Posted by: rpires | January 12, 2011

Sociological Perspectives

Click on the following videos/websites to view the multimedia resources for this week. Scroll all the way down this website. Be sure to participate in our weekly poll located at bottom of this page and leave a comment!


Sociological perspectives which are also referred to as theoretical perspectives and sociological theories are used by sociologists to explain and predict both society and human behavior; particularly human behaviors in groups. There are three main sociological perspectives (theories) used by sociologists to understand society.

While there are new sociological theories or explanations that come out of social research all the time, usually new theories derive from one of the three main perspectives of functionalism, conflict and symbolic interaction.

Functionalists and conflict sociologists tend to study society using a macronanalysis approach. This means that they tend to focus on the totality or society as whole. Symbolic interactionists on the other hand tend to explain and study small group or individual behaviors which is referred to as a microanalysis.

Let’s examine these more further, shall we?


1. The Three Minute Sociologist: Why Theory?!?!!

Teacher, why do we have to study theory? When do we get to the good stuff? Hmm…


2. The Sociological Perspective and the Sociological Imagination – these two key terms are usually used interchangeably although there are differences.


3. Overview of Macrosociology and Microsociology


4. Differences Between Macro and Micro Level Analysis

5. Overview of Functionalism, Conflict, and Symbolic Interaction Theoriess


6. Introduction to Structural Functionalism (macro analysis of society)

Functionalism explains society as being made up of different parts (structures) that all work (function) together in unity to maintain a balance. Sociologists also call these parts social institutions which are the building blocks of society.


7. What Are Social Institutions?


8. Introduction to Structural Functionalism and Conflict Theory Lecture (macro level analysis)


9. The Three Minute Sociologist Explains the Functionalist Theoretical Perspective


10. Conflict Theory (macro level analysis)

This video covers the basic ideas of conflict theory.


11. Explaining Karl Marx

Karl Marx had a vision of a classless society which he called communism. After his death many countries adopted communism or close variations. Sociology considers Marx the “father of conflict theory.”


12. Marx’s Theory


13. Marx’s Concepts of Class Consciousness and False Consciousness


14. The conditions of the proletariat class – examples from NYC and the efforts to change society during industrialization.

The Triangle Fire and Tenement housing in NYC.


15. The Work of Jane Adams


16. Overview of Feminist Theory


17. Communist Smurfs is a lighthearted comparison of the Smurf cartoon series to Marxism and communism.


18. The Russian Revolution and the beginnings of communism in Russia. The fall of communism in Eastern Europe in 1989.


19. A Tribute to Communism (disclaimer: graphic video)

But Marx’s vision of equality did not materialize in countries that attempted to to live by his ideas as you can see in this graphic video. Based on your understanding of conflict theory, do you think it is possible to have a truly equal society? Why or why not?


20. Overview of Symbolic Interaction


21. Symbolic Interaction: Labels (micro level analysis)

As you watch this video, think about the labels that were put on you by your family, teachers and friends when you were a child. Were they mainly positive or negative? Did you become those labels as an adult?


22. Symbolic Interaction: Social Construction of Reality (micro level analysis)

As you watch this video, think about how our views of reality are affected by our culture and our use of language (verbal and non-verbal symbols) as we interact with one another creating meaning for ourselves.

23. Dramaturgy (Impression Management)


24. Dramaturgy Explained – good student produced video (micro level analysis)


25. The Looking Glass Self Explained (micro level analysis)


26. Non-Verbal Communication

Psychologists have found that 60%-90% of our communication is non-verbal. Next time you’re interacting with another person pay attention to your non-verbal behavior and the messages you think the other person is receiving (looking-glass self).


27. Sociology of Gossip


27. Books on Audio – Listen to the Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx and Frederich Engels


These videos should have given you a general overview of the three sociological perspectives. Feel free to leave a comment below for your colleagues. These comments are NOT part of our Bb discussions – just a place for you to leave a quick comment if you would like to share with your colleagues.


Here is the poll for this unit:





  1. These videos are very helpful. After reading, every chapter I need to refresh my memory. Watching these videos, help refresh my memory a little more.

  2. Smurf Communists? I grew up watching the Smurfs. It’s funny how everything they do and say, does seem to be under the communist umbrella. I don’t know if I necessarily agree with the person’s opinion…however, he makes some valid points. I would like to think its all a coincidence, then again who knows. Still interesting. It makes you think.

  3. I watched a few of these videos and found a history interesting. I can see why learning sociology is important to our present and future communities. If we don’t learn from our past we are destined to repeat ourselves. I found most of the videos I watched interesting and informative but I particularly liked Jane Addams and what she did for the society in Chicago and how she changed the world with her life’s work.

    • I completely agree with you! If we don’t learn from past events we are bound to make the same mistake. History does always find a way to repeat itself. We have seen examples time and time again. For a better future we must recognize and learn from sociological patterns.

  4. I find it interesting that events in past history are occurring today but it is not brought to light as it was in the past. It is discouraging that we see it and ignore it.

  5. In watching a number of these videos I have a better understanding of the Sociological Perspectives. There is a lot of information to absorb but the multiple videos helped to understand each perspective better. There are so many components to sociology and I have learned that you have to look outside to box to understand the concepts and how they work.

  6. I watched several of these videos and was able to get a concept of the three social perspectives. I can see why Karl Marx saw communism as the solution to change labor laws, Czar’s, and the imperialistic system. Yet after Marx, his plan fell into the hands of Stalin and Mao, who used Marx theories to wipe out their own population, consolidate power to themselves and while using that power to fulfill selfish ambitions. This later caused communism to fall. I believe that I relate to functionalism because it is meant to be sustainable and reliable to maintain society.

  7. we are the products of the society we grow up in, thus our values and beliefs differ from one another. Coming to understand what’s in the norm for us and how it can be so different in other countries can be said about different places within our own .I wonder what would happen if every child born today were to take sociology, how the world would be.

  8. Never had an interest in soiology and I found it kind of confusing but yet intersting, I want to know more about our society and need to learn more about the three sociologial persectives of functionalism.

  9. The video’s on Marx and communism were interesting to me because I see the President and his political supporters trying to move the U.S into that type of society. He grew up with a communist, Islamic father in Indonesia, and has every intention of destroying the Republicans and the U.S

  10. I can see how all theories have an impact on out society. I am most fascinated, however, by the symbolic interaction perspective. The smurfs video was funny but realistic at the same time.

  11. I believe that this has alot to do with who we are as individuals and society.

  12. I agree, the way that we are and the way we act has alot to do with the perspectives of our society

  13. I was surprised that I still remember some of these concepts. I still don’t have a favorite though.

  14. […] using the three sociological perspectives of functionalism, conflict and symbolic interaction. Click here if you need to refresh your understanding of the three sociological […]

  15. […] Sociological Perspectives Videos […]

  16. […] using the three sociological perspectives of functionalism, conflict and symbolic interaction. Click here if you need to refresh your understanding of the three sociological […]

  17. […] using the three sociological perspectives of functionalism, conflict and symbolic interaction. Click here if you need to refresh your understanding of the three sociological […]

  18. […] using the three sociological perspectives of functionalism, conflict and symbolic interaction. Click here if you need to refresh your understanding of the three sociological […]

  19. […] Want to learn more about the three sociological theories? Click here. […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s