Sociological Perspectives

woman wearing tinted glasses

What is Collectivism

I'll polish this up in July

Collectivism is a social outlook of how people group themselves together and how they are grouped. Collectivism looks at which groups people belong to, whether that’s sex, tribe, family, nation, race, and earning bracket.

The statuses and roles people have are either ascribed or achieved. Some of people’s ascribed statuses are given to them from the day they are born; such as being a son or a brother. Some of people’s ascribed roles are given to us by others and cannot be removed ourselves; such as collecting the mail or washing up.

Collectivism is a form of anthropomorphism because it gives a group a singular human identity of which people must conform.

“Collectivism is a form of anthropomorphism. It attempts to see a group of individuals as having a single identity similar to a person. The collective is claimed to have ideas, and can think. It has purpose, and it acts to achieve goals. It even has a personality, called culture. It claims to have moral rules the collective should follow. It claims to have collective rights, as well”. The group behaves like one person, and if people disagree, they can either leave, or have their suggestions refused. The group has with hopes and dreams like a regular person.

Anthropomorphism means when humans attribute human-like qualities and traits onto things which are not human. For example, thinking that a smiling gorilla is happy, when in fact it is sad. Or in cartoons or stories such as Alice in Wonderland when animal characters stand up and act just like humans. Keep in mind that anthropomorphism gives an inaccurate representation of animals. Collectivism sees a group as a group instead of many human beings as the people in the group act the same way.
Collectivism says that people in a group do things for the common good, what the people in the group deem to be the good thing to do is done. Whilst in the group, you work for the group subjugate yourself, which means to be submissive or subservient, forcing yourself to be controlled by others. Collectivism demands that people put the group before themselves.

The more freedom people have to do whatever they want, the less collectivism there is. The more people co-operate, the more collectivism there is. China is a collectivist culture unlike the United Kingdom which is an individualist culture. Individualism is known to clash and verse against collectivism. People choose to be collective because of their individualistic values.

Feminism is the social view and political movement supporting equal rights of the sexes. This gives women equal rights in society rather than be second class citizens with fewer rights. People who campaign for these rights are called feminists.

Throughout history worldwide, women had less legal rights than men. In Britain, women were refused the right to vote, go to war, go university, and get the same jobs men did. The view was that women should stay at home looking after the kids. There were few jobs which paid women well in the nineteenth century.

The government encouraged women to be a nurse, a housewife, clean chimneys, cleaners, grow crops, or to sow fabric for an income. In short, all the subservient maternal dead end jobs.

The first right was that women had the right to vote. A group of these women are called The Suffragettes. They started off their campaign peacefully using non-violent techniques to get attention and make an impact. They were happy to go to prison, once in prison they went on a hunger strike. Prison guards were asked to force feed the protesters. This gave them a lot of free publicity. They had got what they wanted. Luckily for the government, they didn’t die in prison due to their hunger strike. They later used violence; they blew up a part of David George’s house.

The economic situation worsened during World War Two as the working men were now fighting abroad leaving alot of unemployment. This helped to start the Feminist Movement as women demanded for jobs to make ends meet and equal rights.
Today in Britain, the law is different so both sexes have equal rights. Some British women feel that we there is still inequality. Males receive noticeably less violence compared to women. Males still monopolise today and have the top jobs and wealth. Still men are being paid more than women, and the gap of pay is reducing year after year. The divide is still breaking down.

In some countries, there is still great inequality between men and women. Some countries murder feminists who speak out against the corrupt laws. In some countries women are still being denied rights such as leaving the house without a male escort, the right to vote, and get respectable jobs.

Functionalism is the study of how society is very much like a machine made of groups of people as the parts of the machine; each doing their job to keep the society functional and surviving as a whole. Functionalism sees people very much like a structure than individuals. Functionalism looks at society from a bird’s eye view, rather than look at the individuals within it.

Anything socially constructed are things which have been created in order for society to exist, such as money, newspapers and public transport.

Functionalism says that the parts of society are interdependent and all work together and that society is designed so that children take over the jobs that adults do which is why we have mandatory education, and have the pressure to make a living.

