TUTORIAL PRESENTATION # 2
THEORISTS AND THEIR CONTRIBUTIONS TO SOCIOLOGY
To understand sociology and the theories associated, it is important to be able to differentiate between the Macro theories and the Micro theories.
The MACRO Theory focuses on how society shapes the individual and influences his/her behaviour. The society is seen as a set of interrelated parts and these parts are analyzed in relation to the whole. Thus, the individual is seen as a passive contributor to his/her perception of reality.
The MICRO Theory focuses on how the individual shapes society and that his/her behaviours develop from their interactions. The individual here is an active contributor to shaping his/her reality. The micro perspective suggests that society cannot be analyzed from a top-down view, but must be viewed from the individual level.
THE MACRO THEORIES
FUNCTIONALISM- The perspective of examining society from the wider view of society itself. This theory is concerned with social order and its maintenance.
HERBERT SPENCER (1820-1903)
Spencer was a British social scientist who took an organic approach to explaining society. He devised that society is similar to a biological organism in which all organs are interdependent and contribute to the overall survival of the organism. Similarly, he took the view that various parts of society are interdependent and must work together to ensure the stability of the entire society. These explanations covered the problems of social order in society. To rationalize social change, he applied Darwin’s theory of Evolution, stating that as all organisms evolved due to their environment, so must the society “evolve” to meet the needs of its individuals. He saw change (evolution) as progress and opposed any attempts at social reform and rigidity.
EMILE DURKHEIM (1858-1917)
Durkheim was a French sociologist who also believed in social order and took a similar view of society as a system of interconnected parts, which must...