Definition of Sociology, Culture and Cultural Relativism - Essay Sample

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  7
Wordcount:  1849 Words
Date:  2022-10-19

Definition of sociology

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, Sociology refers to the science of society, social institutions, and social relationships specifically: the systematic study of the development, structure, interaction, and collective behavior of organized groups of human beings. It is a fascinating field of education as it gives a broad perspective of how things around us matter. It can be viewed from various views. It can be observed at a personal level where it views aspects of personal life such as love life, gender identity, behavior, family issues, and religion just to mention but a few. The role of sociology is to focus primarily on trying to explain why the mentioned things happen.

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The next level at which sociology is applicable is the community level. It brings to light the human relationship at the societal level. At this level, it assesses the products of fundamental personal interactions of different individuals. At this level, it assesses things such as education, poverty and wealth, criminology and law, business and entrepreneurship and the religion on a bigger picture. The next level of interaction will be societal versus societal level which now gives the global scale of interaction. This involves matters such as war, population growth, and its effects, and also the economic interaction between the societies at large. Explanation of the three major sociological perspectives

Sociology has equipped us with theories which enable us to view and evaluate our social environment using various aspects. A perspective refers to an attitude which has been preformed to view at other surrounding elements.

On the other hand, a theory refers to a set of unfounded facts which are created with the aim of explaining a certain phenomenon; it creates a perspective to which we view the societal environment with. Therefore, Sociological theories enable us to have a rough explanation as to why things happen in our lives and to the globe as a whole since it is a complex interaction. Sociology is hence based on three major theoretical perspectives namely: the conflict perspective, the functionalist perspective, and the symbolic-interactionist perspective. The latter can also be referred to as the interactionist perspective, and sometimes it is simply referred to as the micro view). The three perspectives offer different reasons and explanations behind human behavior and relation with each other and the environment. Below is the discussion of independent explanation of each perspective.

The first perspective we highlight is the Functionalist perspective. It refers to a system that has been well interconnected, and its primary objective is to make the different parts work in close collaboration and harmony. Its primary focus is directed to how the different parts work together - a good illustration of this how roles have been assigned at different levels. Parents are responsible for giving birth to children; schools will, therefore, take care of their education. On the other hand, the government ensures political stability for the peaceful coexistence of people in the society. People also work, this leads to the generation of income which enables the government to provide services to the citizens who in turn pay taxes to sustain services the government is offering to the natives. This contributes to the economics of society. This is just but a demonstration of how this is a system of interactions of various systems that must work in harmony to succeed. Functionalism employs the use of terminologies such as functional and dysfunctional.

The functional term refers to all factors within the established system that contributes positively to society. The dysfunctional element of the community relates to those that have little to no contribution to the wellbeing of the organization. Some features can overlap as either being functional or otherwise. A factor such as crime can cause fear in the society but also causes invest in part of the government to invest in security matters. Sociologists have come up with two types of function, namely latent and manifest. Latent refers to those consequent elements that are unnoticeable; having little impact on society and manifest is the direct opposite referring to those that have a tremendous noticeable effect. The second perspective is the conflict perspective. While functionalists view the society as composed of systems working together, the conflict perspective brings the complete opposite dimension of the same. It suggests that society is made of different methods which have their own unique goals they want to achieve in a manner of stiff competition. It indicates that the groups are guided by selfishness as they only integrate what suits them. A good example will be the work done by Karl Marx; he describes the economics and industrialization in the light that the owners of the factories and industries get to use the workforce of the lowly people to benefit themselves with massive profits and the lowly one go home with mere wages. This is has been necessitated by the fact that there is continuous growth of population and this creates a competition for the little resources available. Those who are aggressive get to benefit most as compared to the less aggressive individuals. It is survival for the fittest kind of thing. And this has split the society into the groups of the rich and poor. The third and final perspective is the Symbolic Interactionist Perspective. The two perspective highlighted earlier reflects on the institutional level of social life, in other words, the macro sociology. However, this highlights the Microsociology part of things. These mainly focus energy on the psychological and behavioral aspect of social life. It suggests that human behavior is strictly influenced by the interaction of symbolism. It further states that social interaction significantly shapes our identity. We develop our identity by observing and perceiving how others feel about us. Definitions and meaning of situations is the hallmark of the symbolic interactionism. People get to attach significance to symbols which then forms the basis of how they act regarding the sense they have connected to the symbols.

