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Tepperman2IM01 - Chapter One Three Empirical Traditions of...

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Chapter One: Three Empirical Traditions of Sociological Theory Overview This chapter introduces students to the fact that, traditionally, sociological theory has been divided into four categories: functionalism, conflict theory, symbolic interactionism, and feminism. The authors then explain why they have chosen to set these categories aside in favour of a three category division that includes multivariate theory, interpretive theory, and historical-comparative theory. Students will gain an understanding of why theory is crucial for establishing validity within the field of sociology. They will also be introduced to the particular features of these three approaches, and how they both differ from and overlap with one another. Students will be introduced to these theories through three illustrative examples. First, they will read about the connection between the Stanley Cup playoffs and suicide rates in Quebec. Second, they will learn that most people tend to break off long-term, serious relationships in very similar ways. Third, they are introduced to the debate over whether Canadians and Americans are fundamentally different. Students will come to see that these theories do not operate independently of one another, and that good sociological research will often employ more than one at a time. Learning Objectives In this chapter students will: Learn about three major approaches to sociological theory: multivariate, interpretive, and historical-comparative.
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