It is known that sociologists can analyze different social phenomena from different perspectives. Today they successfully employ three theoretical perspectives: the symbolic interactionist, the functionalist and the conflict perspectives. These perspectives provide theoretical paradigms for explaining how modern society can influence people, and vice versa. Each perspective conceptualizes not only society and social forces, but also human behavior. (Three Major Perspectives in Sociology, 2010, para.3) In this paper, I’d like to choose three different topics and to analyze each from one of the three theoretical perspectives.
The first topic is related to drug abuse in our society. It is known that today drug abuse is really one of the most important issues which require prompt solutions. I’d like to analyze this issue from the conflict perspective. Conflict perspective lays emphasis on the significance of power differentials in influencing the behavior of drug users and the values of society regarding drug use. From the conflict perspective, drug abuse occurs as a so-called response to the inequality perpetuated by the capitalist system. Those members of society who are alienated from their families, work and friends turn to drugs in order to escape the oppression and frustration caused by injustice and inequalities they experience in different spheres. Moreover, conflict theorists state that the most powerful members of society greatly influence the definitions of which drugs are illegal and the corresponding penalties associated with illegal drug use, distribution and production. So, from the conflict perspective, drug abuse is the problem of social inequalities and class conflict in society. (Flamand, 2011, para.1)
The other important topic discusses the educational issues. I think that it is very important to analyze this issue from the functionalist perspective. From the functionalist perspective, all aspects of the society are interdependent and all of them contribute to the whole functioning of society. For example, the government of the country provides good education to all children. However, education helps to sort all people according to their talents and abilities which they can be used for a good cause of the society. Each member of society will find a job according to his level of education and pay taxes to the state. It means that the main role of education is to pass knowledge to the next generation for successful development of the society. According to the functionalist perspec tive, every member of society has its function. (Joshi, 2011, para.3)
The third important topic is related to the role of divorce in the life of a child. From the symbolic interactionist perspective of sociology, the society is a product of everyday social interactions of its members. Symbolic interactionists study how individuals can use symbols in order to create meaning. In studying effects of divorce on children, these interactionalist theorists analyze how people in everyday situations define the effects of divorce on children which are different in different cultures and settings. Divorce is regarded as an immoral act that is based on the lack of adult’s responsibility. In this case, the roles of parents are changed. Today, divorce is not perceived as immoral action, but it is regarded as a chance to start new life and to change personality. (Nelson, 2008, para.1)
Flamand, L. (2011) Substance Abuse & the Conflict Theory. Ehow.com. September 1, 2011. Retrieved from:<http://www.ehow.com/about_5413222_substance-abuse-conflict-theory.html>
Joshi, N. (2011) Functionalist Perspective. Buzzle.com. September 23, 2011. Retrieved from:<http://www.buzzle.com/articles/functionalist-perspective.html>
Nelson, L.D. (2008) Herbert Blumer’s Symbolic Interactionism. University of Colorado. Retrieved from:<http://www.colorado.edu/Communication/metadiscourses/Papers/App_Papers/Nelson.htm>
Three Major Perspectives in Sociology. (2010) Cliffs Notes. Retrieved from:<http://www.cliffsnotes.com/study_guide/Three-Major-Perspectives-in-Sociology.topicArticleId-26957,articleId-26837.html>