can only come from positive affirmation of theories through strict a scientific method.

The positivist approach has been a recurrent theme in the history of western thought , from antiquity to the present day. Postmodernism, adhering to anti-theory and anti-method, believes that, due to human subjectivity, discovering objective truth is impossible or unachievable. The objective truth that is touted by modernist theory is believed by postmodernists to be impossible due to the ever-changing nature of society, whereby truth is also constantly subject to change. A postmodernists purpose, therefore, is to achieve understanding through observation, rather than data collection, using both micro and macro level analyses. Questions that are asked by this approach include: "How do we understand societies or interpersonal relations, while rejecting the theories and methods of the social sciences, and our assumptions about human nature?

The general theory of crime refers to the proposition by Michael R. Gottfredson and Travis Hirschi that the main factor in criminal behaviour is the individual's lack of self-control. Theorists who do not distinguish the differences that exist between criminals and noncriminals are considered to be classical or control theorists. Such theorists believe that those who perform deviant acts do so out of enjoyment without care for consequences. Likewise, positivists view criminals actions as a result of the person themselves instead of the nature of the person. The essential notion of labeling theory is that deviance and conformity result not so much from what people do as from how others respond to these actions.

Thus the labelling theory is a micro-level analysis and is often classified in the social-interactionist approach. A hate crime can be defined as a criminal act against a person or a person's property by an offender motivated by racial, ethnic, religious or other bias. Hate crimes may refer to race, ancestry, religion, sexual orientation and physical disabilities.

According to Statistics Canada , the "Jewish" community has been the most likely to be victim to hate crimes in Canada in Physical traits do not distinguish criminals from non criminals, but genetic factors together with environmental factors are strong predictors of adult crime and violence. A psychopath can be defined as a serious criminal who does not feel shame or guilt from their actions, as they have little if any sympathy for the people they harm, nor do they fear punishment. Robert D. Hare , one of the world's leading experts on psychopathy, developed an important assessment device for psychopathy, known as the Psychopathy Checklist revised.

For many, this measure is the single, most important advancement to date toward what will hopefully become our ultimate understanding of psychopathy. Psychopaths exhibit a variety of maladaptive traits, such as rarity in experience of genuine affection for others. Moreover, they are skilled at faking affection; are irresponsible, impulsive, hardly tolerant of frustration; and they pursue immediate gratification. Sutherland and Cressey define white-collar crime as crime committed by persons of high social position in the course of their occupation.

In white-collar crime, public harm wreaked by false advertising, marketing of unsafe products, embezzlement, and bribery of public officials is more extensive than most people think, most of which go unnoticed and unpunished. Likewise, corporate crime refers to the illegal actions of a corporation or people acting on its behalf. Corporate crime ranges from knowingly selling faulty or dangerous products to purposely polluting the environment. Like white-collar crime, most cases of corporate crime go unpunished, and many are not never even known to the public.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Theory advanced by social scientists to explain facts about the social world. For the journal, see Sociological Theory journal. S Ghurye s Irawati Karve M. Merton Theda Skocpol Dorothy E. Conflict theory Critical theory Structural functionalism Positivism Social constructionism. See also: Social theory. Further information: History of sociology. Main article: Structural functionalism. Main article: Conflict theories. Main articles: Symbolic interactionism , Dramaturgy sociology , Antipositivism , and Phenomenology sociology.

Main articles: Utilitarianism , Rational choice theory , and Exchange theory. Main articles: Objectivity science , Objectivity philosophy , and Subjectivity. Main article: Structure and agency. Main article: Synchrony and diachrony. Main articles: Strain theory and Anomie. Main article: Dramaturgy. Main article: Mathematical sociology. Main article: Positivism. Main articles: Postmodernism and Postmodern criminology.

Main article: Social movement theory. Main article: Sociology of scientific knowledge. Main article: Criminology. Main article: Labeling theory. Main article: Hate crime. Main article: Psychopathy. Main article: White-collar crime. Society portal. Share Flipboard Email. Nicki Lisa Cole, Ph. Sociology Expert. Nicki Lisa Cole is a sociologist. Updated October 19, Cite this Article Format. Cole, Nicki Lisa, Ph. Understanding the Sociological Perspective.

How to Understand Interpretive Sociology. Units of Analysis as Related to Sociology. Definition of Idiographic and Nomothetic.

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