SOC-102: Principles of Sociology

This SOC-102: Principles of Sociology course provides an overview of sociologists’ concepts, theories, and methods for describing and explaining the effects of social structure on human behavior. It emphasizes the sociological perspective’s understanding and application in everyday life.

The Principles of Sociology

Sociology is a self-reflective discipline (not to be confused with psychology) that identifies and analyzes the ongoing process of social construction, which is actively producing and creating our reality and social world. It is based on a set of principles that shape our sociological perspective and, ultimately, our research, just like other social sciences (e.g., anthropology, political science, and psychology). Sociologists’ work is guided by the following set of principles:

  1. social interactions is the basis for the construction of societies
  2. societies are organized into distinct social units that tell us what the rules are
  3. our patterns of behavior reveal unequal social relationships
  4. social change is an essential part of our survival
  5. we must attempt to explain our social behavior
  6. we can use scientific work to promote the human social condition
  7. the way we interact with others shows what we believe in and what we value as group members
  8. evidence that supports our claims about social behavior should be prioritized.

Each principle has an aspect that overlaps with another principle. Our unequal social relationships, for example, are linked to our perceptions of one another as individuals and members of social groups. We can, and frequently do, form false impressions of one another, which can lead to prejudice and discrimination. We must try to understand this social behavior and collect evidence of its existence and negative consequences. Our findings can be used to raise awareness about social inequality and reduce its impact on our daily lives. Whether you want to learn more about how societies work or you want to look into a specific social issue, sociology is the discipline to look into.

The Art of Thinking Sociologically


The offering of Sociology and sociological


What is the sociological perspective? A sociological perspective looks at society through a lens that is free of personal bias. It organizes individual causes and actions into patterns and categories. It, on the other hand, not only observes but also tries to explain these societal patterns or behaviors.

Types of sociological perspectives
  • Structural functionalist perspective:

Structural functionalism is a school of thought in sociology and other social sciences that holds that each institution, relation, position, and convention that makes up society has a purpose and that each is necessary for the continued functioning of other members and society as a whole. In structural-functionalism, social change is seen as an adaptive response to some of society’s problems. When one aspect of the interwoven social structure changes, friction occurs, which is alleviated by changes in other areas of the system.

According to sociologist Durkheim, social cohesion is a result of the interrelationships that exist between the various components of society, which is a complex system with dynamic traits that is external to people but influences their actions. According to this viewpoint, various institutions, structures, and processes serve a specific purpose that benefits society’s members. This includes education, which contributes to societal development, legal systems, which check societal deviations, government, which governs and protects citizens, and families, which contribute to reproduction, among many other things.

From the functionalist’s perspective, even processes that others may view negatively have a purpose. Criminals are typically thought to be harmful to society, but structural functionalists believe that they motivate people to act morally and keep the justice system running. This perspective has been criticized for its inability to explain social issues and the persistence of non-functional aspects of society that serve no purpose in society’s needs. Some people are against the idea that all of society’s activities are beneficial to society.

  • Conflict theory

argues that when assets, power, and social reputations are divided unfairly across sections of society, then disputes develop and these conflicts form the source of social change.  Power can be defined as the control of productive capacity and acquired wealth, as well as influence over political and social institutions and everyone else’s social position in this context. Karl Marx’s writings on the determinants and consequences of the bourgeois-proletarian class conflict in a capitalist society gave rise to the theory of conflict. The intellectual compulsion of the bourgeoisie reinforced an unequal social order by producing unanimity of values, objectives, and standards. When the proletariat’s social and economic situation worsens, Marx predicted that they will become aware of the class system, implying that the rich capitalist class exploits them, leading to a revolution demanding social change.

This viewpoint evolved from Marx’s and encompasses a wide range of conflicts and disagreements that contribute to societal change. Even inter-national wars are thought to be sparked by material or ideological differences, and their resolution leads to structural change. Marxism and Feminism are sociological perspectives derived from conflict theory, and they both focus on specific conflicts, differences, and their effects on society.

The focus on social stability change and neglect has been criticized in conflict theory. Some opponents acknowledge that societies are constantly changing, but point out that many of these changes are small and gradual rather than dramatic.

  • Symbolic interactionism theory

assumes that people respond to elements of their environments according to the subjective meanings they attach to those elements, such as meanings being created and modified through social interaction involving symbolic communication with other people. Symbolic Interactionism is a sociological theoretical framework that describes how societies are formed and maintained through individuals’ repeated actions (Carter and Fuller, 2015).

People in society understand their social worlds through communication, which is defined as the exchange of meaning via language and symbols.

Symbolic interactionism, rather than addressing how institutions objectively define and affect individuals, focuses on these individuals’ subjective perspectives and how they make sense of the world from their point of view (Carter and Fuller, 2015).

In the symbolic interactionist view, the objective structure of a society is less important than how subjective, repeated, and meaningful interactions between individuals create society. As a result, society is thought to be built through human interpretation.


Why is it important?

The importance of sociological perspectives is to view social issues from multidimensional perspectives (as social beings, we must understand that all social issues arise from society or by us and that looking at issues through a single lens is insufficient or impossible to comprehend well). Sociological perspectives provide us with different points of view at this point; contextualizing social phenomena is another benefit of sociological perspectives; and finally, sociological perspectives provide us with a holistic understanding of society.


Sociological perspectives are valuable because they provide a lens through which to view society that is free of personal biases and prejudices. It has its own set of applications in different societies and can be changed as the times change. The three types of sociological perspectives mentioned above are the traditional sociological perspectives. Other perspectives, such as Marxism, feminism, and post-modernism, among others, provide different perspectives on society’s happenings. Sociological theory always changes and should never be thought of as complete. Classic sociological theories are still relevant and important, but new sociological theories build on and expand on the work of their predecessors (Calhoun 2012).

Perspectives and theories are bound to Classic sociological theories are still relevant and important, but new sociological theories build on and expand on the work of their predecessors (Calhoun 2012). Perspectives and theories are bound to expand dramatically as multiple branches of sociology develop, but they all aim to understand the society in the end.d to expand dramatically as multiple branches of sociology develop. They all aim to understand society in the end.



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