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AQA Sociology A2 and AS revision Asses the usefulness of micro sociology to our understanding of society 33 marks. Micro sociology refers to sociological perspectives that take an individualistic approach to explaining and looking at society. In contrast to macro sociology which is a perspective looking at the society as a whole, the structures within it which are argued to constrain the behaviour of people, micro sociology believes that individuals make the society and have free will to act and are not ‘puppets’ on strings. Micro sociology believes individual social actors make up society, and therefore in studying society we are really studying human behaviour. There are a few perspectives to be discussed here and analysed, using other theories and structuralist macro perspectives, before coming to the conclusion that more integrated approaches would be the best way to present and explain useful information. First, symbolic interactionsim is the idea society as we know it is a social construction, created through the meanings we attach to actions and how we convey the meanings through symbols. To explain, in this idea society is not an external phenomenon which can be measured objectively. For example, in the same way we attach the meaning of 'stop’ when driving to a red traffic light, there are meanings and symbols we all share which create understandings between individuals. Mead was a micro sociologist who studied the meanings we attach to things, he notes that unlike animals who act on instinct humans have developed ways to convey meaning through symbols like the red traffic light. Herbert Blumer was also a micro sociologist and followed on from this, to say that we gain meaning from interaction experience with other people and we can negotiate and change the meanings we have. We gain understanding from taking 'the role of the other’, that is to say looking at the situation from another’s perspective. This micro sociological approach is useful to the general understanding of human behaviour within society, firstly because it explains how people interact, we attach meanings to our interactions and convey our meaning through symbols, like language. It is useful to have at least a basic understanding of human interaction in society that can explain a lot of situations people find themselves in. It explains why we stop at red lights, and it explains why conversations end when people say goodbye amongst other things. It also assumes we have free will, by claiming free will symbolic interactionism avoids the determinism of structuralist theories. For example, Marxism would claim that we are all determined by capitalism in the way we live our lives, however this theory would suggest that we choose and are motivated to attach meaning to money and material possessions and our interactions of buying more things shows our free will not our determined behaviour due to the set up of society. Also structuralist approaches that claim determinism falter in how they explain negotiation and changes of meaning that Blumer puts forward. With no evident change in the structure of society but changes in meanings attached to things, determinism might not stand up to explaining why there is a change. For example, we can negotiate someone’s view of ourselves and their view may change from 'working class’ to 'John’ instead without anything structuralist changes of John moving article number s s1228 c bet or classes moving around him. Having an understanding of human behaviour and further expanding the sort after use of free will makes this a useful approach to understanding the individual motivations article number s s1228 c bet humans which make up society. In terms of real life application, understanding that alcoholics attach meaning to their interactions, explains that there is a meaning behind their excessive drinking. Medical professionals could use this sociological understanding and try to rationalise their meanings behind drinking and stop the dysfunctional behaviour. In terms of wider societal influences, this could lead people to understand real life symbols and the meanings other people attach to them, thus having a greater understanding of the symbol and the motivation/people behind it. For example, religious symbols. It also means this approach is useful at explaining wider society in how we all attach meanings to things and this process allows us to create new meanings from meeting others, interact more effectively and also explains what society is; a collection of meanings and symbols we share and negotiate. However there are lots of problems with micro sociology and this sample of a good conclusion paragraph for an essay in particular. For instance it assumes that interactions and thus our behaviour is motivated and we attach meaning to it. However this implication of that is to attach meaning to seemingly instinctual things. When to attach meaning to instinct is irrational because the instincts we have are not thought our or meaningful. For instance imagine two people on a cliff edge, one falls over the edge, the other leans over and catches them, they try to pull them up. A stone comes flying out of no where towards the person saving the other, that person my instinctually put their hand up to protect themselves, inadvertently letting go of the person and letting them fall to their death. If we assume our behaviours and interactions all have meanings and motivations behind them, then this instinctual behaviour to let go is murder because that person is believed to have 'meant’ to let go. Whereas the reality is that they didn’t. It was just a reaction of self preservation. Micro sociology, Mead and Blumer all suggest that our behaviours have meanings and motivations but ignores that some behaviours are purely instinctual and have no meaningful/thought out motivation. Therefore they are not useful at all in explaining instinctual behaviour and their explanation is inadequate. Micro approaches are also not useful due to the argument put forward compare and contrast essay about restaurants columbus Post-Modernists in that this explanation of behaviour is simply a meta-narrative and in their view no more valid that macro approaches or other theories of human behaviour and society. Overall this perspective is no more useful at explaining behaviour than any other, it makes the same amount of contribution in knowledge to the society. This is because there is no way to verify knowledge, truth is relative and in this way the validity of this perspective is article number s s1228 c bet to the rest of the perspectives explaining the same thing. Another criticism might be compare and contrast essay about restaurants columbus a Feminist macro sociological position, they argue that it is insane to argue women are motivated and choose to live by their husbands and man in the wider society. For instance Radical Feminists might argue women were not motivated to be housewives, look after the kids, juggle a part time job and satisfy their husbands ourt of free will, but they are determined to do so by the overarching structure of the patriarchy. They could argue that there is no way to negotiate meanings attached to women or