After reading Chapter 1 of the Macionis textbook, in your own words, discuss the differences
between the three major sociological theoretical approaches: structural functional, social-conflict
and symbolic interaction theories. How might you apply these three approaches to examining the
tradition of a wedding ceremony?
A structural functional approach is "a framework for building theory that sees society as a complex
system whose parts work together to promote solidarity and stability. As its name suggests, this approach
points to social structure, any relatively stable pattern of social behavior". Structure function looks for
social patterns like handshakes to religious rituals that keeps people together and the society moving
forward. The social-conflict approach is "a framework for building theory that sees society as an arena of
inequality that generates conflict and change." This approach focuses on how class, race, ethnicity,
gender, and age are linked to inequality because of money or power. Sociologists look at different
categories like the rich in relation to the poor, white people in relation to people of color, and men in
relation to women. These are all ongoing conflicts between dominate people in relation to disadvantaged
people. The symbolic-interaction approach "is a framework for building theory that sees society as the
product of the everyday interactions of individuals." Society is the reality that people make for
themselves by the interactions they have with one another. We attach meaning to everything on life, so we
live in a world of symbols. In macro-level, structural functional approach explores how social structures
work together to help society operate. As well as the social-conflict approach shows how inequality
creates conflict and causes change. The 2 types of conflict analysis are feminist theory and race-conflict
theory. But at a micro-level the symbolic-interaction approach studies how people, in everyday
interaction, view reality. I would apply the structural functional approach in marriage to something that
needs to happen, it's essential for the next generation of society. Marriage servers the purpose of
intercourse and childbirth which helps the society operate. I would apply the social-conflict approach in
marriage as in a way for men to dominate its wife. How the man will have all the power physically but
also emotionally and is always in control. I would apply the symbolic interaction approach in marriage is
that it is desired and wanted.
Both C. W. Mills, author of The Promise, and W.E.B. Du Bois (Macionis, pg. 18) promoted a
more public sociology and rejected the detached scientific observation of their contemporaries.
On the other hand, Max Weber (Macionis, pg. 22) asserted that scholars should remain value-free
in order to minimize personal bias in their work. Think about these two perspectives on research
and defend your stance in this debate.
Du Bois wanted a social change and devoted his whole life to overturn laws and change the social norm
on African Americans. Early in his career, he was hopeful about overcoming racial divisions. By the end
of his life, he had grown bitter, claiming that little had changed. Max Weber claimed that the key to
interpretive sociology lies is understanding. He states, "it's the interpretive sociologist's job not just to
observe what people do but also to share in their world of meaning, coming to appreciate why they act as
they do". Weber was fact-based rather than opinion based and wanted to seek out the facts instead of
personal beliefs. In this debate I think yes, Du Bois was passionate about the change that he wanted to
make but was unhappy when by the end of his life, little had changed. But Weber has concrete evidence,
proof, and facts which allows people to be objective when researching. I think Weber's research is more
accurate because it's not biased or effected by social believes.