What is sociology?
Sociology is the basic study of human social relationships and institutions which includes diverse subject matters. Ranging from crime to religion, from family to the state, from social stability to radical changes that occur in the whole society, from the divisions of race and social class to the shared beliefs of a common culture. The study of sociology by unifying these various arenas results in understanding. How the consciousness and human actions are shaped and further explains how they shape the surrounding cultural and the social structures. Studying sociology provides us a perspective to understand the society in a detailed manner.
Speaking of perspective, sociologists have different methods of analyzing the social phenomena and through different levels. These perspectives offer the sociologists a theoretical paradigm. Thus, explaining how the society influences the people and vice versa.
The three major sociological perspectives
- Symbolic Interactionist Perspective: focuses on use of symbols, and face-to-face interactions.
- Functionalist Perspective: focuses on how the different aspects of society are functional.
- Conflict Theory: focuses on how the elite class of our society controls the poor class of the same society.
All of these three perspectives are necessary for a sociologist to understand the workings of society and what causes a certain action. What might be its reaction. We saw that the symbolic interactionism belongs to the micro division of sociology while the other two: Functionalism and the critical theory belong to the macro division of sociology. Many critics have put forward their views regarding the importance of each perspective independently and even as a whole. According to me, I find the micro division of the sociology quite practical.
The importance of minute details like giving meaning to symbols is very important to justify the actions and to understand the hidden influence behind the execution of that action; just as the right amount of sugar and flour is necessary to bake a perfect cake. Once the cake is baked, one can’t tell exactly how much the sugar is but can definitely be influenced by the utter deliciousness of it.
If we look at it in a psychological way, we see that Sigmund Freud laid emphasis on the areas of behaviour and the meaning of small gestures to identify a certain theory. Similarly, I feel that it’s the minute details that count when it comes to behaviour, as the ‘larger aspect’ of anything is easily evident unlike the minute details.
For example: a girl constantly involved in relationships from a very young age may behave carefree and act as if she has a heart of stone, but looking at it this way, it could have been that she never got love from her parents and hence she is looking for love or affection from outside. This void makes her want to constantly be associated with people so that she can escape it.
In the end, no matter how huge or small a person’s success may seem, there is always a mountain of labour underneath that is twice as big. ‘we only see the tip of the ice berg and not the base of it’. Hence, it’s the minute details that count.