Theoretical strategies[ edit ] There are a number of theoretical strategies within contemporary macrosociology, but four of them stand out as major ones: The Idealist Strategy attempts to explain the basic features of social life by reference to the creative capacity of the human mind. These conditions include things like the nature of the physical environment, the level of technology, and the organization of the economic system.
Macro-level processes approach the investigation of social life as it exists in social systems, institutional structures within society, and the relationships among the various structures within society.
Such concerns represent those of the classical period of sociology and its founding fathers such as Durkheim, Marx, and Weber. Micro-level processes approach the investigation of social life as it exists in interpersonal and interactional processes.
Thus, it is Macro sociological perspectives individual in social context that is of central importance.
These two contrasting theoretical perspectives-often referred to as micro-sociology and macro-sociology-use different concepts drawing from micro-level or macro-level processes to explain social life.
According to Wippler and Lindenbergthere are no clear cut-off points in this distinction. However, an example constituting a micro-level process would be if the scope were focused on interaction among individuals; if the scope were focused on the value system of a society, this would constitute a macro-level process.
Micro-sociology analyzes the underlying social processes responsible for relations between persons. Micro-level processes thus focus on social interaction and communication; important concepts are symbols, obligations, exchange, and reciprocity.
Macro-sociology, on the other hand, analyzes the structure of different positions in a population and their constraints on social relations.
Macro-level processes thus focus on the influence of the social environment on people's relations, and important concepts are differentiation, institutions, and inequality Blau, Talcott Parsons is credited with playing a central role in helping structural functionalism obtain its dominant position in American sociological theory.
With respect to theories oriented to micro-level processes or micro-theories prior to the s, symbolic interactionism is worth mentioning during the time that macro-theories strongly dominated sociological theory.
According to Ritzerthe late s and s were a time during which micro-theories gained popularity in American sociological theory, most notably with the developments of exchange theory and the work of George Homans and Peter Blau.
Homans was working on a theoretical alternative to Parson's structural functionalism that addressed its limitations and macro-orientation. His work applied principles from psychology specifically behaviorism to issues of sociological importance.
According to BlauHomans was attempting to develop a behavioristic and scientific micro-theoretical alternative to macro-theoretical orientations. During this time, Blau was also developing his own theory, a type of exchange theory that extended its original micro-oriented principles to macro-level processes Ritzer,and thus was an integrative effort to also appeal to supporters of macro-theories.
There were also notable developments in phenomenology and ethnomethodology during the rise in popularity of micro-theories, including the work of individual theorists like Albert Schutz.
However, these developments came up against hostility from conventional macro-oriented theorists. According to Ritzerthis hostility centered on the emphasis of phenomenology and ethnomethodology with "trivial micro-sociological issues and for losing sight of the importance of social structures and social institutions.
Their apparent focus on creative consciousness led to the view that theorists with such an orientation were not, indeed could not be, scientific" p.
Applications Macro-level Processes Macro-level processes in sociological theory approach the investigation of social life as it exists in social systems, institutional structures within society, and the relationships among the various structures within society.
From this macro-theoretical perspective, it is the structures within society that set the stage or serves as the context for individual behavior. The theoretical concerns of macro-level processes represent those of the classical period of sociology.
The founding fathers of sociology-Marx, Durkheim and Weber-attended to such macro-oriented analyses.
The following section will briefly review three major theoretical perspectives that focus on macro-level processes: Marx's theory of stratification, Parsons's structural functionalism, and Dahrendorf's conflict theory. Marxism German philosopher Karl Marx's writings of the nineteenth century, including The Communist Manifesto and Das Kapital, are perhaps the most influential attempts to understand the origins and development of stratification in capitalist societies.
It is these writings and others published by Marx and his friend and collaborator Friedrich Engels that form the foundation of thought and belief known as Marxism.The field of sociology relies on information at both a micro and macro level.
While microsociology is the study of individuals in the context of the sociology field, macrosociology is used to gather data and information on larger entities within a society that will provide a clearer picture of that society that people live in as a whole.
There are two types of sociological theories: macro and micro. Macro theories focus on the society as a whole and aim at establishing the general characteristics of the society. Three Major Perspectives in Sociology. (the macro level of analysis of large social patterns).
The pioneering European sociologists, however, also offered a broad conceptualization of the fundamentals of society and its workings. Macro and Micro Perspectives in Sociology: Just as scientists may study the natural world using different levels of analysis (e.g., physical, chemical, or biological), sociologists study the social world using different levels of analysis.
This lesson provides information on macrosociology, discusses its usefulness within the field of sociology and provides examples of macrosociology research. Sociology includes three major theoretical perspectives: the functionalist perspective, the conflict perspective, and the symbolic interactionist perspective (sometimes called the interactionist perspective, or simply the micro view).
Each perspective offers a variety of explanations about the social world and human behavior.