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Paradigms - Classifications - Perspectives . . . Comparison Table (Continued)

Paradigm . . .



Cause of Social Problems?

Social Policy/Solutions



Positive Sociological Theories


"Society is a set of interrelated parts; cultural consensus exists and leads to social order; natural state of society--balance and harmony." (1997, p. 18)

"Views society as a vast organism whose parts are interrelated; social problems are disruptions of this system. Also holds that problems of social institutions produce patterns of deviance or that institutions must address such patterns through strategic social change." (1998, p. 8)

"Individuals are socialized by society's institutions; socialization is the process by which social control is exerted; people need society and its institutions." (1997, p. 18)

"Rapid social change: social disorganization that disrupts the harmony and balance; inadequate socialization and/or weak institutions." (1997, p. 18)

"Social expectations fail, creating normlessness, cultural conflict, and breakdown. Social problems also result from the impersonal operations of existing institutions, both now and in the past." (1998, p. 8)

"Repair weak institutions; assure proper socialization; cultivate a strong collective sense of right and wrong." (1997, p. 18)

"Engage in research and active intervention to improve social institutions." (1998, p. 8)

"Called 'sunshine sociology'; supports the maintenance of the status quo; needs to ask 'functional for whom?' Does not deal with issues of power and conflict; incorrectly assumes a consensus." (1997, p. 18)


Interpretative Sociology

Interpretative Sociology of Action and Interaction

Symbolic-Interaction Theory

"Society is a network of interlocking roles; social order is constructed through interaction as individuals, through shared meaning, make sense out of their social world." (1997, p. 18)

"Holds that definitions of deviance or social problems are subjective; separates deviant and nondeviant people not by what they do but by how society reacts to what they do." (1998, p. 8)

"Humans are interpretative and interactive; they are constantly changing as their 'social beings' emerge and are molded by changing circumstances." (1997, p. 18)

"Different interpretations of roles; labeling of individuals, groups, or behaviors as deviant; definition of an objective condition as a social problem." (1997, p. 18)

"Society becomes aware that certain behaviors exist and labels them as social problems." (1998, p. 8)

"Reduce impact of labeling and associated stigmatization; alter definitions of what is defined as a social problem." (1997, p. 18)

"Resocialize deviants by increasing their contacts with accepted patterns of behavior; make the social system less rigid. Change the definition of what is considered deviant." (1998, p. 8)

"Concentrates on micro issues only; fails to link micro issues to macro-level concerns; too psychological in its approach; assumes label amplifies problem." (1997, p. 18)


Non-Scientific or Evaluative Social Theories

Conflict Theory

"Society is marked by power struggles over scarce resources; inequities result in conflict; social change is inevitable; natural state of society--imbalance." (1997, p. 18)

"Views society as marked by conflicts due to inequalities of class, race, ethnicity, gender, age, and other divisions that produce conflicting values. Defines social problems as conditions that do not conform to society's values." (1998, p. 8)

"People are inherently good but are corrupted by society and its economic structure; institutions are controlled by groups with power; 'order' is part of the illusion." (1997, p. 18)

"Inequality; the dominance of groups of people over other groups of people; oppression and exploitation; competition between groups." (1997, p. 18)

"Groups with different values and differing amounts of power meet and compete." (1998, p. 8)

"Minimize competition; create an equitable system for the distribution of resources." (1997, p. 18)

"Build stronger social movements among groups with grievances. The conflicting groups may then engage in negotiations and reach mutual accommodations." (1998, p. 8)

"Utopian model; Marxist states have failed; denies existence of cooperation and equitable exchange. Can't explain cohesion and harmony." (1997, p. 18)

Copyright © 2005 Mount Vernon Nazarene University Adult and Graduate Studies

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