Another aspect of functionalism is that we all have a social order which determines where we are in the pyramid. The unskilled and skilled manual workers are at the bottom of the pyramid, making them the most common and least powerful group. Functionalism states that there is a distinct correlation between the status of someone, and the level of education they’ve achieved.

This means that the whole of society will differ once a part of it changes, and that society will have to accommodate for this change in order to keep up and behave successfully.

If society cannot keep up with the changes within it, the result will be chaos.
Functionalism is there to keep society into order by keeping everyone in their positions. Social institutions such as school do this well, it’s mandatory that all children go, and it gives some children reasonable qualifications which will predetermine the direction they will go in society.

Functionalism gives people social status, which is a position or place in a social structure. Lawyers have a higher social status than a cleaner.

Functionalism also gives people a social role, which is the behaviour expected of the person to carry out. A dentist has a more important social role than a secretary as a dentist knows specialist knowledge not everyone knows and has the ability to help people in more important ways than a secretary. A secretary also can easily be replaced, or have their job taken over by someone who has no training; so the pressure put on them by society to carry out their social role is not so much as the dentist. If both workers chose to skive work for a day, the dentist would get more slack from society. This highlights how the roles and functions of a society are interdependent and how functionalism is doing its job.

Functionalism has been criticized by others by giving the impression that people are born with predetermined roles and have no social mobility. They argue how functionalism attempts to make sense of the world so systematically when people ultimately choose which job they want.

Interactionists look at how people interact with each other; they study interactions and is short for Symbolic Interactionism.

Functionalism looks as society as a whole, whereas interactionism attempts to look at society at a smaller scale. Interactionists study how people behave in micro scale situations, For example, they would not study what education for society as a whole, they would instead study a class and how the pupils and teachers interact with each other. This makes interactionism a complex thing to study.

Interactionists study the way they react to social situations.

Interactionists call individuals social actors or pragmatic actors who continually must adjust their behaviour to the actions of other actors. For this reason, they focus on the aspects, not the objective of a person’s life, unlike functionalism. Because people change depending on the external forces around them.

Interaction Ritual written by Erving Goffman covers Line, Face, Emotion, Commitment, Maintaining Face, Institutional, Wrong Face, Poise, Social Face, Considerateness, Rules, Face-Work, Tact, Self, Social Self and Encounters and Ritual Order.

Ethnomethodology is an aspect of interactionism.

Ethnomethodology studies people’s perspective and understanding of the world. One aspect of that is The Documentary Method. It’s a way people go about applying logic and reasoning to the world in situations. A good example is situations where nothing is making sense, such as when Derren Brown thought it was a good idea to trap people in superstitious thinking by telling them to get a certain number of points to get money. Derren, who was in the back room, got the points to go up randomly by one every time a goldfish passed a marker. The people were too busy moving objects around the room in a desperate attempt to get points than to realise that the points went up by their own accord than because of what they were doing. In fact, nobody knew what they did correctly to get the points; they just tried different things with the various objects around the room.

Phenomenology is the study of how a person perceives things themselves. It studies how people look upon the world, not what people see, but instead why they think what they feel to know or feel. Daniel Dennett has criticized phenomenology because it cannot be studied on the scientific third person approach.

Interactionists also study the construction of situations, which children do well as they can make anything out of the littlest things such as a cardboard box or a toy gun. They are also interested in how people organise themselves into groups according to what levels themselves or others consider themselves to be at.

They also study symbols which we use to communicate with, change, adjustment, becoming, how people adjust to the world to the essential features of social interaction, how people develop. How people interact with each other. They study things which are empirical, meaning based on theory not scientific fact.

What is Marxism?

Marxism is a word summing up the views of Karl Marx who hates capitalism who is also a Nazi. To know what Marxism is, we must first know what capitalism is.

Capitalism is a society where we have a private sector out to earn profit by having products are made and sold and run by the general public, not the government and because of this, companies rival for each others market share. People are free to sell what to produce and sell, where to sell it, and what price to sell it for.

