“Sociology is the scientific study of human society and social interactions”.Sociology basically targets the group or system and not the individuals. It tends to understand the forces that make any social system functional and their effects on individuals and thus determines the social occurrences.In this paper the impact of three major sociological perspectives on family which is considered as an institution in the field, is described separately. How these perspectives are interrelated to each other is also defined as well as their shortcomings. How these perspectives are interrelated to each other is also defined as well as their shortcomings. THE SOCIOLOGICAL THEORIES OR PARADIGMS Sociology basically deals with the factors that drive people to do a particular work for examplecommitting crimes or suicide (Schaefer, 2006). Sociological theories are the fundamentals of the discipline.They provide a basic understanding of the larger social picture. A sociological theory is “A set of correlated statements which describe, explain and predict how society and its components a related to each other” (Cheney, 2009).An effective theory must be both explainable and predictable. That is it is able to explain the relationships and predict the changes which may lead to other changes.Theories also provide a proper frame-work for a research to be conducted. In sociology theories are divided into two levels: Macro Theories – These include population and societal-level theories. These theories are usually used to study a massive number of people. For example, Conflict and Functional theories. Micro Theories – These include theories on individual behaviors. These theories usually study small groups and the individuals within these groups. For example, Symbolic Interactionismor Social Exchange theories. All of the above described micro and macro theories are example of one distinct theory called “Grand Theory”which basically explains the social, historical or human aspects by using abstract ideas. It is contrary to the experimentation, positivism and the case-specific phenomena (Cheney, 2009).Let us describe the three main paradigms which are the basis of this paper: Functionalism Conflict Interactionism Functionalism Also called structural functionalism was the first theoretical orientation in sociology (Turner, 2006). It is mainly based on the works by Spencer, Durkheim, Parsons and Merton. Modern functionalism is based on the works of Talcott Parsons, a Harvard University scholar. Functionalism is a macro-level concept and according to it: “A society is a system of highly interrelated elements which operate in accordance with each other.” The society is investigated by the functionalists just like the human body. They analyze the organization and working of the elements or the individual systems of the society and improvising in order to attain balance. Normal and abnormal family, peace and war, friendship, romantic relationships, religion, healthcare etc. are just a few examples of the systems of the society. From the functionalist point of view the society seems to bequite harmonious and automated, that is it tends to achieve equilibrium most of the time. If any element of the society is not maintaining social homeostasis then it becomes dysfunctional. An element or process which causes instability of the societal system is referred to as dysfunctional element or process. A few examples of dysfunction are mass homicide or a collapse of a big organization for example Enron’s downfall caused 14,000 employees to lose their retirement fund, bereavement of millions of dollars in shareholder investments and the doubts it created in the minds of investors regarding the credibility of the stock market (Cheney, 2009). Robert K. Merton distinguished two forms of social functions, manifest and latent functions. “Social functions are elemental processes which contribute in the overall
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“Sociology is the scientific study of human society and social interactions”.Sociology basically targets the group or system and not the individuals. It tends to understand the forces that make any social system functional and their effects on individuals and thus determines the social occurrences…
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