SOC101: Unit 1 Discussion

  1. In my opinion, the three major theoretical paradigms that were discussed in the section can be used when looking at issues of inequalities in the following examples:

Structural functionalism: As a society, we are working together as a whole to slowly destroy our planet. The light pollution, air pollution, water pollution, and the littering and much more are slowly causing our ecosystems to die with temperatures rising each year and animals going extinct if we as a whole continue won’t have much of anything left.

Conflict theory With today’s social media, we’re able to spread awareness about social conflicts such as racism, police brutality, bullying and more which causes a social drive.

Symbolic interactionism This one I’m having some trouble understanding, unfortunately. My mind isn’t grasping it quite yet.

  1. One might explain that by using social imagination you can put yourself in the shoes of someone who has or is experiencing an eating disorder. For example but using sociological imagination I would explain that one of the personal struggles I may deal with would be comparing myself to the “models” I see every day on social media. They all look the same and the goal is to look like them. I might be self-conscious because I don’t have the shape they do and with all the pressure of societies standards of beauty I stop eating.

  2. Sociological theories are beneficial and help when studying various groups within a society by allowing us to view them from different perspectives with different outcomes.

  3. It is very important to follow ethical standards and guidelines when conducting sociological research so that the results can be fair and 100% accurate without faults.


Structural- Functionalism can be used to identify inequalities such as being a female in the work force. We have conditioned our society to believe men are better off with some jobs then Females. Structural Functionalism was created to show how every working part of Society works together to keep the natural order of things to which we see fit. But how can things be in working order when we have a large group of people who are looked down upon because they are not seen as equally fit to men?
Symbolic Interactionism is the paradigm explains how individuals of a particular group interacts with each other. For example how the inequalities between older and younger siblings effect their relationship with each other.
Conflict Theory is the paradigm that can explain capitalists societies, how one group reaps the benefits from another group. A great way to use this is when we discuss the Welfar system. Where non working people gain from the hard working class from their taxes.

  1. Eating disorders are usually found in young adults and are caused by body expectations. Most victims of eating disorders are young females and pressured by society to look a certain way. They feel unworthy of love and affection and think controlling what goes into the body will gain a certain level of personal control. The hard ship of feeling alone and embarrassed because thy know what they are doing is wrong but they don"t know how to ask for help or they don"t want to ask for help.
  2. When we study various groups in this world we learn about different issues within the community that probably haven’t been brought to the public’s attention before.One example is Gay rights, we only got gay marriage in 2015. Even tho people have been fighting for gay rights since the early 1900s its still an on going issue that is being studied.
  3. The importances of following ethical standards and guidelines is so your research isnt biased or tainted in anyway, You want your research to be as unarguable as possible. One case of unethical research is when Andrew Wakerfield, a British gastroenterologist, published a paper on how 8 children developed the first signs of autism a month after having the MMR vaccine. It later was disproven that the intestinal inflammation that poised the blood and then the children’s brains was caused by the MMR vaccine.


1.) Structural functionalism explains the ways each part of society work together to contribute to the bigger picture. An example of structural functionalism would be education providing the basis for the spread of knowledge and culture to younger generations. Conflict theory is the idea that a society is in a constant state of competition due to the lack of resources available and the imbalance of power. A great example of conflict theory would be be the wage gap in between men and women still present today. Symbolic interactionism is the idea that people are best understood when focusing on how their relationships are with other individuals in their society. A prime example of symbolic interactionism is teenagers knowing that smoking is bad for them based on all of the resources given to them to show that, but them still smoking because it as perceived as cool to their peers.

2.) Sociological imagination says that the way that a person behaves is largely due to the environment around them. In order to understand a person suffering with an eating disorder, you would have to analyze the way that their life experiences shaped the thought process of needing to be in a constant state of control over something, in this case that would be their eating habits.

3.) The three sociological theories are beneficial because when presented with different groups of people, we are able to get a better insight on what the causes of their actions and behaviors are. For example, in a neighborhood that has a lack of educational resources, it can be understood that when a lot of the kids are not graduating high school, it relates directly back to the lack of resources.

4.) It is vital for sociologists to follow ethical standards and guidelines because without those results from studies can be tainted and therefore not beneficial to society as a whole. For example, if a sociologist isn’t careful, the results of their studies can be harmful to groups of people instead of being beneficial.

  1. Structural functionalism can be observed among children that come from different religious backgrounds in school systems. Children especially are direct reflections of their parents/guardians. If children aren’t taught to accept others that may look, speak, or act different than themselves this can cause conflict and therefore lead to the topic of inequality. Humans are naturally attracted to those that they feel they can relate to. If children are brought up to accept those that are different from them conflict may be avoided. Conflict theory can be applied to this situation by specifically viewing children that were raised in wealthy, typically white, families. Often times those that were raised under these circumstances are less likely to be accepting of those that are not visibly brought up in the same environment. Symbolic interactionism can be observed by how these wealthy children treat those that are different than them in a one-on-one setting. That behavior is often likely to change when children are in a group setting, as the majority mindset typically plays a big role in this.

