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Social theories overview (part 1)

Video transcript
I know all these social theories can seem pretty daunting. But they're actually fairly simple to keep track of if you remember main points. The first theory of society that I'll review is Functionalism. This theory looks at how society can exist and survive over time. Basically Functionalism states that a society is always trying to come to equal equilibrium, trying to stabilize. The structures that make up society like institutions will remain pretty constant and only change if absotely necessary when the society loses stability. Remember that institucions are structures that fulfill the needs of society. There is a example of that in our society right now. Business institutions has had to adapt to the huge online shopping boom. As online retail providers like Amazon draw more and more people away from retail stores down the street. Those stores had to find ways to attract people again so they will take the time to stop in and shop. But it takes a lot of energy to change so stores will only do what is absolutely necessary to get customers again. Right, so when you think of Functionalism think of the major changes an instution makes to find a stable balance in the society. Only change to be functional again. The next theory is Conflict Theory which is just like it sounds It focuses on how societies change and adapt over time, through conflict. In any society, there is going to be conflicting view points and beliefs and people are going to take sides. Eventually this is going to pulverize society where one group is happy with status quo and another group wants change. This is very fragile state for the society and eventually both sides will have to come to some soft of agreement or else tear society apart. The class struggle in 19th century Europe is an example of this process. The workers wanna change, while the factory owner were happy with a way things were. The two opposing position were merge to create a new society, where the workers have slighly more power than before and factory owners have slighly less and everyone was content if maybe not ecstatic about the outcome. Ok, so in Conflict theory you have two opposing sides at odds of each other that eventually lead to the creation of the new syntesize society. Conflict creating a new society. Next we have theory of Social Constructionism which looks at what society is rather than how it exists or changes. In Social Constructionism everything is created from the mind of the society. There is agreement that something is meaning and value that the thing doesnt actually have intrinsically. One of the most prevalent examples today is money. It has no value on its own Its just paper or metal or numbers in computer. But as society we've agreed to give a specific value and that agreement actually hepls to shape society itself. So when you think of Social Constructionism remember that everything only has value because we've agreed, It has value. We construct world around us. The final social theory here is Symbolic interactionism. This one is kind of different than the other theories because It puts a lot of focus on the individual and how they behave. It is based on the idea of the meanings we give to things. Like, to me, a tree could be a source of shade whereas for someone else It could be home to spiders and ants. People are created by their society they act based on their past experiences in their lives and the meanings they have given things. But not everone gives the same meaning to everything. That tree could mean 10 different things to 10 different people and even if you just look at one person a tree can have multiple meanings and those meanings can even change over time. The meanings we give things is based on our past experiences in the society and those meanings and interpretations create our future society. To put it in the phrase Symbolic Interactionism says that we interact the world to give it meaning. So to sum up summary, we have: Functionalism - looking at the stability of the society Conflict Theory - looking at how the society changes Social Constructionism - discovering how things are given value and finally Symbolic Interactionism learning how individuals act.