Theories in sociology explain the reasons for and possible solutions for world social
problems. The theories include structural-functionalism and conflict theory. Structural
functionalism focuses on the organization of society. Social institutions under functionalism are
government, law, religion, and education. Functionalism has a historical significance to studies
of families (Kingsbury & Scanzoni, 2022). Conflict theory studies competition between classes
within the society over scarce resources. Sociology theories help create a cohesive community by
teaching the structure of society and the roles of each group.
Symbolic interactionism explains the relationship between humans and society. This
approach studies the maintenance of structures of society through meaningful interactions. It
affirms in principle that humans are distinct from other animals due to their ability to conceive
alternative responses to gestures. This perspective holds that there are multiple interpretations of
a situation. Situational meanings are altered through the innovative capabilities of humans. It
summarizes that society is a social product.
Both functionalism and conflict theory comprehend society's institutions. Functionalism
assumes that society structures adjust themselves for stability, whereas conflict theory notes that
capitalists use institutions such as religion to exploit others. Symbolic interactionism supports
multiple interpretations of situations. Interactionism explains situations to human understanding,
whereas functionalism emphasizes the general functions that contribute—all these sociology
theories group people either by class or symbols.
Sociology theories study interactions and patterns to explain social reality. Each theory
has a precise way of explaining aspects of society and the resulting human behavior. The
interactionist perspective emphasizes that people react to their conceived interpretation of
circumstances. The functionalist perspective emphasizes the interdependence between systems.
The conflict perspective accentuates the individuality of interests. All these theories provide a
system for understanding the social world.
Kingsbury, N., & Scanzoni, J. (2022). Structural-Functionalism. Sourcebook of Family Theories
and Methods, 195–221. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-0-387-85764-0_9