men or the women’s role, it is what it is, the only solution is separatism not free choice. There is also the idea that society is not a social construction, meaning that all across the Earth there are societies and they all largely in whatever form all follow the same pattern; large group of people following some sort of social order and there are social facts which appear in all of these societies regardless of the people within. For examples Durkheim’s study of suicide found that there were patterns of suicide similar in a lot of European countries which were evident over time, meaning even when the people changed over the social facts still existed. So arguably the micro sociological perspective that society is a social construction is a fallacy, because there exists structures and social facts across time and geography which suggest otherwise. If we use Karl Popper as an example, we only have to find a social fact evident across time and space (suicide) to inadequate micro sociologies claim, and Durkheim did. Therefore symbolic interactionism as a micro sociological theory is not useful as it is just as relative as any other theory of society, cannot explain the female struggle and why women would across society subject themselves to subordination, but also cannot hold up against social facts which undermine the assumption of society as a social construction. Labelling theory is a micro sociological theory which explains society by looking at the labels actors attach cheap write my essay healthcare bp usf 2015 people or situations. To explain, it shows how when we attach definition to people and believe that those definitions are true, it changes how we act around it or within it. Therefore the labels we attach change our behaviour. For example, Gilborn and Youdell (2000) argue that teachers have radicalised expectations based on the labels they attach to black pupils, meaning that the pupils are badly behaved and all of their behaviours are meant in a disruptive way. Another way labelling theory explains our own perceptions is how we develop our self concept, Cooley argues this develops by 'taking the role of the other’ as suggested by symbolic interactionsim and internalising their views and compare and contrast essay about restaurants columbus of us. This internalisation can also lead to careers in our labels. Much like in an occupation we progress Ec968 course title term paper titles iser the ranks, labelling theory believes that we have careers in our label. Young looked at how marijuana users became progressively more using of the substance when it created moral panic and social actors labelled them as 'marijuana users’, the users came together because of their label and thus used more. Whilst this theory is a micro perspectives and like mentioned before avoids the determinism of structuralist theories, this theory in itself creates a lot of determinism and looses the free will that overall micro perspectives cherish. For example, as society is made up of the way we label things, it could be argued compare and contrast essay about restaurants columbus have free will to label what as we wish. However this theory looses free will when an actor is being labelled, people might believe the label of 'trouble maker’ is true and believe they are trouble makers, everything they do is to cause trouble and so even when the actor uses free will to do nice things to negotiate the label, the actors who applied the label might believe that person is doing the good deeds for some selfish end to cause trouble. Therefore this theory is not so useful in our understanding of society because it tries to show free will in that it is a micro theory and so people are not determined by structures, however ends up being a theory of determinism and in the confusion of whether this theory is or is not based on free will it brings nothing to the debate on our free will in society. However it could be argued that this is a useful micro theory to our understanding of sociology because it has real life applications that some structural theories cannot bring. For instance, in real life sociology has practical implications to research and social policy, so having a micro theory like labelling is useful as it can show how our society operates on labels and inform policy not to support negative labels as it knows the effects of them. Namely that when someone has a label applied that they become a self-fulfilling prophecy and become that label. So knowledge to avoid this is useful to apply to the education system, work ethics and social policy when dealing with people. It is even useful to political parties, label themselves as for the people and people will treat them like they are a party for the people. Also this micro theory is not just useful in wider society and social policy but in understanding social actors behaviour (those that make up society) and how they are personally affected by labels, ie, have deviant careers when labelled as deviant. Another way labelling theory is not useful is in how it cannot explain the origins of labels. For instance, some people have labels attached to them like black pupils in a secondary schools being trouble makers, and article number s s1228 c bet wingers who smoke marijuana being drug abusers, whereas some people do not have labels attached to them. This theory cannot explain why some groups do not have labels and some do. And is therefore not useful at explaining societal labels and tamu texas a&m university logo they come from. Whereas more macro approaches like Feminism or Marxism could explain this. For instance from a Marxist perspective people who work in low skilled low paid jobs and have large families are labelled as working class, and are labelled as scroungers if they have benefits. This has a structuralist purpose, these labels are imposed onto hard working people by the ruling class to divide the working classes resume templates bpo jobs those who work against each other. Marxist theories can even explain why this occurs, it is due to the fact the ruling class do not want the working class together and united in case the realise their exploitation and overthrow the ruling class. Labelling theory cannot really explain why people label recreational left wing marijuana users as drug abusers and who attaches the label (only that it is supported by the media). 3 essays and dissertations by chris mounsey genealogy researcher looking at the cases labelling theory uses to explain their theory might be able to explain the origins but not labelling theory itself. Therefore labelling theory is not useful at explaining the origins of labels, and in fact macro perspectives are better at this as their theory is based on structuralist determinism. Another micro theory is the Ethnomethodological approach to explaining society… Whilst I did not finish this essay, it was under timed conditions (I type for exams) this still achieved 28/33, so more bredth rather than so much depth would have worked as well. Use Weber and Buy essay online cheap ict unit 2 transactional website not yet complete, as a mid way between the two approaches and conclude these two and integrated approaches are a good mid way of the all the strengths of the micro and macro.