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Example research essay topic: Emile Durkheim Symbolic Interaction - 2,130 words

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Much Abbreviated of the Destruction of the Indies Multiple Question Essay In your own words define and discuss in detail 'C. Wright Mills', "the Sociological Imagination." Use a personal example to work through the process of the Sociological Imagination and how it is utilized. Charles Wright Mills is a well-known American sociologist. One of his best known works is The Sociological Imagination.

According to C. Wright Mills, sociological imagination can be examined as ability to connect societal relationships and individual experiences. It means that the individual examines his own personal problems (events, and incidents, etc. ) as specific social issues, and the individual tries to make a connection between his personal experiences with those of society he belongs to. Sociological imagination makes people able to make a difference between public issues and personal problems.

Lets take the problem of poverty in order to illustrate the concept of sociological imagination. For example, people with low income or those, who unable to earn a lot, may criticize or blame the society rather than blaming themselves for being unable earning money enough to feed their families. It means that people could be put in specific conditions, when they were unable to get a proper education or to apply for better job, or had no opportunities to get higher income. In such as way, these poor social and economic conditions could appear not due to the persons guilt, but because of specific social forces. Therefore, the people may not blame themselves, but social forces, instead. According to C.

Wright Mills, the sociological imagination includes three main components or cores: the history, the biography, and the relations between them within society. The main ideas of sociological imagination comprise of the understanding the societal structure and the way it differs from others, the place society occupies in human history, and what varieties of people live in this period and society, and the events that occur in their lives. The sociological imagination is some sort of sociological vision that helps an individual to overcome the feeling of being trapped by developing an understanding the relations between the individual and society. In detail, compare and contrast the difference between Herbert Spencer's Social Darwinism and Emile Durkheim's belief that the individual was a product of his / her social environment.

Use examples to help explain your ideas for both theories. According to Emile Durkheim, the individual is a product of his/ her social environment. The basis of social life consists of social facts that cannot be reduced to economical, psychological or physical factors of reality. Social facts possess the number of specific characteristics. Their main features are objective, independent existence that depends on no individual. There are compulsory forces able to influence the individual.

According to the concepts of Social Darwinism Emile Durkheim insisted to explain social by social. By doing this, he adhered to the concepts of social laws (the connection between social events and social processes that objectively exists and may be repeated an endless quantity of time). Durkheim's sociology assumes that there are certain underlying insuperable forces that act and occur in society. These insuperable forces may be compared to those of acts of God.

Therefore, social laws are similar to natural laws. Logically, sociology should discover common rules of social changes similar to Newtons physics or Darwin's biology (Social Darwinism). As far as Emile Durkheim proclaimed the principle to explain social by social, he introduced a new understanding of social laws (in the capacity of laws of individuals behavior). It means that social reality (when it takes place in result of the interaction between the individuals) lives according to its own laws (not natural ones).

From here it follows that human interaction leads to new social events and laws. However, in contrast to Social Darwinism, Durkheim considered that social laws should be examines as things (events) that exist independent of individuals and have a certain impact on individuals, thus making the individuals products of their social environment. On the other hand, Spencer's Social Darwinism describes social processes through the conflicts between social groups and individuals, where the fittest survive. The mechanism of natural selection that selects accidental changes acts as the main driving force in society. It means that social development and social progress bears accidental character, but not deterministic one.

Spencers social evolution is a component of world evolution. There are two main factors struggle for survival and survival of the fittest (natural selection). From this aspect society is some sort of an organism that undergoes the process of evolution (that may be compared to a living creature). In detail, compare and contrast Functionalism Theory and Conflict Theory. (Make sure you clearly define both theories. ) Utilize one single example to show how the theories would provide a different perspective if they were to analyze that same social phenomena. Functionalism Theory and Conflict Theory are different by nature in their approach to the issues of racial and ethnic stratification. Yet, these theories to a certain extent supplement each other.

Functionalism Theory examines society by analogy with a living organism, where different parts make their own contribution in survival of the organism in general. From the viewpoint of integrity they analyze both specific social functions and dysfunctions. Although it may seem that racial and ethnic conflicts have destructive impact on social solidarity and stability, the supporters of functionalism theory consider that conflict may play positive role in society. According to them, the conflict is conductive to group formation, while groups are some sort of building units for society.

The conflict is conductive to development of self-conscience. The conflict helps individuals to identify himself with the social group and to establish social borders; it is also conductive to the social unity and makes social group more sensitive to group relationships (for example, anti-Semitism and racism may be functional in the sense that this feeling may give the members of dominating group (where there is no unity) the point of support the feeling of racial belonging). Ethnic and racial conflict may play the role of safety valve in society in general. The prejudice may give people the way to release aggressiveness. Fourthly, the functionalists consider that the diversity of conflicts between a huge quantity of groups within society is conductive the fostering democracy to counterbalance totalitarian regime. So, in case the functionalists place emphasis on social stability, Conflict theory examines the world in the capacity of arena where the struggle never ends.

