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Generally macrosociology refers to a set of factors, characteristics and dimensions that exist in society independently of individuals and that are believed to constrain them to behave and think in particular ways.
Basic sociological assumptions in macrosociology: Specific structure of society determines its other structural characteristics Social structures constrain individual behavior
Talcott Parsons (1902 – 1979)
Structural fuctionalism is traced to Durkheim It stresses: 1. 2. 3. 4. That society can not survive unless its members share at least some common perceptions, attitudes and values Each part of society makes contribution to the whole The various part of the society are integrated with each other, each part suports others as well as the whole These forces keep societies relatively stable
System is integral The social system can be defined by 4 characteristics: 1. 2. 3. 4. boundaries, interdependence of parts, needs/requirements Equilibrium (dynamic equilibrium)
A system must have boundaries. This means you can identify what parts are in the system and what are parts outside of it – Structural analysis The parts of system can be functional, dysfunctional or non-fuctional. Functional analysis of structures stresses the functional aspects of a part for the system.
In a functional analysis the system is seen as being in a state of equilibrium o balance when needs of he system are being met and the part are interdependent. For the system to be integrated and stable the assumption is that the individuals making up the system are committed to the general values of the system
Institutions such as family, education and religion are analysed according to how they help meet the needs of the society
A part is functional if helps to meet the needs of the system A part of the system that is harmful to the rest of the system is dysfunctional A part that is irrelevant to the system is nonfunctional
AGIL paradigm The heuristic scheme Parsons used to analyze systems and subsystems is called the "AGIL scheme“ To survive or maintain equilibrium with respect to its environment, any system must to some degree adapt to that environment (Adaptation), attain its goals (Goal Attainment), integrate its components (Integration), and maintain its latent pattern (Latency Pattern Maintenance), a sort of cultural template. These concepts can be abbreviated as AGIL.
AGIL The Social system level: The economy — social adaptation to its action and non-action environmental systems The polity — collective goal attainment The societal community — the integration of its diverse social components The fiduciary system — processes that function to reproduce historical culture in its "direct" social embeddedness.
Ralf Gustav Dahrendorf, Baron Dahrendorf (1929 – 2009)
Conflict perspective is traced to Marx. It stresses conflict, power differences and social change.
The basic elements in the conflict perspective are: 1. Societies are always changing 2. Conflict ad dissencsus are always present in society 3. These are element or parts present in every society that contribute to change 4. Coercion is always present in the society. In every society some people have more power than others
Conflict is seen as pervasive , as each group attempts to improve and maintain its position. These continuous power struggles between groups result in constantly changing society. Stability occurs during brief periods. Values, ideas and morality is viewed as rationalization for the existing power groups.
Both structural functionalists and conflict theorists are oriented toward the social structures and institutions. Structural-functionalists see society as orderly and static Conflict perspective views society as constantly chaging
Microsociology is traced to Weber Social facts are relevant only to the extent that people attach meaning and significance to them. Explanation of socila life and social structures are to be found at the individual level and in social interaction
George Herbert Mead (1863– 1931)
People are considered to be far more creators of society than passive recipients of society’s norms and values. They discover, invent, and initiate new norms and values. They create, interpret, plan and control their values and environment.
Human beings interpret each other’s actions instead of merely reacting to each other’s actions. Their response is not made directly to the actions of one another, but instead is based on the meaning which they attach to such actions. Human interaction is mediated by the use of symbols (most importantly language).
A symbol is something that stands for something else. Because humans can agree on the meaning of the symbols, they can effectivelly communicate. Because meanings of symbols are learned, they are necessary social and are learned through the interaction.
This ability to anticipate the responses of others is called role taking The role taking is the basic process by which interaction occurs Main focus on social behavior in everyday life
Harold Garfinkel (1917 – 2011)
How people carry out the ordinary routine activities Way in which people construct, interpret and use rules or norms of coduct
Emphasize on: 1. Direct study of everyday life activities 2. Understanding of language and meaning of people (having specific grammar or form) 3. Social rules and norms and he way people use them
The orderliness of social life, therefore, is produced through the moment-to-moment work of society’s members and ethnomethodology’s task is to explicate just how this work is done. Breaching experiments are experiments where "social reality is violated in order to shed light on the methods by which people construct social reality.
Alfred Schütz (1899 – 1959)
He was very focused on the "dialectical relationship between the way people construct social reality and the obdurate social and cultural reality that they inherit from those who preceded them in the social world” There is this existence of meaning which comes into play yet most people simply accept the world how it is and never second guess the concept or problem of meaning.