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There are three primary sociological theories discussed in Chapter 1 of the text, Sociology: Beyond Common Sense. Those sociological perspectives are also introduced in the Making Sense of Sociological Theory video. After reading Chapter 1 of the text and watching the video, briefly describe each theory and the major differences across the functionalist, conflict, and symbolic interaction perspectives. If there are specific sociologists affiliated with these perspectives please name them so that you can start to make connections between theorist and theory. Be sure to discuss the weaknesses and strengths of each theory.
Your initial post should be at least 250 words in length. Support your claims with examples from required material(s) and/or other scholarly resources, and properly cite any references. Respond to at least two of your classmates’ posts by Day 7.
(Sample for discussion 1, please do not copy)
The three sociological theories are Functionalism, Conflict, and Symbolic Interaction. The Functionalism theory “argues that society is best understood as an ordered, stable, interconnected system of parts, each of which helps meet the needs of the system” (Durkin & Carrothers, 2015, ch. 1.3). This means that the basis for Functionalism is based on order, stability, and be purposeful. Comte developed this theory and Durkheim expanded on it. In a Functionalism society, things like family, religion, a sound economic system, and the individuals within the society all have similarities and help to maintain the order that a functional society requires. The strength of this theory is that a group can make the society successful and a group is stronger than an individual. The weakness of this theory is that it assumes that everyone within the society will live harmoniously together, and we all know that is never the case.
The next theory is the Conflict theory. The Conflict theory poses the argument that “society is best understood as a constant struggle over power and scarce resources” (Durkin & Carrothers, 2015, ch. 1.3). This theory suggests that whichever groups within the society can maximize their resources get to exert control to build up the society in a way in which their group will benefit the most. One of the theorists that furthered the Conflict theory was Karl Marx. Marx believed that you were either the owner of the business that produced and benefited from the wealth and power that business afforded you or you were part of the group that worked in the business and were taken advantage of by those owners trying to protect their wealth and power. The Conflict theory is very different from the Functionalism theory. There is no working together within the Conflict theory or any kind of order or similarity. Those in power try to keep those not in power down and don’t care to function with those deemed to be beneath them. The strength of this theory is that it provides a way to grow a society. But the weakness is that not everyone will have the opportunity to prosper.
The third theory is Symbolic Interaction. Symbolic Interaction “is a micro-theoretical perspective that argues that society is best understood as being created by individuals constructing their social world and then communicating their constructed meanings to others” (Durkin & Carrothers, 2015, ch. 1.3). This theory was developed by Herbert Blumer. He gave three specific principles of symbolic interaction; people react towards things depending on what kind of meaning they place on them, the meaning that is placed on things comes from the societal beliefs and interactions with those around them, the meanings are then changed or evolved by the way the person interprets new encounters. This means that we have pre-existing notions about objects and ideas that often come from our exposure to society or those closest to us. Those preconceived notions can evolve or change depending on what kind of situations we encounter or even by growing our knowledge. This theory is different from the other two because it is not based on any kind of similarities or cohesion among the members of the society and it is also not based on conflict or trying to outdo the other members of society. This theory is about the individual and their beliefs. The strength of this theory is that it provides room for personal growth when looking at how people believe and relate to various things and ideas. The weakness of this theory is that it does not offer options as to how to incorporate this into a societal situation. It only focuses on what an individual believes and how real it is to them. This may not be true for anyone else within the society, however.
Durkin, K. F., & Carrothers, R. M. (2015). Sociology: Beyond common sense [Electronic version]. Retrieved from https://content.ashford.edu/)))))))
Vissing (2011) explains culture as “an organized system of living and thinking. It contains shared attitudes, values, goals, and behaviors that are present in individuals, groups, organizations, or regions of the world” (p. 24). After reading Chapter 3 in the text and “The Relation Between Culture and Social Structure,” summarize some of the ways that the role of culture can shape our expectations about how people are supposed to behave. Moreover, discuss how culture is involved in the consequences when a person does not behave as one is supposed to. Be sure to use the following terms in your explanation: values, norms, material, status, groups, and roles.
Your initial post should be at least 250 words in length. Support your claims with examples from required material(s) and/or other scholarly resources, and properly cite any references. Respond to at least two of your classmates’ posts by Day 7. Reference: Vissing, Y. (2011). Introduction to sociology. San Diego, CA: Bridgepoint Education, Inc.