Functionalism: (Emile Durkheim)

The French social researcher Emile Durkheim, who claimed that portions of society are interrelated and their interdependence enforces organization on the conduct of institutions and their participants, is credited with coining the term “social structure.”

According to Durkheim, mechanical solidarity is an emotional object of desire for social units or organizations that conduct the same or comparable capabilities, such as preindustrial self-sufficient farmers; and organic solidarity, an interdependence based on differentiated capabilities and specialization, as seen in a manufacturing company, the armed services, administration, or other complex organizations.

Once American sociologist Talcott Parsons promulgated the “functional prerequisites” that every system of governance must encounter in the concept of surviving, structural functionalism was slightly modified: establishing systematized personal and social accommodations (structures), defining relationships with the surrounding environment, establishing boundaries, recruitment and selection,, and influencing representatives. Together with Robert K. Merton and others, Parsons classified such structures based on their purposes. This technique, known as functional evaluation (also known as systems theory), was used so widely that it became associated with the empirical study of social structure for certain sociologists.

Conflict Theory: (Karl Marx)

The struggle between the two basic classes was the emphasis of Karl Marx’s interpretation of conflict theory. Every class is composed of a group of members who are linked by common interests and a proportional ownership of property. Karl Marx wrote about the bourgeoisie, a class of people that control the preponderance of society’s wealth and influence. The other group is the proletariat, which comprises people who are deemed working-class or impoverished.

Marx argued that the bourgeoisie, a small group in society, would exploit their power to subjugate the proletariat, the majority. This method of thinking is linked to conflict theory-based conceptions of society; adherents to this ideology believe that commodities and services are distributed in society in a pyramid pattern. Marx believed that commodities and services are distributed in society in a pyramid pattern. Because they have significant influence over money and power, a group of elites at the top of this pyramid impose terms and conditions on everyone else below them. This exploitation can take place economically (as when an employer pays only a fraction of what someone makes) or politically, in which case elites limit the ability of citizens. They express themselves by using their money or lobbying power to influence politicians on issues that do not concern them personally.

Interactionism: (C.H. Cooley)

Cooley is credited as one of the pioneers of the interactionist approach, which attempts to highlight society via daily patterns of human interaction. According to Cooley’s concept of self, we learn who we are by our encounters with others. The Looking Glass Self is what it’s called. This essentially indicates that our self-image is formed by both our own reflection and what others perceive of us. Cooley felt that one develops a notion of who they are as a result of these encounters; so, the self is a reflection of our social relationships.

According to the looking glass self hypothesis, there are three stages to the creation of self:

  • Individuals perceive how they seem to everyone else.
  • They assume how others judge them depending on their looks and how they represent themselves.
  • Depending on our perceptions of what others perceive of us, we form some type of emotion about ourselves.

Cooley stressed the autonomy of the person in determining which judgments they watch and listen to in identity construction, as well as managing and judging others’ judgments.