Social Institutions As Defined By Conflict, Interactionism And Functionalist Perspectives

Social institutions are organized patterns of social norms characterized with social needs. Example of social institutions includes education, family, power of the state and healthcenters. Social systems are defined by different theoretical perspectives; conflict perspective, interactionism perspective, and functionalist perspective.

Interactionism Perspective

The theory focuses on firsthand information on human interaction with each other. Interactionism perspective focuses on the interaction between individuals starting with a small conversation. For example, in marriage, interactionism perspective applies to the communication of one partner to the other asking for a hand in marriage and the quality of the ring for engagement.

Interactionism perspective is beneficial in a way that it enables one to determine the meanings of people actions towards social institutions. From a simple gesture to two people conversation, one can be able to determine how they value their activities.

The major weakness of the interactionism perspective on social institutions is that it neglects the bigger picture of social institutions. Interactionism Perspective focuses on small group conversation and ignores the larger picture of social interactions. The theory is involved in micro sociology but not macro sociology (Schaefer, 2012).

Functionalism perspective

Functionalism theory explains that everything and everyone are dependent upon another factor and the vice versa; that is everything is interdependent in the society. For example, social institutions such as families depend on the power of the state to provide learning institutions for their children, who will in turn get employed and help their families and pay taxes to the power of the state.

According to Schaefer, (2012) social units are there to maintain stability to one another, hence functionalist perspective theory. Functionalism theory is concerned with the relationship of smaller groups and the extended groups in the community.

Functionalism theory is critiqued with how it does not encourage changes in the society. The theory believes that any change may lead to an adverse impact. Functionalist theory also neglects possible negative effects of related and interdependent factors in an organization.

Conflict Perspective

Unlike Functionalism theory, conflict theory is based on changes and encourages change. Conflict theory is based on pressure that exists between people and societal group based on resources, boundaries and power. Earlier sociologists and philosophers such as Karl Max based his perspective of conflict in the struggle existing among people in the society related to economic stability. Today conflict theory is evident in inequality in gender, race, ethnicity and also the economic factor of the rich and the poor.

The theory weakness is that it tends to look at every social aspect of the society from an adverse side. This is a problem because such social issues such as democracy are viewed as elements formulated to control the society but to for its benefits.

I align myself with conflict theory since it is more evident in our lives today than the other two theories. Conflicts are evident in our day to day lives and start from home extending to the society as a whole. For example, in United States of America economic conflict is evident in the huge gap between the rich and the poor. In our society today the rich control, the flow of resources and in return get richer in the process at the cost of the poor. Race, ethnicity, and tribal differences are quite common, and people are discriminated based on these social aspects among others.

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