"Functionalism interprets each part of society in terms of how it contributes to the stability of the whole society. Society is more than the sum of its parts; rather, each part of society is functional for the stability of the whole."
"According to functionalism, an institution only exists because it serves a vital role in the functioning of society. If it no longer serves a role, an institution will die away. When new needs evolve or emerge, new institutions will be created to meet them."
"Conflict theory states that tensions and conflicts arise when resources, status, and power are unevenly distributed between groups in society and that these conflicts become the engine for social change. In this context, power can be understood as control of material resources and accumulated wealth, control of politics and the institutions that make up society, and one's social status relative to others (determined not just by class but by race, gender, sexuality, culture, and religion, among other things)."
"Symbolic interaction theory analyzes society by addressing the subjective meanings that people impose on objects, events, and behaviors. Subjective meanings are given primacy because it is believed that people behave based on what they believe and not just on what is objectively true. Thus, society is thought to be socially constructed through human interpretation. People interpret one another’s behavior and it is these interpretations that form the social bond. These interpretations are called the 'definition of the situation.' "
"Social exchange theory is a model for interpreting society as a series of interactions between people that are based on estimates of rewards and punishments. According to this view, our interactions are determined by the rewards or punishments that we expect to receive from others, which we evaluate using a cost-benefit analysis model (whether consciously or subconsciously)."
"Central to the social exchange theory is the idea that an interaction that elicits approval from another person is more likely to be repeated than an interaction that elicits disapproval."
"Feminist theory is a major branch of theory within sociology that shifts its assumptions, analytic lens, and topical focus away from the male viewpoint and experience and toward that of women. In doing so, feminist theory shines light on social problems, trends, and issues that are otherwise overlooked or misidentified by the historically dominant male perspective within social theory. Key areas of focus within feminist theory include discrimination and exclusion on the basis of sex and gender, objectification, structural and economic inequality, power and oppression, and gender roles and stereotypes, among others."
"Economic theories look at the ways in which the production, distribution, and consumptions of goods and services are organized through money. Rational choice theorists have argued that the same general principles can be used to understand human interactions where time, information, approval, and prestige are the resources being exchanged. According to this theory, individuals are motivated by their personal wants and goals and are driven by personal desires. Since it is not possible for individuals to attain all of the various things that they want, they must make choices related to both their goals and the means for attaining those goals."
"Social phenomenology is an approach within the field of sociology that aims to reveal what role human awareness plays in the production of social action, social situations and social worlds. In essence, phenomenology is the belief that society is a human construction."
"The central task in social phenomenology is to explain the reciprocal interactions that take place during human action, situational structuring, and reality construction. That is, phenomenologists seek to make sense of the relationships between action, situation, and reality that take place in society."