Therefore, prejudices and discrimination should be examined within the context of conflicts between social groups. According to them, three main elements play crucial role (for example, in development of racism): ethnocentrism, competition and unequal distribution of power. Define and discuss in detail the Interactionist Perspective and Symbolic Interaction Theory. Use examples to help support your concepts.

The Interactionist Perspective considers that it is people who act and exist. According to it, as far as people are the key actors, all other formations in the world society are the products of human creation. Therefore, the world society goes through a never-ending process of evolution and development through negotiation and communication. Symbolic Interaction is the main sub-category of the Interactionist Perspective. Symbolic Interaction focuses mainly of the interaction of groups of individuals or individuals. Symbolic Interaction is a theoretical and methodological approach that concentrated on the analysis of symbolic aspects of social interactions.

Symbolic interactionist's are united not by a specific strict theory they obey to, but the unity of vision of the social process examined by them as a process of development and change of social values, and consistent specification and over specification of the situations of social interaction between the participants (Berger 339). The objective (from the viewpoint of interacting individuals) environment of social activity undergoes changes during the course of this specification and over specification, as far as Symbolic interactionist's consider that world is of social origin. Different social groups create different worlds that can be changed when social values change during the process of social interaction. For example, some of these interactionist's explain social life as some sort of realization of dramatic metaphor and analyze this interaction using the terms such as actor, mask, scene, scenario, etc.

The reality is a combination of situations where the subject of interaction acts. Society and social individual are constitutes in the integrity of the processes of interpersonal interactions. Symbolic Interaction places high emphasis on words and examines the words as the instruments of stabilization and objectification of the things that otherwise would remain subjective experience. From Symbolic Interactionist's viewpoint, words give people the possibility to form common definitions, determinations, situations, common visions of the objects that make systematic social interaction possible to occur.

Discuss and describe the Relationship of Science and Sociology. Why are Science and the Scientific Method so important to Sociology? Why do we use Science in Sociology? Science and the scientific method are very important to sociology. Science and scientific laws are the supreme form of scientific knowledge. The theory of knowledge and scientific cognition of the world is the process that is aimed to explain the nature of events.

These events should be classified and explained. The science can be examined as theoretical, cognitive, organized and systematic research activity aimed to explore the specific spheres of reality (for example, natural, biological, social, moral, or cultural). Science uses specific methods and approaches to obtain knowledge of something. Therefore, the concept of science includes not only the science as subject it examines, but also the methods and approaches it uses to examine and cognize its subject. Scientific method is often used to obtain scientific truth, as it is the totality of different methods and processes that allow the researcher to achieve scientific truth. In general, all sciences have certain methodological perspectives.

Scientific method can be determined as the way to achieve true knowledge in science. In such a way, the scientific method is inseparable from the science itself. There are few cases when the science (or separate groups of sciences) creates its own methods that can be applied to it alone. In a certain sense it is possible to claim that natural and social sciences have a specific general scientific method applied to the subject of their scientific research. There are two main methods that differ from each other by main principles of cognition of the objective reality in general or its separate spheres in particular. Metaphysical method is based on a specific understanding of the world, according to which natural and social phenomena are qualitatively unchangeable and are the subjects to gradual evolution changes.

At the same time, when one tries to determine the true method for sociology, it is necessary to understand that none of the sciences (including sociology) utilizes the method peculiar to it alone. Scientific method is important to sociology because the science doesnt want to convince an individual in the verity of its concepts at all costs, but, on contrary, its concepts should be based on logically acceptable evidence. Therefore, scientific method is more stable and important to sociology than any other method. Define and discuss in detail the concepts of Objectivity and Ethical Issues in regards to Social Research. Make sure you use specific research examples to help support your essay.

Objectivity and ethics are, probably, the most important issues in regards to social research. Many ethical issues are related to the balance between the two values: the desire to obtain scientific knowledge and the rights of the objects of sociological research. In order to conduct a social research that corresponds to the ethical principles, it is necessary to find a golden mean between the necessity of the knowledge and the policy of non-interference in relation to the other peoples life. In case the researcher grants the objects of research rights for absolute hands-off policy, the empirical research will likely probable to be impossible.

At the same time, if these rights are granted to the researcher, he / she can violate human rights. For example, often enough the researchers that conduct social researches of specific political processes can place people in unpleasant or embarrassing situations. Sometimes the researcher should grant non-interference in the persons private life through non-disclosure of names and other personal issues (anonymity and confidentiality). Anonymity means that the researcher disclosures no name of the person, and the individual that takes part in social research cannot be identified.

His personality remains anonymous. The researchers may assign a specific number or code to each participant to grant his anonymity. In case the researchers are unable to grant the participant anonymity, they can grant him confidentiality. In case anonymity implies that the personality of the respondent cannot be identified, confidentiality implies that the personality may eventually be identified, but the researcher keeps it in secret from public. Confidentiality...


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Research essay sample on Emile Durkheim Symbolic Interaction

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