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Paradigms - Essay Example

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Based on John J. Macionis' book entitled 'Sociology', the structural-functional paradigm is a framework for building theory that sees society as a complex system whose parts work together to promote solidarity and stability. This paradigm contemplates social structure and social function, the former's influence on the social function or dysfunction, which results when a part of social institution fails to function as predicted. The social-conflict paradigm is a framework for building theory that sees society as an arena of inequality that generates conflict and social change. Unlike the previous paradigm which focuses on the consequence of social structure, it emphasizes social differences, rather than social integration. Competition plays an important rule in that it creates social change. Lastly, the symbolic-interaction paradigm is a framework for building theory that sees society as the product of the everyday interactions of individuals. It focuses on how people define reality and how they reconcile it with their experiences. It works on the assumption that structures are formed through interaction such that behavioral patterns and norms are developed, thereby providing a means of interpreting actions and speech.
The above-mentioned perspectives apply to various social structures. Using the structural-functional view, deviance is necessary because it challenges the limitations set by society and strengthens the current standard through affirmation. One's deviance may result in something positive for another. Take the case of a husband who does not believe that his wife should stay in the house because she is more skilled than he is. It is wiser for the husband to trade places with his wife, provided he is better at household chores than office work. Allowing this setup makes way for women empowerment and labor productivity. On the other hand, using the conflict theory, a deviant behavior by a leader creates disagreement with the followers and as an extreme result, disorder within the system. Another example is a mother the case of a working mother. This threatens the position of the father as head of the family which results in conflict.
Class stratification as viewed from the social-conflict theory results from dividing a group into subgroups competing for power. One manifestation is the separation of bourgeoisie from the working class. Both compete for power and ownership. Functionalism may see this division as a factor that maintains balance in a society. The proletariat class has to exist for the capitalists to exploit. While this continues to happen, the social and economic process does not stagnate.
Looking at humor from a symbolic-interactive perspective, it may be said that humor or comic relief is a strategy that can enhance one's interaction with other people. Humor is used to lessen the awkwardness of a situation. It is necessary to break monotony and seriousness of the circumstances. This is especially effective to those who are handicapped because of the existence of stigma which causes restrained and restricted interaction between the disabled and the able. Usually, disabled persons lead lifestyles different from those who are slightly more fortunate ...Show more
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Summary

Since Thomas Samuel Kuhn's conceptualization of 'paradigms', the study of social phenomena has become more appropriate because of the dynamism of societal processes and events, allowing for a better understanding of society. In Kuhn's book 'The Structure of Scientific Revolution', a scientific paradigm is defined as what is to be observed, the questions surrounding the particular observation, the manner said questions are constructed and the manner of interpreting the outcome of said observations.
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