Core Assessment: Introduction
For this paper we are going to practice examining the same social phenomenon through the three sociological perspectives. Sociology examines social problems in contemporary society and this paper will allow you to begin to examine problems sociologically. Utilizing the three perspectives will demonstrate the various types of questions each perspective can address.
Choose a current social issue or problem (ex: police brutality, unemployment, access to health care, education inequality, climate change) and read at least five different news reports from different sources on the issue. Examine the pictures, read the headlines and story, watch any video, and review any comments posted by other readers. After completing this examination of the issue, answer the following questions from each of the three sociological perspectives. Your response should be written in a series of paragraphs and answering each of the questions.
Structural Functionalism – What are the functions of this issue for society? What purpose do they serve, and how do they maintain stability and order? What social systems and institutions support this issue? Are they any dysfunctions in the issue?
Conflict Theory – What forms of inequality are revealed in the social issue? What do these stories have to say about race, class, and gender inequalities? What are the power dynamics related to the publication of these stories? Did any of the stories contribute to social change in society?
Symbolic Interactionist Theory – What does this issue mean to society as a whole? What do they mean to individual members of society? Can they have different meanings for different individuals or groups? How do those meanings get constructed in interaction? Does this issue influence everyday life?
Analysis – In your analysis, which perspective gives the most accurate and comprehensive explanation of the issue? Why? What do the other perspectives fail to address?
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