If you're seeing this message, it means we're having trouble loading external resources on our website.

If you're behind a web filter, please make sure that the domains *.kastatic.org and *.kasandbox.org are unblocked.

Main content
Current time:0:00Total duration:4:09

Social theories overview (part 2)

Video transcript

alright here's part 2 of our social theories overview I'll quickly sum up feminist theory and rational exchange theories and you can be on your way feminist theory is a macro level or big world perspective on society it focuses on the gender inequalities inherent to patriarchal capitalist societies in patriarchal societies men occupy the governing positions both in the families and in the community at large women are marginalized objectified oppressed subordinated and discriminated against though it isn't always apparent both women and men are often forced into socially acceptable gender-based roles the difference is that men are not subjugated because of their categorizations feminist theory can focus on the effects of socially constructed gender differences like how women's experience and position in social situations differs from men's and the different values associated with femininity and masculinity it can also focus on gender inequalities where women's subordination is viewed as an inherent feature of society because of the way institutions are structured there is also gender oppression where women are not only viewed as unequal to men but they are actually oppressed in even abused because of it and structural oppression that views women's subordination as a result of capitalism patriarchy and racism feminist theory does not attempt to replace men at the top of the social ladder but rather to shed light on the gender inequalities and grayned in our society in the hopes of achieving equality rational choice theory basically states that people always take rational actions weighing the costs and benefits of each action so that the outcome benefits them the most a rational choice is part of a pattern of choices that are consistent rational choice theory makes three main assumptions one completeness that all actions can be ranked to transitivity that if a is preferable to b and b is preferable to see that a is also preferable to C and 3 independence of irrelevant alternatives that if an additional choice is available it won't change the relative ranking of the previous choices if I suddenly have option X B is an abruptly better than a all of this adds up to explain how people choose the best possible option for themselves out of the available selections exchange theory is the application of rational choice theory to social interaction it is used to study family relationships work relationships partner selection parenting and many other interpersonal interactions there are many assumptions associated with exchange theory but basically they state that people behave with the goal of maximizing their own rewards while minimizing their punishments that people have the information they need to make rational choices within social norms that self-interest and interdependence guide human interactions and that human relationships are formed because people analyze their interactions using cost-benefit analysis and along with all that you have to consider that the standards of what is a reward and what is a punishment change over time and are different from person to person society is made of these interactions between people who behave according to a subjective analysis of rewards and punishments of each possible interaction there are criticisms of rational choice theory and exchange theory the first I thought of was if people actually make rational choices I certainly don't always critics ask why anyone would do something to benefit someone else more than themselves why would someone follow social norms that were not in their own self-interest and can you really explain every social structure through the interactions of individuals they also criticize the reduction of human interactions to a rational process and the linearization of forming relationships when it often feels more like a carnival ride of twists and backs and jumps and there we have it that's feminists degree in rational exchange theories pretty straightforward right