Whysociological perspectives are important tools used in analyzingsociological phenomena.
Sociologistsuse different perspectives to analyze various sociological phenomenaat different levels. The term sociological perspective refers to aviewpoint on human behavior and its link to the society at large(Mooney 1). Any sociological perspective aims at helping peopleestablish the link between the behavior of an individual member ofthe society and the structure of their society. However, somesociologists choose to focus in individual members of the societywhile others opt to concentrate on the society as a unit of study(Kurt 16). This paper will provide the analysis of the three majorsociological perspectives, including the functionalism, symbolicinteractions, and conflict theory. The paper will focus on theconflict theory as the most appropriate perspective in explaining thesociety.
Thefunctionalist perspective holds that each element of the societyfunctions in an interdependent way and makes significant contributiontowards the functioning of the society as a whole (Kurt 16). Thesupporters of the functionalism perspective hold that the society asa unit is help together by cohesion or consensus. This means thatmembers of a given society are held together by issues they agreeupon and work cooperatively to achieve them. Emile Durkheim, one ofthe key functionalist sociologist, believes that consensus in thesociety can occur in two forms. First, mechanical solidarity refersto a type of cohesion in which simple or traditional societies holdsimilar beliefs, values, and engage in similar works (Harcourt 1).Secondly, organic solidarity occurs when complex and industrializedsocieties hold different beliefs, values, and engage in differenttypes of work.
Theconflict perspective was developed out of the writings of Karl Marx,including the class struggle. Unlike other perspective, the conflicttheory support social change, challenge the idea of the status quo,and hold that the rich members of the society pressure the weak andpoor members of the society into certain social orders (Mooney 2). Inessence, the conflict theory is based on the notion that socialorders are established by conflict, negative and the ever-changingnature of the society. The theory of conflicts attributes allpositive features of the society (such as altruism, humanitarianefforts, civil rights, and democracy) to the capitalistic designsthat control the masses. This forms the basis of criticisms raisedagainst the theories of conflict.
Theperspective of symbolic interactionist is one of themicro-sociological theories that focus on the physiological andsocial dynamic of individual members of a given society interactingin small units or groups (Mooney 2). Although the perspective ofsymbolic interactionist is based on the concepts of Max Weber, it wasinitially introduced to the American psychology by George Meadbetween 1863 and 1931 (Harcourt 1). This perspective is mainly basedon the notion that people human beings attach some meanings tosymbols in their environment and take actions depending on theirsubjective understanding and interpretation of the symbols. Thisgives explains why people behave differently and react to differentsituations in different ways.
Theconflict theory is the most appropriate perspective that can be usedto explain the society. The strength of this perspective is based onthe fact that it looks for moral ends. This means that the conflicttheory seeks for the liberation of humanity from the bogus concept ofuniversality. In addition, the theory addresses the mostcontroversial issues (such as power and human interaction) affectinghe contemporary society (Mooney 2). The theory explains how thescarcity of resources influences the relationship of members of thesociety, especially between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie. Thismeans that the theory of conflict, unlike the functionalism andsymbolic interactionist, goes beyond stability and order in thesociety.
Theconflict perspectives give a better explanation about the occurrenceof human trafficking. Based on this perspective, the deviance ofhuman trafficking should not be conceptualized as a faulty orabnormal behavior. Human trafficking, instead, be conceptualized as anormal political phenomenon that results from intergroup strugglesfor superiority and dominance. This is based on the principle idea ofthe theory of conflict, which suggests that different groups in thesociety struggle for the limited resources and this creates anopportunity for the certain groups to dominate over others (Mooney2). The conflicting groups in this case are the traffickers andtrafficking people as well as people who use the trafficked peoplefor forced labor or sexual exploitation. The basic causes of thistype of conflict are economic and social forces functioning within agiven society. The criminal network operates or functions on behalfof the well-up and elite members of the society who are caught andprosecuted for the crime.
Sociologicalperspectives are important tools used by sociologists to explain thebehavior of individual members of the society and human interactionsthat occur within the society. However, different perspectives applydifferent principles to achieve this goal. The functionalism,symbolic interactions, and conflict theory are the most commonperspectives used by the sociologists to analyze sociologicalphenomena at various levels. For example, the conflict theory gives abetter explanation for the occurrence of the crime of humantrafficking where the rich and powerful members of the societystruggle to occupy the higher ranks in economic and social orders.
Harcourt,H. Three major perspectives in sociology. HoughtonMifflin Harcourt.2014. Web. September 2014.
Kurt,L. SOC2014: Third edition update.New York: McGraw Hill, 2013. Print.
Mooney,A., Knox, D., Schacht, C. Understandingsocial problems (5thed.).Stamford, CT: Cengage Learning, 2013. Print.