Thursday, September 3, 2009


so for this semester in college, i took sociology, introduction to sociology - study of human behaviours and beyond. though i only attended 4 classes, but the moment i flipped through the text book, i knew i was gonna like the subject/class. and very fortunately, i guess i did not pick the wrong professor. the vital essence of my interest.

anyhooo, i wanted to share the basic 3 perspectives in sociology. i find them very interesting, as they are things that only people so free are able to sit down and think, and come up with such perspectives. well, ya, there are people like that, if not, there would not be a sociology to even begin with. and bla bla bla..

the first is, Functionalist.
- in the theory/perspective of functionalist, is that everything in the society has a function. EVERYTHING. for example, crime, which we all know is bad, but in the perspective of a functionalist, its something benefitting to the society, because it then provides jobs for police, or for security companies, whatever. terrorism, for that matter, helps control population, diseases to helps control population, creates job for doctors, scienstist,... nothing is just bad for the society. meaning, anything that benefits even the smallest group in society, then it is good, it is functional.
- everything in society is interdependant. for example; <--> restaurant <--> hospital <--> airport...
there has to be school to create doctors for the hospital, there has to be restaurant to make food poisoning to have people going to the hospital and airport for better education and it goes on..
- society is always at equilibrium, and if something out of the norm happens, society will be disequlibriumed and then come back to stability, will acquire to the situation and then achieve equilibrium.
-----equilibrium-----~~~disequilibrium~~~-----back to stability----
- functionalist also believe in manifest function which is open and obvious. and product of manifest function is latent function.
eg. we all pay for college to get education (manifest,obvious) and because we go to college, we met the love of our life (latent).

the second is, Conflict.
- believes that humans are full of tension, always in a struggle and society is full of competition.
- wealth, power, prestige - are what society strives for. don't think big, even the most innocent and simple idea of pursuing education, is a way of striving for power/wealth/prestige.
conflict is pretty much self-explanatory.

the third is, Symbolic Interactions.
- symbols.
one word. symbolic interaction meaning society is all about judging one another by symbols. the shoes you where, the way you walk, the way you stride, your jimmy not choo's, your wheels and ya...symbols. very subjective and based on own interpretations.

the 3 perspectives are very different in their own way. like a venn diagram, the over-lapping sections - there are also similarities.

so i ask, what do you think? what do you think society is mainly comprise of? why?

i am a believer of conflict. definately. people never stop struggling, from day one of birth till the last breath, will then you put a full stop to suffering. everything revolves around struggle and suffer. to be in constant tension and competitive mode, is a form of struggle. to always greed for more wealth and good things even though you already own too much is a sruggle because the thought of wanting more, of trying to get more...kills you. you might disagree, but i think it is the truth and it is the reality, no matter how not you think you are not, you are suffering. you are competing in someway, you are... .

look around.


JJ said...

it may be both functional and conflict and a lil of symbol.

Jun said...

for me, i think it's symbol.. everyone is judging other ppl whenever they see other ppl. EVERYDAY ppl will judge whether we say it out or we're thinking in our mind.. it's still judging.

suiying said...

i agree with you. all three do exist, but i see so much more conflict. it's human nature, i guess? survival of the fittest. when the going gets tough, the tough get going. every taugeh tries to put out as many leaves as high as possible without snapping.

hmm. i suppose functionalist is the optimist's way of looking at things and conflict is the pessimist's. symbolic, like you said, is based on interpretations.

the beauty of liberal education :)

Lei said...

I took socio when I was in a levels. It's a lot of fun. You'll certainly find it super interesting.

Enjoy yourself.