Theoretical Approaches in Sociology

The interactionist, functionalist, and conflict theoretical approaches on society give different perspectives of an individual, social change as well as social order.  The three theories in different ways hold different perspectives on how they look at an individual and society as a whole (Schaefer, 2010).

Functionalist theory views society in a positive way as being stable and having all the parts working together as one and hence, every social aspect of a society plays a vital role in ensuring society’s survival. In analyzing individual, functionalist views people as socially molded, and not imposed to do their societal roles. Thus, functionalist theory main idea is on the cooperation of members of a society since it brings stability (Schaefer, 2010).

The TV reality shows allow people who are different within a society to watch a common show and can communicate with each other as longtime friends. However, it can impact an individual negatively as one tries to enumerate an outrageous action of the characters within the show hence molding a person’s behavior socially through interactions with the TV stars.

Conflict theory views society as being in continuous struggle and that one can only understand the social behavior of individuals through their conflicts. It views individual characters being as a result of influence by the authority, and that people maintain social order through force. Under the conflict perspective, social change keeps on taking place constantly, and this always brings some kind of conflict as people keep on competing with each other and due to social inequality (Schaefer, 2010).

The conflict theory brings an entertaining aspect to the reality TV shows. For instance, in a football competition where two teams compete with each other and the winning team gets a prize. Also, some TV programs show people competing for resources and power, but eventually end up relating easily as they overcome their daily struggles.

The interactionist perspective looks at how different small groups of people work in terms of behaviors and how they react to other people’s actions, material things as well as symbols. The theory studies social behavior on a small scale.  According to this theory, people influence each other’s daily social interactions and one is capable of creating own social world through interactions and that a society maintains order through sharing of how people understand other’s daily behavior. Also, that social change within a society occurs when peoples’ position and communication with each other change through symbols and objects (Schaefer, 2010).

Reality TV shows make people compare their actions and behaviors with those of the show’s stars. The people end up developing either negative or positive feeling based on the attributes they compare and what they can justify. At times, one might have to change in order to fit into the society, and mostly get influenced by the actions of the TV stars. Thus, the way people interact with the reality TV shows affects the society’s behaviors as a whole.

Social imagination refers to how people relate with the surrounding through analyzing of the present and past effect of an individual’s life choices, and behaviors within the society as a result of influence by both external and internal factors.  Mills argues that a person with sociological imagination is in a position to understand and learn from personal experiences and that of others who are facing same situations (Swedberg, 2012).

The issue of producing nuclear weapons by North Korea has been part of the leading headlines for most newspapers and news and in most nations globally. America under the leadership of Donald Trump has been opposing North Korea’s move and this has put the two countries under conflict. America argues that manufacturing of the Nuclear weapons is a threat to the whole world and that North Korea should get rid of them or else America to attack the country in an effort to stop the manufacturing. On the other hand, North Korea is arguing that it is making the weapons to safeguard itself and has no intentions attacking any innocent country, and President Kim says no one can dictate on what his government can do or not (David, 2017).

In this case, the two countries should apply the sociological imagination to analyze the society at large and decide whether they want to stand in human history and continually keep on conflicting over the weapons. The two countries should initiate a dialogue and discuss the issue in dilemma and look for the right solutions that would not affect their citizens. However, without using sociological imagination the conflict between America and North Korea over nuclear weapon production might never cease to exist.


David, E. (2017, November 29). Washington Eyes a Cold war Strategy against North Korea. The New York Times post.

Schaefer,T. (2010). “Sociology: 12th Edition” New York: The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. pp.13-16

Swedberg, R. (2012). Theorizing in sociology and social science: Turning to the context of discovery. Theory and society41(1), 1-40.