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    Theoretical Framework

    A theoretical framework is a lens through which to view society that guides both the thinking and research in pursuing that study. This framework will be the foundation for all further theories and research that fit in that particular.

    The field of sociology has three major theoretical frameworks through which to view society:

    Structural Functionalism

    Functionalists view society as a complicated system of equally necessary parts that work together to create a stable or unstable society. When society is dysfunctional, it is because one or more of society’s fragments is not operating correctly. A strong, functional society can be equated to a well-oiled machine.

    Conflict Theory

    Conflict theorists view society as an arena of inequality that generates conflict and change. Societal events are all consequences of this conflict. Most conflict theory is derived from the works of Karl Marx.

    Symbolic Interactionism

    Symbolic interactionists believe that society is the result of the symbolic meanings that people attribute to everything and everyone around them. People’s sense of ‘self’ and everything else is constantly constructed and reconstructed, influencing how they interact with their environment.

    Classifying sociological theories into these three schools of thought is extremely useful pedagogically and methodologically. While these are three convenient categories, different theories in one framework can vary hugely from each other.

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    BrainMass Categories within Theoretical Framework

    Structural Functionalism

    Solutions: 9

    Structural functionalism is a theoretical framework that views society as a complex system of interrelated parts.

    Conflict Theory

    Solutions: 10

    Conflict theory emphasizes inequalities of particular groups in society.

    Symbolic Interactionism

    Solutions: 3

    Symbolic interactionism posits that people act towards things based on the constructed and reconstructed meaning that thing has for them.

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