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Sociology & Family

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Sociology is the scientific study of human society and social interactions. Its main purpose is to understand societal situations and observes patterns in society. The study of human society and interaction started in history after in the late 1700s. This study led to development of different views for certain situations, approaches during conducting social researches and theories. All these developments are helping sociologists to understand society today. Social scientists engage in rigorous scientific work, that requires objectivity and detachment. Passing time theorists began studying sociology on two different levels depending on whether the interaction was on a social or individual level. These are macrosociology and microsociology.


This encompasses the study of extensive public developments. Macrosociology is the bigger view of social systems, institutions, cultural, governmental, and economic progress. Sociologist examine the broad social dynamics that shape overall trajectory of society and individual lives.


This involves the analysis of individuals’ relations with family, colleagues, and small clusters of individuals at a very personal level. Sociologists study the reasons behind people’s way of interaction, how individuals interpret their social setting and the interactions that they are involved in, this often crosses over with psychology, which also studies the behavior of individuals at a more in-depth level, particularly studying the brain and individual differences. Microsociology is well described by symbolic interactionism theory. This idea focuses mostly on interpersonal ties inside a community. Individuals are thought of as making an understanding of their social environments through the interchange of information and understanding figures of speech.

Micro and macro researchers frequently examine the very same issues, but in alternative perspectives. When these perspectives are combined, they provide a complete picture of the phenomenon than any individual perspective or scientific theory can provide on its own.

The Positivist paradigm is based on a fundamental position of natural scientists who work using observed facts in culture to generate generalizations. Positivism takes on a pragmatistic position as it is simply concerned with the relevance of what has been presented in totality, with an emphasis on clear facts and numbers that are not tainted by subjective vision and biases (Scotland, 2012; Saunders et al., 2012). Positivism started as a social movement following World War 1. Intellectuals and philosophers like Auguste Comte (1798-1857) began the claim that learning from mistakes was to accept the present and to interpret the facts objectively, excluding speculation. Researchers are required to use quantitative methods resulting in a detachment from the respondent but data that gets charged with validity and reliability in large numbers to infer generalizations.

Interpretivism developed through critique of the Positivism concept. Qualitative approaches were used by researchers to include characteristics and aspects associated to a situation, and interpretivism viewing people as distinct from physical or whole societal systems. By doing this, researchers produce deeper insight and interpretations. Following the notion that individuals cannot be investigated in the same manner that physical phenomena are (Williams, 2000). This approach takes into account the variances in civilizations, human conditions and timeframes that lead to the emergence of various social situations. Interpretivism differs from positivist because it seeks to include diversity in the observations acquired, instead of seeking to establish a set of clear and general principles which can be generalized and applied to all, independent of some crucial circumstances and conditions. (Myers, 2008; Saunders et al., 2012; Bhattacherjee, 2012). In this approach the researcher uses qualitative methods resulting in the data being more attached to the respondent but sacrifices reliability and validity.

Functionalism, a macro theory, recognized as the functionalist viewpoint, formed due to two great revolutions of the eighteenth century and the Industrial Revolution in the nineteenth century. This theory is deep-seated in the literatures of Spencer and Durkheim and in the work of Parsons and Merton. It emphasizes that, in order to establish a strong society, social stability is necessary. While adequate social integration and socialization are crucial to achieve social stability. Social institutions of the society accomplish important functions to help ensure social stability (Izadi et al., 2020). The functionalist viewpoint suggests that it is necessary to have slow social change for social order not to be threatened, as rapid social change can create chaos and social disarray.

Karl Marx created the theory of Marxism, a cultural, geopolitical, as well as financial philosophy. Marxism views in what manner capitalism affects labor, output, plus shared prosperity, and recommends workers revolt to take over capitalism and change it with socialism. Marxists believe that beneath a capitalist structure, the battle among socioeconomic strata, the capitalists, and workers—defines economic ties and will surely result in radical socialism (Beier, 2018).

Structuralism (also known as macro theories) is an ideology that believes human behaviors should be comprehended in the framework of a social system – or structure – in which they exist. Individuals are the creation of the community environment in which they live, not just autonomous agents taking autonomous choices. Social action researchers, contrary to structural sociologists, maintain that people’s behavior and life prospects really aren’t influenced by social circumstances (Humes & Bryce, 2003). Researchers highlight the significance of the engaged personal and interpersonal relationships in defining individual identities. To comprehend human behavior, one must first discover the person’s own motivations for behaving (Thompson, 2016).

The term “modernity” represents a period in humanity’s civilization. This is a period marked with scientific reasoning (instead of mystical or paranormal faith), autonomy, industrialization and technological growth, as well as a denial of certain conservative values (Baudrillard, 1987). A few sociologists feel, today humans are in the modern age, while some say humans are in a later form of modernism (late modernization), and yet others believe that humans have reached a new era known as post – modernism (Jerath, 2021).

Feminism is a theory considered as a crucial limb of social science; it moves assumptions, the analytical lens and thematic attention away from masculine perspectives and experiences and focuses toward female perspectives and experiences. While doing so, modern feminism sheds a spotlight on societal issues, trends, and challenges that would otherwise be neglected or misinterpreted by social theory’s that were traditionally dominated by man’s point of view. This theory is about focusing on the social environment in a way that highlights the elements that generate and perpetuate unfairness, tyranny, unjust, and advocates the quest of equality and justice for all as a result.

In most societies, the family is the major component in which socialization happens. Parents, and their siblings form what is known as the nuclear family unit. The family is a key social institution and one of the important functions in the socialization and social development for children. Social perspectives Functionalism, Marxism and Feminism are highly focused on the traditional nuclear family’s functionality and practicalities within the social structure. Modernism, post and late is more focused on family being more diverse along with recent social changes. These theories consider family as not merely being nuclear but also extended or symmetrical like same sex families or negotiated family such as blended families. Modern sociologist are charged with the task of identifying different relationship types, gender roles, different levels equality within modern society and the modern family that requires a reimagination or reinterpretation of social structures and theories.

  1. Alharahsheh, H.H. and Pius, A., 2020. A review of key paradigms: Positivism VS interpretivism. Global Academic Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences2(3), pp.39-43.
  2. Baudrillard, J. (1987). Modernity. CTheory, 11(3), 63–72.
  3. Beier, F. (2018). Marxist perspectives on the global enclosures of social reproduction. TripleC: Communication, Capitalism & Critique. Open Access Journal for a Global Sustainable Information Society, 16(2), 546–561.
  4. Humes, W., & Bryce, T. (2003). Post-structuralism and policy research in education. Journal of Education Policy, 18(2), 175–187.
  5. Izadi, A., Mohammadi, M., Nasekhian, S., & Memar, S. (2020). Structural Functionalism, Social Sustainability and the Historic Environment: A Role for Theory in Urban Regeneration. The Historic Environment: Policy & Practice, 11(2–3), 158–180.
  6. Jerath, K. S. (2021). Modernity and Modernism. In Science, Technology and Modernity (pp. 31–47). Springer.
  7. Saunders, M., Lewis, P. & Thornhill, A. (2012). Research Methods for Business Students. 6th edition, Pearson Education Limited
  8. Scotland, J. (2012). Exploring the Philosophical Underpinnings of Research: Relating Ontology and Epistemology to the Methodology and Methods of the Scientific, Interpretive, and Critical Research Paradigms. English Language Teaching, 5(9), pp.9-16
  9. Williams, M. (2000). Interpretivism and generalisation. Sociology, 34(2), 209–224.

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This page was last updated on 20, March, 2022

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