Theoretical perspectives in sociology

Theoretical perspectives

The term perspective itself attains with massive variation in ideologies of a different person. And as sociology is a combination of many sciences, also known as Queen of sciences has, even more, vast area when it comes with dealing Perspective of Sociology.

sociologicl imagination and perspectives

From the ancient times, Sociologist also gets divided into three types where they had three different perceptions regarding sociology. It is obvious that everybody sees the world through their opinion first, later on, the communication process changes some of the perceptions.

The three different opinions discussed above are as follows:-

1.Many sociologists take world entity on a very positive outlook. They consider that the world is at a simple harmony with each other. It kind of neglects any negative vibes that could be present in the society. Having a positive approach towards everything is fine but closing eyes towards any problem can lead to a disastrous situation.

2.Other group focused more on problems. It dealt with people continuously fighting for something be it raw material or place. It covered the negative aspect of society more than the positive one.

3.Then there were a different group of sociologists who placed a different point from other two that the daily routine covers more interesting parts. They were mesmerized by the amount of variation it offered.

Thus Sociology can be considered as a union of theories which establishes a relationship between men and society. It studies the detailed behavior of a human being at a different situation.

Then the sociologist came with three vital types of perspectives on which a society run. These types of perspectives are the basic fundamentals of a society.

The three theoretical perspectives are as follows:-


Sociologists namely Talcott Parson, Robert K Merton, and K. Davis have done a massive research work in Functional Perspective. Functional Perspective got its popularity back at the time of two renowned Sociologists named August Comte and Herbert Spencer.

This set of perspective can be understood by a simple example of Lathe Machine. The lathe Machine as a whole can be used only when its tool parts are at the right place and in a right condition. Same thing happens with society. Society as a whole constitutes many human beings. When every human being performs its duties in a righteous manner, whole society condition can always remain in peace and harmony.

Emile Durkheim‘and afterward ‘Radcliffe- Brown’ and ‘Talcott Parson‘ also contributed tremendous work in making concepts of Functional Perspective in a better way.

Many sociologists claim that society and men relationship is co-related to each other. If we want a better functioning of society, a man role should be dignified for better results. A society in simple words can be defined as the integration of men, surroundings and many other things. A society needs men as much as a man needs a society to live in. They can be called as the complementary phenomenon to each other.

Just like in physics that the sublimation process is always in equilibrium, just like that society is also said to be in equilibrium. And the only slight amount of changes can be fruitful. Otherwise, it is futile for a society growth and harmony.

If any change brings more calm and growth among the society, it is termed as harmonious equilibrium. If it hampers the equilibrium process, it is termed as dysfunctional and if it doesn’t bring any change then it is termed as non-functional. For example, if a college starts a new section of a subject for any group, it is harmonious equilibrium. If the college students get into a fight for a seat in new subject, it is termed as dysfunctional. If the college makes rooms of square shape in place of rectangular ones, it is termed as non-functional.

Parson came up with a research in which he clearly mentioned the AGIL rule, in which he said a society must complete these four procedures to remain in a stable situation. Adaptation, Goal Attainment, Integration and Pattern Maintenance were the four key elements of AGIL research work done by Parson.

Later Parson again did some research work to establish a relationship between change and equilibrium. He argued that change is not always dysfunctional or destructive in nature. With a change, the society also changes its pattern to again achieve equilibrium. An American Sociologist also put his words which stated that change is the permanent thing but both of the sociologists agreed with the point that if dysfunctional thing happened more than its limit, the change would not be lo longer positive and in fact, it can introduce many negative consequences that a demand for change can be seen.

It can be also understood by the graph of stress v/s strain in which a load is carried up to some extent. And when the elastic limit is reached, the load gets into a different shape thus facing breaking point ad fracture point afterward. Same is the case with society when the change is dysfunctional more than the capacity, a strong need of change is demanded which accounts for a greater sense of social changes.


Marxist Perspective was somehow entirely opposite to Functional Perspective. It sees world difficulty before harmony or any positive change. Karl Marx can be considered as the father of researchers regarding Marxist Perspective. The whole purpose of this perspective was not to bring out any negative impact, in fact discussing the negative impact to get the positive solutions.

Karl Marx presented the woes of labor class people and also showed that an iron cage policy where capitalism ruled over poor people should be demolished. He not only worked for the labour class people, he also gave the insight of a female sex importance in society. The discrimination done on caste, creed, sex or class was highly demotivated under his researches.

Before 1960, his theories were not as popular as they are today. On one hand, functional perception tends to give importance to peace and stability whereas conflict perception focused upon the wrongs of society and measures which can bring the change in a subtle way.

At the time of functional perception, the power of decision-making was in the hand of upper-class people and churches, thus sociologists only see the world for them only. But as soon as Conflict Perception made its entry, decision-making was a right given to every citizen and it also made a change in point of view of many sociologists towards people other than upper class.

Also, this time witnessed two major changes which account for today’s time change. One example was when ‘W.F.B. Du Bois’ researched and presented his work for a racially egalitarian society in which he appealed that everybody should get equal rights and nobody should be discriminated on any ground.

Another example was set for women when sociologists namely R Collins, Cook, Fish, and James worked efficiently for the betterment of education and status of women. It was no longer needed that only a man should work in the home or every power was in the hand of a man. People seem to be revolting under this perception for their rights which definitely brought a commendable change.


Apart from Functional and Conflict Perspective, Interaction Perspective was more about observing a man’s behavior even in a gathering of friends. It can speculate minute details of a human behavior when it comes in contact with other human being respective of sex, relationships, family, a culture at any gatherings. The well-known sociologist who gave his analogy towards the micro level of sociology where he perceived small changes in a human being depending on the situation.

Interaction Perception also holds for symbolic representation of human behavior. For example, hands folded in India meant respecting someone says guest or elder, whereas a thumbs up mean wishing luck to someone for something important. But in Bangladesh, thumbs up accounts for insults and portrayed as an offensive thing from years.

In every culture, every notation may mean different things. For example, a salute in America means respecting someone whereas two fingers folded and three fingers at you can mean shooting you. Also, the horn on symbol has two different indications in different countries. In the USA, horn on symbol indicates for appraisal, whereas in some countries like Brazil, Cuba, this sign is made for telling people that their other half is cheating on them.

sociology perspective

Also, the V sign in the USA is considered as a symbol of peace and victory. They are the sources of communication done in a non-verbal way.

Another sociologist named as Ervin Goffman had done a tremendous job by which he attracted many people towards this micro concept of living in a society. He started a method known as a Dramaturgical approach in which knowingly or unknowingly brings out the hidden aspects of anybody personality.

‘Harold Garfinkel’, another sociologist also contributed by bringing out a new method known as ethnomethodology, in which he assigned some students a task in which they have to call their parents by Mr or Mrs, thus disturbing a daily life order to see whether they can sustain the change or not. They break daily life rules to see a change in everybody’s demeanor.

Ethnomethodology was a well-known experiment in past times to sustain some results. One of the conclusions made by sociologists was that if someone is not informed of the previous information regarding any case, they tend to give more ideas and become more open to any kind of judgment as compared to the people who have gathered previous knowledge beforehand.

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I am Prerna Jha, pursuing mechanical engineering from KIIT, Odisha, But I Love to Read and Write Sociology Related Concepts and Theories. I have done schooling from MVM School, Bilaspur. I have interest in writing love stories or any specific genre. I pursue a great interest in quilting. Right now I am an aspiring writer who writes for various pages. I have participated in many social events. I am a social animal who likes to have maximum participation in any fest. Please like our Facepage page and Write Articles for this website please Please click here