Marxism is a form of democracy which aims to create an idealistic economic system by getting everyone on an equal playing field by removing the barriers which stop ordinary people to move to the middle class. Marxism will create no social mobility and will remove people’s freedom.

Karl Marx wrote a book in 1848 The Communist Manifesto, in collaboration with his life-long friend and financial supporter Friedrich Engels in the midst of the first Red Revolution, more commonly known as the October Revolution or the Soviet Revolution is strongly assumed to be caused by the Communist Manifesto.

Marxists are negative about the society we live in and believe that society is based on conflict between the ruling class who employ people, and the working class. The bourgeoisie and the proletariat. They want to change the society in capitalised societies such as Britain where people’s goal is to make as much money as possible. They believe that the working class more say in how the country is run.

Marx and Engles believe that the working and middle class (the proletariats) should revolt and overthrow the upper-class (bourgeois) from power because all the proletariats have left to loose is the shirts on there back and nothing else. They believe that the government should be run by the proletariats for the proletariats giving everyone an equal pay and equal chance at jobs, schools.

To get rid of this inequality, all businesses would have to be nationalised, and people’s pay would be reduced. Then comes the problem that there is no motive to earn get the highest jobs as simpler jobs pay just about the same money.

Many countries took on his views in an attempt to improve the world a revolution started in 1848; and repression happened in 1849 as the government was the ultimate leader As a result, Karl Marx fled Germany to escape from angry mobs. Marxism caused the death of Fredrich Engles.

Marxists believe that there eventually will be a revolution once workers realise that they are being exploited. They’ll say enough is enough and remove the ruling class and get rid of capitalism which they say is monopolising. There will be no classes, no private property and everyone will be equal.

They say that ideology is a way of tricking people into believing that they’re not being exploited by telling us that we must get married, have children, work for what we’ve got and buy the latest fashion. That all these things distract us from the real problem.

What is New Right?

New Right is the opposite of New Left. Which unlike New Right, is based on communism instead of capitalism.

It is a set of ideas which has influenced the Conservative party in recent years. The New Right are pessimistic about modern society and want to return to the ‘golden age’ which emphasises traditional values.

The ideas which New Right portrays were developed in the early eighties and covers elements of society such as family, education, crime, and deviance. It’s about moving the capitalist society forward by raising standards, improving the economy, and giving people more social value, the only way a capitalist society knows how.

The theories of New Right state that a capitalist society gives people more freedom and choice on countless things. Things such as how individuals spend their money, earn their money, what services they want, and how much they pay for it. It says that in a communist society, those freedoms virtually don’t exist.

The New Right bases its theories on the idea that capitalist society encourages choice as to how individuals spend their money, earn their money and what services they want to pay for. Therefore New Right sociologists believe that excessive state intervention, such as the welfare state should be avoided as this interferes with the workings of the economy. They believe that the free market and competition is the best way of creating efficiency and savings in the business world and public services.

Political parties which were influenced from the ideas covered by New Right include Labour and Conservatives.

The New Right is in letting people choose their schools, look at the league tables, as this fuels competition. They believe that this will raise the standards of education.

The New Right maintain that ill health amongst the working class and the underclass is due to their unhealthy lifestyles. e.g. smoking, poor diet and lack of exercise.
The New Right are in favour of creating internal markets in the NHS to drive up standards of health care, e.g. league tables and foundation hospitals. Over generous welfare provision is believed to create a culture of dependency amongst the underclass who then often turn to crime to supplement their welfare benefits. inadequate social control e.g. lack of crime prevention, police officers on the street and ‘soft sentencing’ is believed to be a key reason for the growth in crime.

The New Right tend to be against the welfare state as they believe that it encourages individuals to be dependent on benefits. The Culture of Dependency Theory assumes that the poor need to take responsibility for their situation as dependency creates more poverty and unemployment.

What is Postmodernity?

Pre and Post are both prefixes. Postmodernity means after modernity. Do not confuse modernity with modernism. Postmodernism relates a change to arts such as art, architecture, music, literature and applied arts in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. Whereas Postmodernity relates to a change in society.

