Explain how the sociological perspective helps us understand that society shapes our individual lives.
Sociological Perspective on Individual and Society
The sociological perspective focuses on the connections between an individual and society. There are three primary perspectives used by sociologists to show us that society shapes our individual lives: the functionalism theory, the symbolic interactionist perspective, and the conflict theory. Using these theories, sociologists have been able to come up with a hypothetical pattern to expound the influences that society has on the individual.
The functionalist perspective views the society as parts that are connected to each other to function together in one accord to ensure that society remains in a balanced state. These connected parts mostly include social facts such as moral values, laws, virtues, religious beliefs, and rituals. One of these parts may function to ensure quality health status of the public while the other may safeguard the society against violence; a different one may be responsible for disciplining members against unlawful deeds.
The conflict theory suggests that individuals continuously compete for the limited resources available in a society (Hammond). It illustrates how those who have power and more resources try to increase them at the expense of their poorer counterparts by taking advantage of them under certain social arrangements. The theory points out that society is classified into two groups: the rich (the haves) and the poor (the have nots).
The symbolic interactionism theory claims that society comprises of persons sharing symbols and their meanings to communicate (Hammond). These social interactions shape the identity and sense on an individual, who gets to know about himself or herself by observing his/her interactions with others. In conclusion, these sociological views help us see the interactions that unfold between the individual and society in a way that shapes the latter’s lives. The individual learns the morals and communication symbols of the society and learns to interact with others in harmony in order to avoid conflicts.
Hammond, Ron. Introduction to sociology. London: Routledge, 2010. Print.