Functionalism and Interationism: an Outlined Comparison

[Functionalism and Interactionism: an outlined comparison
The sociological approach to the study of human behaviour involves looking at the subject form different perspectives.   There is in fact, a commonly accepted structure of sociological perspectives.   These perspectives are not all in harmony with each other although some sociologists will agree that they complement each other.   Positivism is a philosophical term that suggests all knowledge can be based on science and all behaviour, animate and inanimate is subject to general laws (Auguste Comte, 1798-1857).   Positivism contains elements of structuralism whose opinions are based on Macro Theory; that sociology studies the structural effects of society on social life.   This view holds that patterns such as religion, the family and organisations created by structures are the basis of any explanation concerning society.

Interactionism practices Micro sociology that is human centred.   From this contending view point, the social behaviour in reality is discovered when human individuals interact and create their own social experiences.   Interactionist sociologists delve into the beliefs and meanings of individuals acting in groups.   This line of thinking is in agreement with phenomenology which holds the view that individuals have a different assumption of what the world they are part of looks like.   They believe that we need to look at the way groups and individuals make sense of the world they live in.   They interpret their data as qualitative data – the ‘quality’ of human experience¬ – rather than quantitative.   As an example they would observe humans compiling statistical figures as opposed to analysing the figures themselves.   Another definition would be that Interactionist sociologists are interpretive, believing that individuals create society through their joint activities.   In order to explain social behaviour you need to understand individual interpretations.   I intend to use an inter-weaving...