Sociologists perceive society in dissimilar ways

Social Institutions

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AbstractSociologists perceive society in dissimilar ways. Some perceive the world fundamentally as an ongoing and stable entity. Sociologists are impressed with the fortitude of family, and other diverse social institutions. Some sociologists perceive society in relation to numerous factions in conflict, contending for inadequate resources. Other sociologists consider the most intriguing facets of the social world are the daily, regular interactions between individuals that are often taken for granted. Others lay focus on how disparities founded on gender are the outcomes of social, biology, cultural and historical factors. The most widely employed theories by sociologists include the conflict, functionalist, and interactionist, perspectives (Cohen, 2005).

Table of Contents

TOC o “1-3” h z u Abstract PAGEREF _Toc315525339 h 2Introduction PAGEREF _Toc315525340 h 3Sociological Theories PAGEREF _Toc315525341 h 4The Family PAGEREF _Toc315525342 h 4Functionalism PAGEREF _Toc315525343 h 5How Functionalism Applies To the Family PAGEREF _Toc315525344 h 5How Functionalism Affects the Views of the Individual Who Is Part of the Family PAGEREF _Toc315525345 h 5How Functionalism Affects the Approach to Social Change in the Family PAGEREF _Toc315525346 h 5Within the Family How Does Functionalism Theory Affect the Views of Society? PAGEREF _Toc315525347 h 6Conflict PAGEREF _Toc315525348 h 6How the Conflict Theory Applies To the Family PAGEREF _Toc315525349 h 6How the Conflict Theory Affects the Views of the Individual Who Is Part of the Family PAGEREF _Toc315525350 h 6How the Conflict Theory Affects the Approach to Social Change in the Family PAGEREF _Toc315525351 h 7Within the Family How Does the Conflict Theory Affect the Views of Society? PAGEREF _Toc315525352 h 7Interactionism PAGEREF _Toc315525353 h 7How the Interactionism Theory Applies To the Family PAGEREF _Toc315525354 h 8How Interactionism Affects the Views of the Individual Who Is Part of the Family PAGEREF _Toc315525355 h 8How Interactionism Affects the Approach to Social Change in the Family PAGEREF _Toc315525356 h 8Within the Family How Does Interactionism Affect the Views of Society? PAGEREF _Toc315525357 h 8Similarities and Differences of the Three Theories PAGEREF _Toc315525358 h 9Conclusion PAGEREF _Toc315525359 h 10References PAGEREF _Toc315525360 h 10

Social Institutions


IntroductionSocial theories provide unambiguous understanding of the bigger social picture in an individual’s life. The social theories help in understanding how individuals relate with each other in the society and the consequences of human behavior. The sociology of the family is characterized with a wide range of issues. All these issues affect an individual or the community at large. Some of these issues include abuse of drugs, domestic violence and divorce. Other issues include juvenile delinquency and teenage pregnancies (Adams, 2010). Family sociology helps to understand the structure of the family. This is in the perspective of an institution and the role it plays in the society in various sociological perspectives. This paper posits to evaluate the impact the Sociological theories, of Conflict, Functionalism, and Interactionism have on the social institution of the family.

Sociological TheoriesSociologists create theories to explain different social phenomenon. A theory is an anticipated relationship linking two or more conceptions. Sociological theory may be described as a set of interconnected ideas that facilitate for the systematization of information in relation to the social world. This information is then utilized to elucidate the social world as well as provide projections concerning the impending occurrences in the social world (Cohen, 2005).

The FamilyThe family is the smallest structure in the society. The family is also the most all-encompassing and inclusive agent in relation to socialization. A family comprises of in excess of one person and ends up making a group of people. Though the family tends to be small, various guidelines govern all functions that occur in the group (Adams, 2010). The guidelines create various behaviors within the group. These behaviors help to distinguish a family with the rest of the groups in society.

FunctionalismFunctionalism is fundamentally a structuralist theory. This means that it perceives social structure as more significant than individuals. Functionalists perceive society as held together through cohesion, or social consensus, whereby, family members agree upon, and collaborate to accomplish, what is most appropriate for society in general (Cohen, 2005).

How Functionalism Applies To the FamilyThe theory of functionalism helps to understand the roles that each member of the family ought to perform in order to maintain a strong relationship (Vissing, 2011). These roles also help in making sure that all the family members act and perform according to the set norms in the society. Functionalism helps in examining the effects that a family causes to the whole society.

How Functionalism Affects the Views of the Individual Who Is Part of the FamilyThis particular theory also helps to examine effects it causes to each individual in the family union. These means that functionalist helps to socialize every family member with the activities around in order to benefit both individually and society (Cohen, 2005).

How Functionalism Affects the Approach to Social Change in the FamilyFunctionalism theory affects the approach of social change in the fact that, government or state provides various needs to the family. That help, keeps the government running and after all, it benefits from payment of taxes (Adams, 2010). For example, the government provides education to the children and eventually the family is eligible to pay taxes to the authorities in order to keep the government running as required. This is how family approach to social change in the society as explained by functionalism theory.

Within the Family How Does Functionalism Theory Affect the Views of Society?This particular theory also affects the views of the society in the sense that when everything goes well in the family, various parts of society are able to attain stability and attain a high level of productivity (Adams, 2010). For example, when there is financial recession, most families tend to tighten their budget and this affects the whole society. In regard to its downside, functionalism is highly criticized for disregarding the depressing functions of an occurrence such as separation and divorce. 

