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Sociological Theories

Sociological Theories

Sociology is the study of human behavior in groups, or societies. Sociology looks at the origins, developments, organizations, and institutions involved in human society. As a result, numerous sociological theories have developed. A sociological theory is a statement about how and why particular facts are related. Notable sociological theorists include Marshal McLuhan and Talcott Parsons.

Sociologist Kenneth Allan was the one who defined the difference between a sociological theory and a social theory. Under his definition, sociological theories consist of abstract, but testable propositions regarding human society. A sociological theory is also heavily dependent upon the scientific method for testing. Social theory, in contrast, is a commentary and critique of modern society.

Of the many sociological theories, some remain more prominent than others. Structuralism-Functionalism, drawn heavily from the work of Emile Durkheim, attempts to explain institutions as collective efforts to meet biological needs. Conflict theory holds that society is essentially a competition, where individuals compete for limited resources, and large structures (government, religion) maintain power through controlling and amassing those resources. Other major sociological theories include role theory, social constructionism, and feminist theory.

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