What Is Culture Made up Of?

According to Merriam-Webster dictionary, Culture refers to the beliefs, customs, arts, that is shared by a particular society or group of people. It mainly refers to the way of life that people live in a given community. It is an essential part of the way people live as it influences their views on matters such as religion and politics. It forms a solid foundation in the relationship between people who don't live in close proximities as it will force one person to understand the cultural practices of the place they want to visit so that they can relate easily. It is a very interesting phenomenon as it uniquely owned by the people belonging to that society. Having said that culture is unique, it doesn't necessarily mean that culture cannot be shared or transferred to the other societies. Cultural transfer can take place in instances such as intermarriages, relocations. Other mechanisms can also influence the transfer of cultural practices, such as war and political instabilities that may cause people to migrate from their places of origin.

Culture has about seven elements which are going to be discussed in length individually. These elements are social organization, religion, language, arts, and literature, economic systems, forms of government and customs and traditions. Social organization is an element that occurs in a stable kind of society which is well organized. It refers to the state in which there is balance in the parts and components of the organization. Organized societies tend to have a smooth way of operation as the mode of action has been figured out and demonstrated. It thrives in change, but a smooth transition to the shift is what makes it more stable as abrupt change may induce instability. Religion is another essential component of culture. It has been defined by sociologists as the things which surpass human understanding and also described as a set of practices that is hinged towards sacred belief. They go ahead to mention that some people relate or associate religion to places of worship. It is a complex phenomenon to define. Various religions exist Islam, Buddhism, and Christianity to mention but a few. Other people also believe in the nonexistence of God or superior beings, the atheists.

Language is another element closely intertwined with culture. A specific language points towards a particular culture. So this means that language is a way of sustaining and influencing culture. Arts and literature are specific to different cultural practices. This involves artwork for example sculptures and music with unique musical instruments and unique songs particular to the community. Customs and traditions are also practiced uniquely too given populations and can be transferred to other communities. A form of government is also specific to communities. They are societies which practice the democratic type of leadership and others are led by kings in a monarch type of leadership.

Cultural Relativism

Cultural relativism refers to the differences in ethical practices within different cultural settings. It is based on the fact that the practices can be perceived differently in that, what is practiced by one cultural group can right to it but be perceived as being wrong in another set of the group. I highlight the reasons why I think we should practice cultural relativism. Cultural relativism also brings into light the moral aspect of matters within society. We should practice cultural relativism because of the advantages it brings forth. These advantages include but not limited to the fact that it will boost respect to other cultures. The reason behind this is that the moral judgment of the cultural activities is highly subjective, what is right to me may be wrong to you, and the vice versa is true. So it creates mutual respect for each culture. We should practice it because it also facilitates culture conservation and preservation. One doesn't have to change their ways due to criticism, promotes embracing of cultures hence protection.

Discussion on Organizations and Bureaucracy

According to the business dictionary, an organization is a social unit of people that is structured and managed to meet a need or to pursue collective goals. There are many types and systems of organizations that exist. An organization structure refers to the form in which a company or an organization is set up. It is an essential part of the success of an organization. A good organization structure has a well-outlined hierarchy and well-established communication systems within the compositions of the company. The three types of formal organizations include the following, coercive, utilitarian and normative. Coercive type of organization refers to the type which involves the creation of a strict environment with rules and regulations that should be upheld by all means. In this type, involves retransformation or in other words, re-socialization, this means that one's a person joins this type of organization, he or she no longer retains his or her status, it gets transformed into another identity. The entry is involuntary and exists determined by special situations that are decided by the organization.

Utilitarian, on the other hand, refers to the organization where one joins voluntarily. They get to apply to join. It is also...

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