Economic Problems of Today

Impact of Sociological Theories on Economic Problems Today

Sociological Theories are concepts that are used by sociologists to understand how the society operates and how social practices, configurations and procedures interact. Sociologists use the sociological theories to determine the results of social research. The sociological theories are based on some fundamental assumptions. These assumptions are: Positivism and Anti-positivism; according to this assumption, sociologists hold that true understanding is that which has its foundations on genuine knowledge. This assumption is based on key features which are science as hub of lay down testimonials; signifying the rationale of the testimonials; that this testimonial ought to be testable; that science is collective; the conviction that science exists in all cultures; that scientific results are no based on individual perspective; and that science is also based on new concepts. Positivists believe that all factual understanding is scientific. That all aspects that encompass the society are quantifiable. Anti-positivists believe that not all aspects of the society are quantifiable (Kroehler, 2005).

Materialism and Idealism: Materialists believe that the single existing thing is matter. They believe that everything is physical; that all aspects of the world are materialistic, and are a result of material substance. Idealists on the other hand believe that the society is based on ideas; that the world is basically made up of insight, awareness and the mentality. Materialism and Idealism contrast in that idealists believe that the mind and the concepts in the brain explain the external features of wellbeing and on the other hand, materialists believe in matter as the sole existence. (Goodman, 2004).

Determinism and Free will: Sociologists who came up with this assumption believe that that all aspects of the society are determined and occur as a result of preceding happenings. Determinists believe that humans cannot change the occurrences of the future while others believe that the future is influenced by the activities and the events of the present and previous life. Determinism can be divided into three, causal and logical and environmental determinism. The Causal determinists believe that the future is affected by what we do currently and what we

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did in the past, while logical determinists believe that the concepts of the future, past or the present are either true or false based on an individuals logistics. Environmental determinists rely on the assumption that the individual behavior is influenced by the environment; that the environmental conditions influence society and culture. Free will contrasts to the determinist assumptions in that the sociologists who believe in the concept of free will believe that the decisions and choices affect the behavior of societies. Individuals choose their religion, their way of life and all other implications of life. (Sydie, 2001).

Individualism and collectivism: Individualists go by the notion that the society is based on the individual goals and objectives and human ides are based on the drive for self-governance and autonomy. It is opposed to the collectivists’ assumption that states that human beings are interdependent and the society goals and principles should always come prior to the individual goals. Collectivists believe in greater results from a group other than individualism. Sociologists have come up with many sociological theories this are; conflict theory, critical theory, ethno methodology, feminist theory, functionalism, interpretative sociology, social constructionism, social phenomenology, social positivism, structural functionalism, symbolic interactionism and rational choice theory. In this paper the conflict, functionalism and the interpretative sociology theory are explained. (Goodman, 2004).

Conflict theory:

This theory is rooted on the concepts from theories brought about by Karl Marx and Max Weber. The theory states that individual’s or a society’s quest for change and benefits disrupt the overall peace and order of the society. These theorists believed that the efforts of individuals to reach certain goals or objectives contribute to the changes in the society. Individual’s struggles are not necessarily violent but are simply the casual efforts by ach individual or group. In order to come with the conflict theories the sociologist had the following conflicts in mind: Class;

indivi duals belong to different ranks. Those in the high ranks have more property and wealth and exercise power over those in the low class ranks. This is usually a reason for conflicts. Another ignition for conflict is


just like in the class conflict those in more prestigious, more educated races have a higher rank than those in the poor and les prestigious ethnics and this becomes a source of conflict from the two ranks.


in the other cause of conflict. Men and women are not taken as equals in most cultures and this

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is always a source of friction.


as a conflict comes about when individuals from one religion feel more superior to others in another and they feel that their practices are more superior. (Kroehler, 2005).

Impact of Conflict theory on the Economic Problems today

According to the conflict theory, issues such as diversity in race, ethnicity, gender, religion and class are the major contributors of conflict in the society. To understand the effect of conflict theory on the economic problems currently faced we have to base our argument on education. Education is the key to any growing or developed economy. Difference in class influences the level of education attained by students. Those from poorer families and backgrounds are slower in grasping concepts in the classroom. They also do not have access to essential materials to undergo school and their parents cannot afford the quality education that is attained by those from more prestigious backgrounds. This also reflects in the future where the more prestigious jobs are acquired by those fro the less poor families. This trend leads to the poor people getting poorer and the rich keep getting richer. Those below the economic poverty line continue being poor and there standard of living get worse. (Sydie, 2001).

Structural Functionalism /Functionalism Theory:

The theory of Structural functionalism was formulated by Talcott Parsons. According to the structural functionalists, they view the society as a group of different social systems that do different functions that are incorporated to come up with one strong structural system.

Functionalists take the society as a concept that can be investigated through scientific research. They believe that the society is governed by policies and systems. These policies give guidelines on how to behave. They give examples of institutions that govern these policies as the economy, family, religion and even educational structures. With these institutions come responsibilities and titles in the society. The society is analyzed as a set of co-dependent components that cannot operate independently, and each component has its own role and separate involvement to the overall society development. (Babbie, 2003).

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Impact of Structural Functionalism on the Economic Problems today

According to the functionalist the society is interconnected and cannot operate independently that different institutions contribute to the well being of the entire society. For an economy to improve in terms of gross national product and per capita income, all the sector of the economy have to contribute. These sectors are the educational sector, technological sector, the security sector among others. All this sectors operate like the human body if one of them cannot function or is operating poorly the entire system weak. Also according to the structural functionalism theory the components of the system should have the ability to be investigated. This is true for the economy since the different sectors that contribute to the general impact of the economy can be measured through mathematical economics. (Sydie, 2001).

Interpretative Sociology Theory

This theory is associated with the famous sociologist Max Weber, who views the society as an interpretative process where someone not belonging to the society takes time to monitor a culture and recount with its people and then interpret the observations in his own opinion. This theory has been subject to criticisms by sociologists saying that it is impossible for an individual from a different culture to observe a culture of another society and be able to come up with unbiased and logical observations and results. (Kroehler, 2005).

Impact of Interpretative Sociology Theory on the Economic Problems today

In his theory Max Weber argued that there are some concepts that are best analyzed if the person observing them is not from that society. Some of the main problems that influence the economy such as inflation can well be studied if the person doing the study is not from the same society. It is believed that according to Max Weber’s Theory, an outsider will be able to lay a finger on issues that the society members would not be able to observe. (Goodman, 2004).

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Adams, Bert N. and R. A. Sydie. (2001).Sociological Theory. Pine Forge Press.

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Babbie, (2003).The Practice of Social Research, 10th edition. Wadsworth, Thomson Learning Inc.

Michael Hughes, Carolyn J. Kroehler, (2005): The Core, McGraw-Hill,

Ritzer, George and Douglas Goodman. (2004) Sociological theory 6th ed. McGraw Hill.