The Sociological Perspective

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• Sociology offers a perspective—a view of the world—that stresses the social experiences of people as the underlying cause of their behavior. • Sociology emerged in the mid‐ 1800s in Western Europe, during the upheavals of the Industrial Revolution. Early sociologists who focused on the changes that were then occurring in Europe were Auguste Comte, Herbert Spencer, Karl Marx, Emile Durkheim, and Max Weber. • In the early years, few women received the advanced education required to become a sociologist, and women like Harriet Martineau who did become sociologists were largely ignored.

• Sociology became established in North America by the end of the nineteenth century. Within U.S. sociology, there has always been a tension between basic sociology and attempts to reform society. Two early sociologists who combined sociology with social reform were Jane Addams and W. E. B. Du Bois. • A theory is a statement about how facts are related to one another. Because no one theory encompasses all of reality, sociologists use three primary theoretical frameworks: (1) symbolic interactionism—which concentrates on the meanings that underlie people’s lives—usually focuses on the micro level; (2) functional analysis—which stresses that society is made up of various parts that, when working properly, contribute to the stability of society—focuses on the macro level; and (3) conflict theory—which stresses inequalities and sees the basis of social life as a competitive struggle to gain control over scarce resources—also focuses on the macro level. Download free The Sociological Perspective.pdf here

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