Postmodernism relates to the massive changes in society which happened in the early 20th century. The word got coined when sociologists wanted to make sense of the bewildering changes which were sweeping the nation to an irreversible state.
Postmodernity are terms that historians, philosophers, social scientists, and social critics use to refer to the social changes in the early 19th century onwards associated with industrialisation and urbanisation.

The root of how postmodernity started can be traced back to the Industrial Revolution which started in Britain, in the late 18th and early 19th century. Note that Postmodernity didn’t begin when the Industrial Revolution started.

Postmodernism has given us regular people a lot more freedom and power than before which isn’t all to do with having a centralised government where the government takes responsibility for its citizen’s welfare and the economy.

Industrialization has moved on since the Industrial Revolution. Economic relationships are capitalist. Factories produce goods. Bosses own factories. Social class gives people a different social class. Places have become urbanised as people populate the most resourceful and popular areas. Even in modernity, people flocked to places with water supplies such as London.

Science has gone a long way making us believe in the things which are fictional which means we no longer believe in witchcraft. Concrete facts such as The Big Bang, has made us question religion.

We have more freedom in where we work and won’t have a job for life, typically a factory job. We have a broad, rich and diverse scope of media. As a result of this we encounter a countless amount of memes all the time, such as advertising, charities pledging for donations and brand names. This media is very effective and substantial for influencing our opinions and choices. Partly because of this, can mix and match different aspects of culture and use it to break away from our nine to five.

As forms of communication have helped to shrink the world or make the world smaller, we now have globalisation. We now have access to a diverse range of knowledge. Reading one newspaper is more words than a Victorian boy would have read in their life, seeing as the printing press wasn’t so established yet.

Postmodernism has also given us a more flexible identity. We can change the things we buy, go on holiday, get plastic surgery, and get coaches, counselling and other such things.


Sources for Collectivism
William A. Donohue, (1998). Sociological Perspectives. The New Freedom (10-12). Transaction Publishers.

Sources for Feminism “Feminism,” Microsoft® Encarta® Online Encyclopaedia 2008 © 1997-2008 Microsoft Corporation. All Rights Reserved.
Women’s rights. (2008, October 28). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopaedia. Retrieved 12:13, November 6, 2008, from
Women’s suffrage in the United Kingdom. (2008, November 1). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopaedia. Retrieved 12:19, November 6, 2008, from

Sources for Functionalism “Functionalism (social sciences),” Microsoft® Encarta® Online Encyclopaedia 2008 © 1997-2008 Microsoft Corporation. All Rights Reserved.
“Culture,” Microsoft® Encarta® Online Encyclopaedia 2008 © 1997-2008 Microsoft Corporation. All Rights Reserved.
Derek Jones, Sheena E. E. Blair, Terry Hartery, R. Kenneth Jones, (1998). Sociological Perspectives. Sociology and Occupational Therapy (10-12). Elsevier Health Science.

Sources for Interactionism
Peter Woods, PW. (1983). Sociology and the School. Routledge.
Phenomenology (philosophy). (2008, October 17). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopaedia. Retrieved 12:48, November 6, 2008, from Interactionism. (2008, October 29). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopaedia. Retrieved 12:49, November 6, 2008, from
Social order. (2008, October 20). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopaedia. Retrieved 12:49, November 6, 2008, from Ethnomethodology Ethnomethodology. (2008, October 15). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopaedia. Retrieved 22:33, November 6, 2008, from

Sources for Marxism
October Revolution. (2008, November 4). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopaedia. Retrieved 12:50, November 6, 2008, from

Sources for Postmodernity Modernity. (2008, November 1). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopaedia. Retrieved 12:51, November 6, 2008, from
Stephen Moore, SM., Dave Aiken, DA., & Steve Chapman, SC. (2005). Sociology AS for AQA. London: Collins. Sources for New Right New Right. (2008, October 29). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopaedia. Retrieved 12:50, November 6, 2008, from