Essay: Social Theories

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  • Subject area(s): Sociology essays
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  • Published on: February 20, 2020
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  • Social Theories
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1) What are social theories and of what use are they to us? Your text explains that there are three common themes that are embodied in classical social theories, what are they? Are these themes relevant today and if so, how and why?

Social theories allow us to view things in way that teach us something completely new on the subject; these theories help figure out the overlooked aspects of life, the things us humans pour too much attention to. Finally, the theories put questions in our mind that we would have never thought were relevant to the subject. The three common themes come in the form of three questions, “what is the nature of the individual? How does the individual act in the context of society?”, “What are the circumstances under which societies change?” And the final question “what is the basis for social order? What is it that holds societies together?” (Manza 24). In fact, these theories played key roles in American and European society, the questions represent a foundation for many of the past movements. For example, the industrial revolutions growth could be answered by one of the three questions, more specifically the second question which deals more with society as a whole.

2) Explain the concepts of power, legitimacy and authority from the perspective of Max Weber. In addition, explain the 3 types of legitimate domination. Utilizing the videos and chapter 2 in your text, explain whether or not Weber’s ideas help us understand our modern world and substantiate your position.

The three types of legitimate domination Weber puts into play of our society are traditional, charismatic and legal-rational. Traditional, ruled by traditional legitimacy, which is the idea that all should obey the higher power. Although, in the modern are, legal-rational and charismatic both contrast separate ideas from traditional but are similar to each other. Legal-rational believes that we follow the rules because they are the rules and are set in stone. For example, a DMV worker doesn’t ask for documents for personal reasons, instead he ask for documents because it says in the rules. The CrashCourse narrator explains that if the rules were to change the next day then the worker would work off the new rules. Charismatic legitimacy is the idea that we follow the commands of a leader because of the outstanding characteristics of said person. This works in hand with legal-rational legitimacy, as legal-rational legitimacy needs someone who make up these complex rules. Weber’s three key ideas help understand the foundation for the modernization of our society, first by understanding the thought process of traditional, accepting rules because the higher power put them in place; Next, by introducing two new ideas, charismatic and legal-rational legitimacy, which would allow the rules to be set by a higher power of someone who is an outstanding leader so that the people can follow. Therefore, leading to a theory that is still in place to this day (Charismatic and legal-rational legitimacy), the example being the president who is sworn into oath. (CrashCourse).

3) Discuss structural functionalism, symbolic interactionism and conflict theory. Explain their relevance in helping us understand the way society is organized and how it functions.

All three theories help understand the way life is and how each of us view it in a different way. In the case of structural functionalism, this theory basically gives the idea that society moves in different parts, sort of like gears in a clock, that move together in unison. Everyone in the society contributes some way and each person has their own specific role in society. In order for the society to function correctly, all people must contribute to make sure everything runs smoothly (Sinn). Symbolic interaction gives the idea that society is “played out through daily interactions between people.” This in a nut shell means that people inside the society interact through symbols, or languages,

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