Differences Between Structural Functionalism and Symbolic Interactionism
This week, you read about the major theoretical perspectives in sociology (functionalist, conflict, feminist, queer, and symbolic interactionist).
Write an essay defining and interpreting each perspective. Paraphrase each perspective, using your textbook as a resource. Do not copy the definitions from the text, but rather paraphrase in your own words and provide citations in APA format where necessary. Additionally, briefly explain the importance of the perspectives to the field of sociology.
Your essay should be 1â€“2 pages in length. Compose your essay in APA format with a title page, introduction, conclusion, and references section. Cite at least one scholarly reference in APA format. An abstract is not necessary
The main difference between functionalism and symbolic interactionism is that functionalism looks at society as a complex system whose components work together to promote unity and stability whereas symbolic interactionism looks at society as a social construct that relies on human interpretations.
Functionalism and symbolic interactionism are two major theoretical paradigms that analyse society and its structure. These two paradigms view society from different perspectives. Functionalism is a macro-level framework as it looks as society as a whole, whereas symbolic interactionism is a more micro-level framework as it looks at individual interpretations.
What is Functionalism?
Functionalism or structural functionalism is a framework for the sociological theory that sees society as a complex system whose parts work together to promote solidarity and stability. In other words, functionalism looks at each part of the society in terms of function and how it contributes to the stability of the whole society. According to this theory, all parts of society are dependent on each other. These different parts usually refer to various institutions in society, which fulfil different needs of people; each of these has a particular role and contribute to society as a whole.
Early sociologists like Herbert Spencer used the analogy of a human body to describe society. According to these theorists, understanding any organ in the body involved an understanding of its relationship to other organs and its contribution towards the maintenance of the organism. Similarly, if we want to understand a particular part of society, we need to analyze its relationship to other parts as well as its contribution to the stability and solidarity of society.