Sociological Theories and Family

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Running Head: SOCIOLOGICAL THEORIES Page 1 Sociological Theories and Family Kenroy Fletcher SOC101: Introduction to Sociology Megan Reid October 10, 2011 Sociological Theories and Family
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Sociology is a science, which studies the patterns of behavior in various groups and situations. It is very difficult to clarify in one definition what society itself is. We all are living in society, belong to different social groups, and communicate with people in different ways. There are a number of sociological theories that discuss the models of behavior of people in different social groups. The current essay tends to analyze the relations within a family, as a social group, from the perspective of such sociological theories as structural functionalism, symbolic interaction theory, and conflict theory. Functionalism, the Conflict Theory, and Interactionism comprise the three main sociological theories. These theories affect the way people think and perceive the world around them. As a result, the development, nature and understanding of different social institutions, including the family, health-care systems, religion, education, media, politics and economy, are determined or affected by these three social theories. To understand the three theories and how they affect different social institutes, one must first understand what a sociological theory is. The definition put forth by Purdue states the following: “Sociological theory is a set of assumptions, assertions, and propositions, organized in the form of an explanation or interpretation, of the nature, form, or content of social action” (Purdue, p. 1). Each sociological theory mentioned above – functionalism, conflict, and interactionism, presents a different set of assumptions or perspective that define a particular way of understanding of social action. A social action is anything that takes others (society into account). Social institutions revolve around social action. An institute, like the family, is both the product of social action, and the cause of social action through its life-giving nature and principles of education.
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According to Vissing, “A family is a small social group of people related by ancestry or affection, who share common values and goals, who may live together in the same dwelling, and who may participate in the bearing and raising of children. They have a physical or emotional connection with each other that is ongoing” (Vissing, 2011). One of the most important aspects of what happens to us over the life course is our relationship with our family. Everyone has a family of origin, and everyone creates a family, even if it is a family of one. Types of families vary in form and structure, and have significant implications for our lives (Rothausen, 1999).
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