Sociological Theories

What are the principles of social action theories?
People make their own choices and take their own actions they aren't shaped by society.
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What can action theories also be called micro theories?
Because they look at the individual rather than the big structures of society.
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Why do social action theories reject that sociology is objective?
They know that everyone interprets things differently so sociology can't predict people's reaction to things as easily as structural approaches think, not everyone reacts to things the same way
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Criticism of social action theory
If the world is seen as subjective nothing is therefore true or false so sociology is a mess of individual opinions.
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Weber (social action)
Society needs to be studied using a balance of structural and social action theories to find out causes and meanings. eg. same sex couple get married because law now allows it but they want to get married because they love each other.
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Mead (symbolic interactionism)
Most human interaction is symbolic eg. waving means hello and the short delay before the reaction is when someone is interpreting the action by putting themselves in the other persons position.
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Blumer (symbolic interactionism)
Actions are based on meanings we attach to the world around us, we relate to others by 'taking the role of the other'.
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Garfinkel (ethnomethodology)
Society is constructed from the bottom up, something we contract ourselves through our behaviour.
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What is structuration theory?
Individuals do conform to rules of social systems but the structures are dependent on people living by them so can be changed through people's actions .
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Giddens (structuration)
Sociologists should look at interaction between individuals and the social structures which influence these interactions.
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What type of sociologist argues that sociology can be regarded as a science?
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Sayer (realist-science)
Sociology is the scientific study of an open system, it's too complex to lend itself to accurate predictions but that doesn't mean it isn't a science.
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Weber (value freedom)
Values are needed for choosing which area to study, interpreting data and choosing how data is used but the research process itself should be kept value free.
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Kuhn and Popper (20th century positivists)
Believed their research was value neutral as they viewed sociology scientifically and they did research for governments where they could walk away after so they didn't have any values affecting the research.
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Comte, Marx and Durkheim (value freedom)
Society is shaped by big value systems so all the meanings and values we attach to things are shaped by these belief systems so values aren't to do with the individual at all so sociologists don't have to worry about values.
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Gouldner (value freedom)
Value freedom is impossible and undesirable as people should use their values to guide them morally in research.
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Becker (value freedom)
Using values in research is good because if you are committed you will take sides and this is especially good them taking sides with a disadvantaged group eg. mentally ill
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Giddens (social policy)
Sociological research gives an assessment of what social policies work.
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What methods do governments use to help them tackle problems?
Quantitive statistical research to discover trends. Qualitive subjective data can be used to gain insight into causes of problems and help create policies to tackle them.
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Peter Townsend Study
Study of poverty which led to improvements in the welfare system.
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Bauman (social policy)
Sociological research should inform, society may get worse if theories of poverty and welfare aren't listened to.
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Lyotard (social policy)
Modern sociological research could lead to the construction of strict doctrine and oppression through new metanarratives.
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Firestone (feminist social policy)
Social policy can't help women's position in society, patriarchal society must be dismantled before women lives can be improved.
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Other cards in this set

Card 2


What can action theories also be called micro theories?


Because they look at the individual rather than the big structures of society.

Card 3


Why do social action theories reject that sociology is objective?


Preview of the front of card 3

Card 4


Criticism of social action theory


Preview of the front of card 4

Card 5


Weber (social action)


Preview of the front of card 5
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