Social theories: Cengage advantage, sociology

Social Theories

Social theories are academic viewpoints that try to explain how society as a whole behaves. According to functionalist theory, all societal institutions must work together to maintain social stability. The theory holds that since the institutions are interdependent, it is impossible to link security to a single system. The government and the educational system are two examples of such systems. As an illustration, the educational system gives pupils the abilities they need to work in government. Therefore, the planet is stable because of interconnectivity.

Conflict Theory

According to the conflict theory, society serves as a platform for majoritarian oppression of minorities (Shepard, 2013, p. 248). The theory points out that the primary causes of inequality in the society is conflict. A few people take advantage of the majority leading to imbalances. For example, leaders in most parts of the world allocate themselves huge salaries at the expense of the poor population. The theory lists some of the differentiating factors such as race, class, as well as gender. The dominant group becomes the oppressor to the minority leading to conflict.

Symbolic Interactionism Theory

The symbolic interactionism theory identifies social interaction as the source of all human understanding (Priest, 2010, p. 28). According to the theory, people interact with one another, and the association helps them in creating meaning to certain phenomena. For example, people associate certain aspects of human life with a sense based on the interaction with the society. Objects such as private jets indicate wealth in the community. However, structures such as a house constructed using mud symbolize poverty. Human interaction leads to such understandings according to the theory.

In My Perception

In my perception, the most convincing argument is the functionalist approach. In the society, various institutions play their unique roles towards a stable society. None of the systems can play two roles as a way of eliminating the other. For example, the government relies on the taxes paid by people for survival. However, the same people depend on the government for provision of education to the children. Both parties have a symbiotic relationship to each other, and they all play their crucial roles in the society. Therefore, the functionalist theory is correct in stating that the collective efforts of the respective institutions keep the society stable.


Priest, S. (2010). Doing media research : an introduction. Los Angeles: Sage.

Shepard, J. (2013). Cengage advantage, sociology. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.

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