Socialization has different perspectives for viewing the social world. Perspective is how the world is looked at and theory consists of principles or propositions that are interrelated and give explanation or an answer to a phenomenon. Sociological theories explain about the social world where we live in. theoretical perspective of socialization explain the causes and possible solutions to social problems. Structural-functionalist perspective Society is considered as a system of parts that are interconnected and work to maintain state of social equilibrium and balance for everybody.
For example, every social institution have an important function to the society, a family participates in reproducing, socializing children and nurturing them. Education provides knowledge, skills and shared beliefs to the youths. Politics governs the society and economics helps in production and consumption of goods. (Bacal, 1985 pp20-27). Structural-functionalist lay emphasis on interconnectedness of every society by looking at how different parts influence and are influenced by others.
For example, number of children who do not perform well in school has increased due to the increase in number of single parents and families who are dual earners because; parents are not available to supervise their children as they do their homework. Change in technology has resulted to colleges offering technical programs where many adults go to learn new skills required in their place of work. When number of women increase in the work place, there are policies formed against discrimination in jobs and sexual harassment.
There is use of functional and dysfunctional in describing effects social elements have on the society. Functional elements make contribution to social stability and it is dysfunctional if there is disruption to social stability. Society may have aspects that are functional and dysfunctional. For example, crime is considered as dysfunctional because of being involved with fear and physical violence but Durkheim consider it as functional because of creating heightened awareness of moral bonds that are shared and social cohesion.
According to social pathology, when there is sickness in the society, social problems arises just the way body of human being become ill when systems and organs are not functioning normally. When the structure and culture of society do not perform properly, society becomes ill. For example, crime, poverty and violence break families and leads to decline in religious institutions. (Baker, 1995 pp19-23). According to social disorganization, society norms are disrupted by rapid social change.
When norms conflict or become weak, society becomes anomie and people may engage in drug abuse, rape and deviant behavior because of the weak and conflicting norms that regards their behavior. The pace of social change should be slowed down and strengthen social norms to solve the social problem. For example, when teenage use alcohol it violates social norm in society. The media show young people taking alcohol which make teenagers buy it using identification cards that are fake and parents make their children drink alcohol by drinking after work.
Norms should be strengthened against taking alcohol through public education. (Storer, 1977 pp30-38). Conflict perspective The society is made up of different groups which have interests that compete to get power and resources. Conflict perspective looks at the group with power and is able to benefit from social arrangement. According to Karl Marx, in a society, there are stages involved in economic development. Societies change from being agricultural to industrial and become more concerned in making profit rather than meeting their basic needs.
Industrialization results to people who own factories and businesses and workers who earn salaries and wages. People who have their own means of production benefit from division of society into classes of people. Employees who earn subsistence wages do not have access to resources that wealthy owners have. Marx theory deals with social conflict due to economic inequalities and non-Marxist theory is about social conflict from competing values in social groups. In Marxists, inequalities that are inherent in capitalist system may cause social problems.
A system where some people have and others do not have may benefit those who have and translate to poverty for people who do not have. Physical health and low achievement in education and crime are caused by poverty. Marxist theory of conflict focuses on alienation and powerlessness in lives of people. Societies that are industrialized have workers with little power and control of their jobs and are powerless in their lives. Specialized work requires repetitive tasks to be performed which make employees feel their lives to be meaningless because they perform tasks that are very limited.
Alienation occurs in workplace and classroom where students do not have power if they find a curriculum with no meaning. Alienation leads to low achievements in education, suicide and violence. (Basch, 1999 pp35-39). According to non-Marxist, when there are opposing interests in groups, conflict may arise. For example, activists of antiabortion emphasize on life of unborn embryos while pro-choice activists emphasize on women having the right to control their body and make reproductive decisions.
This shows different interpretations of what make a social problem. Availability of abortion is social problem to antiabortionists while restriction of abortion is a social problem to pro-choice advocates. In order to solve problems brought about by competing values. Conflicting groups must understand the views of each other and get solution to their differences through mediation. The solution should satisfy both groups and should be win-win. Power influences outcome of conflicts where the group with most power influences the outcome.
For example, when the congress could not increase the age of legal drinking to twenty one voluntarily in all states, it threatened to remove all the funds for federal highway from people who refused to comply. Symbolic interactions perspective Symbolic interactions talks about how definitions and meanings from interacting with others influence human behavior. Meaning and consequences of social behavior is important and human being should define the situation instead of the objectives of the situation because consequences of the situations are the ones that make the situations become real.
Social interaction shapes our identity and self concept is developed by observing interaction of other people and how people view us. (Coburn, 1998 pp22-26). Perspective of symbolic interaction has implication on research conducted by scientists. To understand behavior of individual or group, social scientists looks at world from eyes of the individual or group. They understand how other people view reality and subjective aspects of experiences they have gone through which includes beliefs, symbols and attitudes. For a condition to become a social problem, it must be defined as a social problem.
There are different stages of development of a social problem. It begins with societal recognition where social problem is born such us drunk driving. The next is social legitimating where larger community recognizes social problem which include schools and media. The other stage is mobilization for action when groups and individuals try to respond to social condition which results to development of a plan to deal with problem for example having checkpoints in highway to check drivers who drive while drunk. Explaining the role of social psychologists
Social psychologists predict behavior and explain it. They give explanation of behavior in terms of its social forms. The components of behavior are thought, feeling which is emotional and action that are observed. The study of social psychologists deals with how people think about others and social emotions of loving each other and getting attracted to each other and being social through aggression and helping other people. Social psychologists at group level explain behavior in terms of social and biological groups where people belong and processes that are used to mould these groups.
Biological groups include sexes and species and social groups are religious, ethnic and cultural groups. They classify families as social and biological group and process of cultural and biological evolution and changes in social groups. The current social situation is taken to be the cause of behavior. Individuals have hypothetical factors inferred from their behavior such as attitudes, personality traits and consciousness. Social psychologists have experiments that raise questions about measurements and ethics in researching about social psychology.
Empirical data and theories organize data and predict behavior of people. Good theories have predictive utility and data can support or disapprove data and bring about interesting research. (Dewald, 1987 pp30-34). Social psychologists studies the formation of attitudes, how attitude is structured, changes in attitude, how attitudes function and how attitude is related to behavior. This is because, situations influence people and general attitudes can not predict behavior.
Due to various reasons, environment may be valued by a person on a particular day and attitudes are always remembered and are at the center of our self concept since they result to behavior and general attitudes predict behavior over a given period of time. Social psychologists study how people remember, perceive and think about information of others. They assume that in social recognition, reality is complex and easy to discern and world is seen as image of reality. They study attitudes involved in every discipline which includes social perception.
Attitudes are learned and they influence how a person thinks and takes action where there is expression of approval or disapproval of what is liked or disliked. (Merton, 1973 pp17-23). Social psychologists deals with phenomenon which is self related. They lay emphasis on cognitions. Self concept is where a person understands himself and is a cognitive component called self-schema and evaluative component called self-esteem. The center for human motivation is self-esteem and self efficacy is where an individual expects that the task performed will be effective.
Social psychologists ensure that people are able to develop self concepts through getting feedback from others and social comparison. Social psychologists studies group related phenomena and behavior people in a crowd. They study reduced self awareness caused by dangerous behavior which occurs in mobs due to dark environment or disguise. When people work as a group, productivity and performance can be affected because people work harder when in presence of others which improve the way simple tasks are performed. (Fosshage, 1995 pp51-56).
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