Key sociological theory OCR

Revision notes on sociological theory

  • Created by: Ayesha
  • Created on: 05-11-12 11:48


Key sociologists: Emile Durkheim/Talcott Parsons

  • a structural theory - which argues that society shapes the individual through socialisation and social control
  • a macro model - examines society as whole in terms of its organisational structure
  • a consensus model - argues all societies are based on consensus over values and that therefore a common value system exists in all societies
  • social solidarity - social groups in society and society as a whole needs to be united through shared norms and values
  • an organic analogy - argues that societies can be compared to the human body in that both are made up of parts that must work together to maintain the whole
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Key sociologists: Karl Marx/Antonio Gramsci

  • a structural theory - argues that society shapes individual behaviour and that certain groups within society have more power and control than others in shaping the individual
  • a macro model - examines society as a whole in terms of its organisation and how  differen social groups in society are in conflict because of different values and interests
  • the economy - is seen as the key to understanding how society and social relationships are structured. The bourgeoisie control the economic system and have the wealth and power to shape society and exploit the proletariat. Capitalism is the current economic system
  • ruling class ideology and hegenomy - the bourgeoisie is a ruling class because its economic power enables it to shape the cultural values and social norms of society.
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Key sociologist: Max Weber

  • an action theory - argues that the individual shapes society through their interpretations and meanings and it is these interpretations and meanings that shape how they act
  • a micro approach - action theorists are interested in how people interpret and give meaning to the small scale social interaction situations they encounter on a daily basis
  • social processes - means that any social situation is open to different interpretations and meanings depending on negotiations between people
  • the definitiom of the situation - people or social actors can define the same situation in different ways
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Key sociologist: Ann Oakley

  • a structural macro theory - examines society as a whole and how it is structured shapes the individual
  • patriarchy - argues that society is male dominated with men in the positions of power, control and influence
  • patriarchal ideology - idea is false according feminists, that there are innate natural differences between men and women which determine the roles they perform
  • gender role socialisation - how society and social institutions socialise boys and girls differently into masculine and feminine roles/behaviours
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Key sociologist: Francois Lyotard

  • grand narratives - questiom and challenge macro theories in sociology because they argue no single theory can explain society. Such theories are seen as grand narratives or big stories
  • media saturation - argue that mass mediated images and messages are unavoidable and they dominate our culture and understanding of the world
  • cultural relativity - there are no true values as they are all relative to time and space
  • social pluralism - a variety of social groups and lifestyle co-exist in the same society
  • choice - argue that we live in a consumer society where we all have the freedom to pick identities and lifestyles from different cultures
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