ConflictThe conflict theory seeks to explain social structure and changes in it by alleging that actors follow their respective interests in conflict with other people in accordance with their resources for societal organization. The conflict theory expands the Marxist investigation of class conflicts, although it is disconnected from any ideological obligation to socialism. The theory of conflict broadly examines the manner in which families are deal with the occurrence of differences and change within the institution (Vissing, 2011).

How the Conflict Theory Applies To the FamilyThis particular theory defines that it is possible to curb the occurrence of conflicts in the family. The only requirements are that members are able to identify the source of conflict are who ought to hold power in the family (Cohen, 2005).

How the Conflict Theory Affects the Views of the Individual Who Is Part of the FamilyConflict theory apply to sociology of the family in the sense that it helps to make sure members of the family are able to solve their own differences and relate well with other members of the society. The theory affects views of various individuals in the family in the sense that every one has their role in the reconciliation process whenever conflict occurs (Adams, 2010).

How the Conflict Theory Affects the Approach to Social Change in the FamilyConflict theory tries to show how various members of the family struggle for power and disagree in a number of issues. The theory explains that all this conflicts occur because of the need to compete for available resources and power. The theme also explains that the occurrence of conflict in the family and the society is normal and inevitable. However, the problem related with conflict is the increase in its damaging levels that contribute towards making splits and separation in the family. Conflict theory also states that damaging levels that result after disagreements might result in to divorce and unresolved anger (Vissing, 2011).

Within the Family How Does the Conflict Theory Affect the Views of Society?Conflict theory affects the views of the society in the sense that it helps people to understand one another and offer respect hence encouraging human growth and development. Contemporary conflict theorists come across social conflict between every group, including the family, whereby there is potential for disparity. Conflict theorists posit that that disparities in families lead to conflicting agendas and values, and eventual competition amongst family members. This continuous competition amongst family members forms the foundation for the ever-transforming nature of the society in general. Critics of the theory point to its excessively negative analysis of society (Schlomer et al, 2011). InteractionismThe symbolic interactionist theory, also referred to as symbolic interactionism, persuade sociologists to reflect on the symbols as well as details of daily life. The sociologists in this regard focus on the implication of symbols, and how individuals interact with one another (Cohen, 2005).

How the Interactionism Theory Applies To the FamilyThis theory states that it is only through the social behaviors that the family can be able to transform and help the society to come together. Segregation may be witnessed in the family at even at the society levels (Nunes, & Dupas, 2011). This is because not everybody is happy with what others are able to perform. Therefore, this theory defines that family members are able to develop means of understanding through social interaction.

How Interactionism Affects the Views of the Individual Who Is Part of the FamilyThis theory affects views of every member in the family on the actuality that each family member develops their own sense of interaction therefore being able to socialize with other members of the society (Nunes, & Dupas, 2011).

How Interactionism Affects the Approach to Social Change in the FamilyThe theory’s approach to the social change is found in the sense that after people interact, change is created in either positive or negative way that affects the whole society (Vissing, 2011). For example, one of the established positive changes that occur because of this theory is motivation.

Within the Family How Does Interactionism Affect the Views of Society?The theory affects various views of the society in the sense that interactions help to build understanding in family relations and therefore people are able to participate in society welfare (Cohen, 2005).

Similarities and Differences of the Three TheoriesThe similarities of all the theories are that they help in understanding how the family ought to present itself in the society. Unlike the functionalists who preserve the status quo, evade social change, and suppose people work together to achieve social order, the conflict theorists, on the other hand, dispute the status quo, promote social change, and believe that powerful and rich people compel social order on the weak and the poor. The differences of the theories are that they tend to disagree on various circumstances on power sharing between family members and in the society (Cohen, 2005).

The table1 below depicts a comparison between the three sociological theories in relation to their respective view of society, view of the individual, view of the social order, view of social change, and examples.

Table 1. Comparison of the Three Sociological Theories

View Conflict Functionalist Interactionist

The society Characterized by struggle and tension between groups. Well integrated, and stable. Dynamic in manipulating daily social interactions

Social order Maintained through coercion and force. Maintained through consensus and cooperation. Maintained by collective understanding of daily behavior.

The individual Individuals are shaped by coercion, authority, and power.

Individuals are socialized to execute societal functions. Individuals influence symbols and generate their social worlds by means of interaction.


change Change occurs always and may bear positive consequences. Reinforcing, and predictable. Represented in individuals’ social status and their interactions with others.

Example Laws strengthen the positions of the people in power. Public punishments strengthen social order. Individuals obey laws or defy them based on individual past experience.

(Cohen, 2005).

ConclusionFamily sociology facilitates the understanding of the structure of the family as an autonomous institution and its role in the society in diverse sociological perspectives. The above three illustrated theories helps to show that family is a union that plays a key fundamental role in the well-being of the society. Therefore, family as a unit is eligible to make social change in a negative, or positive way. Managing the family helps in strengthening every aspect of the society. ReferencesAdams, B. N. (2010). Themes and Threads of Family Theories: A Brief History. Journal of Comparative Family Studies, 41(4), 499-505.

Cohen, P. (2005). Global Sociology. N.Y: New York U.P.

Nunes, M., & Dupas, G. (2011). Independence of Children with Down syndrome: The Experiences of Families. Revista Latino-Americana De Enfermagem (RLAE), 19(4), 985-993.

Schlomer, G. L., Del Giudice, M., & Ellis, B. J. (2011). Parent–Offspring Conflict Theory: An Evolutionary Framework for Understanding Conflict within Human Families. Psychological Review, 118(3), 496-521.

Vissing, Y. (2011). Introduction to Sociology. San Diego, CA: Bridgepoint Education.

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