  2. Using sociological imagination to understand the personal trouble of one experiencing an eating disorder is vital in finding the root cause of the disorder. This method involves observing the relationship of an individuals’ behaviors and why they behave this way. There are many societal stigmas that individuals feel they must conform to in order to ‘fit in’. If a person has ever been made fun of or treated differently due to their weight, they may feel the need to do whatever it takes to improve their appearance to make them more acceptable to societies standards.

  3. The use of the three sociological theories can be beneficial when studying gender equality. Conflict theory is used to observe how women are viewed as a whole by society. Some individuals within the society view women as unequal or inferior to men. Applying structural functionalism can raise the point of human equality. If a job needs to be done, gender should not matter as long as the said individual is capable of completing the task at hand. Symbolic interactionism is beneficial to pinpointing the individuals that believe in the inequality by observing the way said individuals interact and communicate with women.

  4. Ethical standards are vital in ensuring that confidentiality is upheld and that unbiased information is obtained by the researcher. The practice of value neutrality is especially important to avoid skewed data. I have personally never come across an instance where ethical guidelines were violated. However, if you consider a therapist as one who conducts scientific research with patients, these guidelines are of the highest importance as this is an individual with deep access to ones personal thoughts and feelings. This information is very sensitive and should not under any circumstance be shared with anyone, nor should the therapist pass judgement on the information shared with them.


1.) When examining inequality, the three major paradigms will give different perspectives.

  • Structural functionalism will consider a broader perspective; that different parts of society all work together to perform as one whole object, and each part has a particular purpose. For example, low cost labor forces have been a source of inequality since as long as time. Cheap labor from the worlds impoverished countries allows more goods to be circulated, but it discriminates growth of the people in that functioning part. To improve their abilities to move outside that functioning part would weaken its total functioning output. So by maintaining the roles of the different parts, there is inequality between major groups. Another example would look at the governing bodies laws and regulations, and how they may bias treatment towards groups of people.
  • Symbolic Interactionism would approach the situation from the individual person to person experiences that produce inequality. For example, a black child grows up experiencing white prejudice and discrimination, they may have a biased outlook on the participation with whites but more inclined with other races. Or an opposite example: if a white child grew up seeing violence from other ethnicities, they would have a predisposition towards favoring their own race. These individual experiences on the micro level is how symbolic interactionism would approach a topic like inequality.
  • Conflict theory is a not so clearly Macro or Micro perspectives like the last two, it can be used at both levels. Conflict Theory looks more at the allocation of resources amongst individuals and groups of people. For example, lets look at the oil and gas industry. For years a majority of the oil in the world was produced in the middle east. That commodity was used to empower and weaken certain nations to the point of conflict and war. Societies allocation of resources causes inequality between nations, and individuals can perceive that pressure and begin to act inequally in order to defend or maintain their idea of survival. The inequality is at the larger level as well as the competition between individuals for survival.
    2.) The sociological imagination applied to an eating disorder would look at the situations unfolding from the different parts of society. The person could have interacted with TV shows at an early age that show unrealistically skinny people, and for that disorder they could see it as a positive thing because they are achieving what is looked at favorably in our society. The imagination considers the wider relationship to the culture and experiences in which they have developed.
    3.) Sociological theories can help provide understanding into groups, institutions and events. Similar to the scientific process, sociological theories examine causation and effect. The different theories, such as conflict theory, will provide us insight into how survival plays a role in people’s actions. How will people’s behavior change when their ability to survive becomes much harder. Governments will use this type of information in determining how to adjust their policies. More perspective will give more information, and more information can help make better decisions. The different theories then aim to provide more information for the best decisions.
    4.) Ethical standards guarantee the viability of collected data and following reports. Value neutrality is an example of an ethical standard that eliminates bias from collection of data or the interpretation of results. Similar to the Scientific process, the researchers must be very careful not to disturb their results. Especially for a sociological research that could disrupt their research, or even worse cause a disturbance within a group that they are trying to help. An example for ethical violations for sociological research could be Cambridge Analytica. The took digital surverys after being granted permission by users, but the way in which people granted permission was normally skipped over or lost in fine print. Because of who allowed usage, their studies naturally incurred bias. Then the usage of that information was applied specifically to certain demographics. like customized ammunition for specific targets.

  1. The three major theoretical paradigms that are discussed that might be used in looking at the issues of inequality are:
    *Structural functionalism- the way each part of society functions together to contribute to the whole=with changes in technology, Adult education facilities are offering more technical programs since adults are returning back to school can learn a new skill for the work field requirements.

Symbolic interactionism- one on one interactions & communications= the interaction between students having a conversation with their actions being determined by the other persons action.

*Conflicts Theory- the way inequalities differences in power- youth crime would be an example of resistance to value they perceived as forced upon.

  1. Sociological imagination is described as an awareness of the relationship between a persons behavior and experience and the wider culture that shaped the persons choices and perceptions.
    Back then having one child was viewed as the child was spoiled, but now a days there is an understanding of the benefits are when having only one child.

  2. Sociological theories are beneficial when studying various groups or institutions within society by having the ability to understand how a certain group acts, reacts, respond, and deal with certain issues and things in a specified location versus another. by using sociological theories it makes the research simple when utilizing reasoning and theories.

  3. It is vitally important to follow the ethical standards and guidelines so that all participants have the comfort to acknowledge that all surveys and researches that are conducted are reliable and valid while including their safety.