Solutions to the breakdown of social solidarity.

Q:1

The emergence of sociology as a separate discipline followed a myriad of social transformations witnessed in Europe during the 18th and 19th centuries. By the end of the 18th century – the onset of the 19th century – Europe witnessed two major revolutions: the French Revolution and the commencement of the industrial revolution in England. The onset of industrial revolution in western Europe specifically played a major role in influencing the emergence of sociology. Industrialization interfered with all aspects of human life, including where people lived, their relationships, the nature of their work, and their perceptions of life. The advances in technology augmented people’s exposure to societies and cultures different from their own. These aspects gained significant interest from scholars such as Emile Durkheim, Herbert Spenser, and Karl Marx, among others, who responded by attempting to understand the mechanisms that hold social groups together. Besides, these scholars aimed at exploring the possible solutions to the breakdown of social solidarity.

Q:2

The study of sociology is divided into different categories, including interpretive, positive, and critical sociology. Today, having a firm knowledge of sociology necessitates a profound comprehension of these categories. Positive sociology seeks to understand behavioral guidelines in society through the lens of science.Positivist sociology bases on the work of Emile Durkheim who aimed at raising the concept of positivism to rational science – like chemistry and physics – levels.Thus, positivist sociologists are often interested in the science of society. what this implies is that gaining such knowledge underscores the incorporation of scientific methods and tools in understanding the natural laws of human behavior in society.Interpretive sociological study is rooted in the concept of “understand” which was developed through the work of Max Weber who sought to establish an alternative to positivist sociology that focused more on understanding subjective experiences instead of rigidly adhering to observation and facts. Lastly, critical sociology focuses on taking a neutral approach while uncovering the truths that may have been deeply hidden. Critical sociology is similar to the work of critical theorists such as Karl Marx, whereby it naturally suspects the assertions and upshots made in the field of sociology and critically analyzing and exposing the flaws that might invalidate these claims.

Q:3

The structural-functional approach cultural view accentuates stability and integration. According to this view, society is integrated in its entirety; all societal elements contributes to its wellbeing; a society tends to maintain stability to remain at an equilibrium; and a society rests upon its members’ consensus. Take for instance the human body, all organs, limbs, and other body parts have their individual functions, yet they work together to create a fully functioning system. Thus, the structural-functional theory asserts that culture serves as a structure in a society founded on meeting human needs.In this case, one may assert that culture exists to give meaning and direction to human lives. Meanwhile, the social conflict approach focuses on the interests that split members of a society, resulting in domination and exploitation in human relationships. Proponents of this approach perceive society as a stage where privilege and power struggle occur and where societal elites seek to retain their advantage by oppressing the poor.

Q:4

Indeed, Emile Durkheim’s belief that studying individuals alone can never capture the essence of society exhibits elements of truth.Durkheim bases this assertion on the claim that “society is bigger than any one of us…” (CITE). Generally, the interaction between individuals forms an essential foundation for the creation of a society. Hence, this suggests that studying individuals minus understanding their interactions would amount to completely missing the point. Besides, studying the individual aspect of personality offers no sufficient grounds to understanding the social nature of personality. What this means is that understanding a person’s social aspects is equally important to gain a clear and precise understanding of the individual’s whole personality. In this case, the premise of society accentuates people interacting with one another and the resultant behaviors emanating from these interactions.Different societies encompass different cultures, numerous personalities, and schisms. Thus, the variations exhibited by these aspects implies a difference in individuals’ personality, genealogy, history, and culture. Therefore, studying individuals during their social interactions offers a great opportunity for one to learn much about these interactions and the underlying themes that help define their societies.

Q:5

One of the most important sociological approaches to the self follows the work of George Herbert, who conceptualized the mind as the individual importation of the social process. In this process, Mead highlighted the concepts of “I” and “me” whereby the “me” refers to the social self while the “I” is its response. Mead believed that communal existence precedes individual consciousness. He asserted the sole development f self through social experience, which encompasses the exchange of symbols. In this case, one must take part in different social positions and only subsequently can they take others’ perspectives and exhibit self-consciousness guided by the gained experience.According to Mead, self-development occurs through language, play and games. Language fosters self-development through individuals’ response; play allows one to take different roles; and games offer an opportunity to comprehend and comply with rules.

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