The Four Basic Sociological Concepts – PowerPoint Presentation

The Four Basic Sociological ConceptsPurdue University GlobalSS144 Sociology

Sociological Perspective


Sociological Perspective is the understanding human behavior by placing it within its broader social context.(Henslin, 2019 p.3 pp.4)The sociological perspective stresses the social contexts in which people live. It examines how these contexts influence people’s lives.(Henslin, 2019 p.3 pp.4)At the center of the sociological perspective is the question of how groups influence people, especially how people are influenced by their society—a group of people who share a culture and a territory.(Henslin, 2019 p.3 pp.4)

Symbolic Interactionism


Symbolic interactionism is a theoretical perspective that focuses on how people develop and use symbols to establish meaning, develop their views of the world, and communicate with one another. (Henslin, 2019 p.24)The central idea of symbolic interactionism is that symbols—things to which we attach meaning—are the key to understanding how we view the world and communicate with one another. (Henslin, 2019 p.24)Without symbols, our social life would be no more sophisticated than that of animals. (Henslin, 2019 p.24)Symbolic interactionists analyze how social life depends on the ways we define ourselves and others. They study face-to-face interaction, examining how people make sense out of life and their place in it. (Henslin, 2019 p.24)

Functional Analysis


Functional Analysis is a theoretical framework in which society is viewed as composed of various parts, each with a function that, when fulfilled, contributes to society’s equilibrium; also known as functionalism and structural functionalism. (Henslin, 2019 p.26)The central idea of functional analysis is that society is a whole unit, made up of interrelated parts that work together. (Henslin, 2019 p.26)Functional analysis (also known as functionalism and structural functionalism) is rooted in the origins of sociology. (Henslin, 2019 p.26)If society is to function smoothly, its parts must work together in harmony. (Henslin, 2019 p.26)

Conflict Theory


Conflict theory is a theoretical framework in which society is viewed as composed of groups that are competing for scarce resourcesConflict theory provides a third perspective on social life. (Henslin, 2019 p.27) Unlike the functionalists, who view society as a harmonious whole with its parts working together, conflict theorists stress that society is composed of groups that compete with one another for scarce resources(Henslin, 2019 p.27)If you look at the surface, you might see cooperation, but scratch that surface and you will find a struggle for power. (Henslin, 2019 p.27)


Henslin, J. M. (2019). Sociology, 14th Edition. [Purdue University Global Bookshelf]. Retrieved from