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What is a Theoretical Perspective

What is a Theoretical Perspective - • The origins of the...

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What is a Theoretical Perspective? Perspectives might best be viewed as models. Each perspective makes assumptions about society. Each one attempts to integrate various kinds of information about society. Models give meaning to what we see and experience. Each perspective focuses on different aspects of society. Certain consequences result from using a particular model. No one perspective is best in all circumstances. The perspective one uses may depend upon the question being asked. If one is exploring bureaucratic organization, then one might like to use a perspective that is concerned with social order. On the other hand, if one is concerned with social inequality, then perhaps the conflict perspective is more useful. Perhaps the best perspective is one which combines many perspectives. II. The Functionalist Perspective
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Unformatted text preview: • The origins of the functionalist perspective can be traced to the work of Herbert Spencer and Emile Durkheim. • The problem of maintaining social order is a central problem for understanding society. • Understanding society from a functionalist perspective is to visualize society as a system of interrelated parts. All the parts act together even though each part may be doing different things. • Institutions, such as family, education, and religion are the parts of the social system and they act to bring about order in society. • Integration of the various parts is important. When all the "parts" of the system work together, balance is maintained and the over all order of the system is achieved. • Social structures in society promote integration, stability, consensus, and balance....
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