Kindly read and respond to the two discussions below, respond with 100 or more words each
1. In my perspective, Functionalism is the way society is and how we can all benefit from one another to coexist and thrive, “seeing society as a living organism”, while Conflict Theory seems to be the results of certain interactions within smaller groups, leading to a larger group (Interactionalism) and how that collective is seen as society institutions like family, government, education, religion, media. All the concepts are seen to be collective intertwined within another, as if each concept is dependent upon another to thrive, understand, and exploring the various effects upon citizens. The example of the “helicopter in the sky” for Interactionalism helped me better understand the concept itself. Observing how a smaller collective interacts and then noticing how those interactions come into play within society as a whole is an overall perfect example of the concept itself.
The most useful concept from the major sociological perspectives would be Interactionalism. Beings thrive on interaction, especially physical as a basic need to survive – socially. With the personal experiences I have encountered, the way an individual interacts within a small group will grossly dictate and determine their actions moving forward. Think about how children are raised within the home and how the interactions within their family members not only shapes them as whole person but how they interact and treat others, to their beliefs and understandings, to how education and government is seen through their perspectives, and how the individual fits into the living organism known as society. The pillar of the foundation of sociology and what is shown to be the most effective is human interaction. As a college graduate, the specific interactions made with certain individuals helped elevate or descend the social ladder within the realm of networking. As the phrase states, “it’s not always what you know, but who you know”.
2. The functionalist and conflict perspectives address a much bigger picture than the interactionist perspective. The interactionist perspective places importance on the everyday interactions between individuals and their environments or each other, applying what is observed in those interactions to understand social behavior. The functionalist and conflict perspectives look at the big picture and how humans act as large groups, often relating that back to the behavior of individuals and what to do as an individual. The main difference between the conflict and functionalist perspective is their view on social change. The functionalist perspective often argues that, for better or for worse, any given aspect of society exists because it serves a function that ensures the survival of that society. Therefore, it is a fruitless effort to advocate for drastic and sudden societal change. Any societal change will come naturally as a society sheds aspects of it that are no longer contributing to its stability. A good analogy to understand the functionalist perspective is in section 1.3 of chapter one of the third edition of the Openstax online textbook. It compares each aspect of society to “[h]ow each organ works to keep your body healthy (or not).” (Openstax 1.3) The conflict perspective argues that the natural state of society is inequality, oppression, and class conflict. Therefore, sudden social change is necessary to achieve an ideal society because it disrupts the natural state of society.
One example of the functionalist perspective is observing education as an aspect of society that contributes to the stability of a society. The government pays for public education, and public education increases the affluence of individuals, which leads to more taxes for the government. The stability of the society is upheld because the government gains financial stability and the people reap the benefits of an education.
I think that the conflict and functionalist perspectives are the most useful. If I was to pick between the two, I think the conflict perspective is the most useful in analyzing society because it advocates for change, while the functionalist perspective does not. This means that you can use what you learn employing the conflict perspective to impact society, but the same cannot be said for the functionalist perspective.
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