The Three Main Theoretic Perspectives on How Society Impacts People

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  5
Wordcount:  1288 Words
Date:  2021-03-19

Introduction and Topic Description

Trust banner

Is your time best spent reading someone else’s essay? Get a 100% original essay FROM A CERTIFIED WRITER!

In the current world, employers continue to seek people whose education and knowledge can be applied in various backgrounds and whose skills can contribute greatly to a variety of tasks. The study of sociology is meant to offer people with a wide base of skill set that would in turn contribute to the wellness of many workplaces. The study of sociology at workplace prepares people for various career attainments. Apart from carrying out social research or training people in their desired fields, graduates from colleges with a specialization in sociology are hired by government corporations and agencies such as human resources, market research, marketing, health services, community planning, counselling, and social services. Even a smaller amount of training in sociology can be considered worthwhile in various careers including criminal justice, law, teaching, journalism, public relations, and sales.

According to Barbalet, Possamai & Turner (2011), the study of work, economic institutions, and industry forms a major backbone of sociology since the economy influences every other sector of society and thus social reproduction in totality. In the context of sociology, work is defined as the art of performing tasks, involving the expending of physical and mental effort, and whose goal is the generation of products and services designed to cater for human needs. In order to comprehend and appreciate the true nature of this concept, one has to carefully examine the different occupations and industries people work in, and consider the effects of workplace participation as well as workplace diversity.


Today, sociologists employ the three main theoretic perspectives: the conflict perspective, functionalist perspective, the interactionist perspective. These three viewpoints provide sociologists with theoretic paradigms by expounding on how society impacts people.

Functionalist Analysis (Functionalism)

Based on this perspective, each aspect shaping the society is fully independent and contributes largely to the functioning of the society as a whole. The state (or government) offer education for all the children across multiple families, a factor which reciprocates by leading to paying of taxes. The money from those taxes enables the state to keep funtioning for a lifetime. This implies that the family depends upon the school authority to assist children grow and have beter jobs so that they can raise and have good families. In the process, the same children become law abiding and tax-paying citizens, thus in turn supporting the state. The different parts of the society generate stability, order, and productivity.

The proponents of this theory believe that the society is conjoined by social consensus (or cohesion) wherein members of the same society hold an agreement and jontly work to accomplish what is desirable for their society. The functionalist perspective goes on to explain that social institutions are collective means via which social and individual needs are met. This perspective maintained internal cohesion and stability necessary to ensur ethier continued existence. Societies are perceived to function like organisms whereby various institutions work jointly to maintain and reproduce them. Since various institutions are functionally incorporated to form a more stable system, whereby a change in one instituti9on will precipirate a change in another institution (Fleckn & Hess, 2014).

This perspective has received criticism for downplaying the role of role of individual action, and especially for being incapable to account for social change. In this perspctive, society and all its institutions are considered the primary units of analysis. According to opponents of this perspecticve, functionalism is incapable of explaining social change since it tends to focus on equilibrium and social order in society.

Conflict Analysis

Originating from the Karl Marx's theory, this perspective tends to presents a society in a totally different light as compared to interactionist and functionalist perspectives. The conflict outlook major focus lies on the conflicted, negative, and always changing nature that shapes the society. The conflict proponents interpreted that the core conflict is stringently economic. Presently, conflict theorists find that social conflict existing between any groups wherein social inequality exists includes economic, political, religious and gender. The proponents of this perspective further concur that unequal groups tend to experience perpetual conflicting agendas and values, a factor that leads them to struggle and contend againt each other. This particular endless competition between groups forms the foundation of the static nature of the society.

There are some criticisms inherent in this perspective. For instance, critics point out its overly negative perception of the society. The perspective attributes civic rights, democracy, altruism, humanitarian efforts, and various positive aspects of society to capitalistic designs as a means of controlling the masses, and not just to consider intrinsic interests in safeguarding the society and its social order.

Interactionist Analysis

This perspective tends to direct sociologists and force them to consider the details and symbols of day-to-day life, the implication of these symbols, and the interaction of people amongst themselves with regard to this analysis. According to this perspective, people have a tendency to attach meanings to symbols, and later act in accordance with their idiosyncratic interpretation of such symbols. In particular, verbal conversations wherein oral words serve as the dominant symbols shapes and makes this subjective interpretation evident. The interactionists tend to allude grim thought to how certain individuals act, and go ahead to govern what meanings people tend to assign to their own symbols and actions, and to those of others (Totten & Pedersen, 2007).

The criticizers of this perspective assert that interactionism analysis deserts the macro level found in social interpretation, that is, the big picture. This implies that interactionists always miss the bigger issues of society by majorly concentrating too closely on the smaller issues. This perspective further receives censure for imposing the impact of social institutions and forces on specific interactions.



This discussion on deeper aspects of sociology creates the capacity for critical thinking regarding social problems and issues confronting the modern day society. These aspects are crucial because they give one the skills to prepare reports and communicate multifaceted ideas. It is important to analyze these issues with a keener eye in order to exude the capability to recognize significant differences in peoples economic, cultural, and social backgrounds. From there, one would be able to devise and conduct research projects in view of assessing whether a policy or a program is functioning as required. The most important facet of this knowledge is to derive an inner understanding of large bureaucracies and social systems.

The various theories (call them perspectives) in sociology are meant to offer us with different perspectives with which we can perceive our social world. From the three analyses, we learn that the society is a unified whole that seeks to attain a state of equilibrium. Secondly, society comprises of groups that compete for scarce resources. Third, sociology should be treated as value-free and should be used for enacting social change. Often, social life can be measured by observing day-to-day interactions (Fleckn & Hess, 2014).


This essay has classically analyses the most overlooked topics in sociology, by openly discussing them under one umbrella. The essay has expounded on them, explained them in detail, and enumerated the various criticism associated with each of them. It is important to note that the sociology is a broad subject, and is built and founded on the theories and perspectives from a variety of theorists and thinkers. So, the analysis of these aspects should be considered from all angles before arriving at a proper conclusion.


Barbalet, J. M., Possamai, A., & Turner, B. S. (2011). Religion and the state: A comparative sociology. London: Anthem Press.

Fleck, C., & Hess, A. (2014). Knowledge for whom?: Public sociology in the making. Farnham, Surrey, England ; Burlington, VT : Ashgate

Totten, S., & Pedersen, J. E. (2007). Addressing social issues in the classroom and beyond: The pedagogical efforts of pioneers in the field. Charlotte, N.C: IAP-Information Age Pub.

Cite this page

The Three Main Theoretic Perspectives on How Society Impacts People. (2021, Mar 19). Retrieved from

Free essays can be submitted by anyone,

so we do not vouch for their quality

Want a quality guarantee?
Order from one of our vetted writers instead

If you are the original author of this essay and no longer wish to have it published on the ProEssays website, please click below to request its removal:

didn't find image

Liked this essay sample but need an original one?

Hire a professional with VAST experience and 25% off!

24/7 online support

NO plagiarism