INTRODUCTION TO SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGYSECTION AQUESTION ONEThree major theoretical paradigms that guide thinking and research in sociologyIn sociology, various phenomena are usually analysed at different levels as well as fromdifferent perspectives. This means that, sociologists study anything from specific events i.e.the micro level for the analysis of small social patters to the big picture i.e. the macro levelfor the analysis of the large social patterns (Munday, 2013). As such, a theory in sociology isconsidered to be a way of explaining different aspects of social interactions hence being in aposition to establish as testable proposition otherwise known as hypothesis. Therefore, thereare three major theory in sociology that aims to explain various aspects of the social lifewhich are referred to as paradigms. These paradigms are therefore considered as thetheoretical and philosophical frameworks used within a discipline to formulate theories,generalizations, and the experiments performed in support of them. These three theoreticalparadigms are conflict theory, structural functionalism, and symbolic interactionism(Frankfort-Nachmias, & Nachmias, 2007).Functionalism Perspective Functionalism perspective is in other words referred to as the structural-functional theory.According to functionalism, the society is like as structure with interrelated parts that aredesigned to meet both the social and biological requirements of individuals within thatsociety (Devriendt, Goossens, & van der Auwera, 2011). Hebert Spence an Englishphilosopher who lived between 1820 to 1903 developed the functionalism perspective afterhe observed similar characteristics between the society and the human body. As such, Hebertargued that just like the way the various body organs work to keep the body functioning, alsothe various parts of society work together to keep society functioning (Spencer 1898). Socialinstitutions/patters of beliefs and behaviours were the specific parts of the society which aredescribed Spence which are social needs such as education, healthcare, religion, functioninggovernment, family as well as stable economy (Mansrisuk, 2012). 1
Another early sociologist by the name Émile Durkheim, advanced the work of Spence byapplying his theory to provide an explanation of how the society change and survive overtime. The society was perceived by Durkheim as a complex system which is composed ofboth interdependent and interrelated parts that work together to maintain stability and thatshared values, symbols and languages helps to hold the society together. He believed that tostudy society, a sociologist must look beyond individuals to social facts such as laws, morals,values, religious beliefs, customs, fashion, and rituals, which all serve to govern social life.