How is getting dressed in the morning a social activity? Three Theoretical Paradigms • Structural Functionalism – Society is viewed as composed of various parts, each with a function that, when fulfilled, contributes to society’s equilibrium • Conflict Theory – Society is viewed as composed of groups that are competing for resources • Symbolic Interactionism – Society is viewed as composed of symbols that people use to establish meaning, develop their views of the world, and communicate with one another Harold Garfinkel Talcott Parsons “Parsonian Functionalism” • Major theoretical perspective in mid-20th century – Attempts to explain how societies maintain stability and order • Focuses on roles of social institutions, and how they maintain social stability • People have internalized rules and norms, that’s why we see orderly behavior • If behaviors exist, they are there because they serve a function maintaining order “Top-Down” When a scientist looks through a “top-down” lens, she sees: Objective, pre-existing social forces (such as norms) Cause/produce An orderly society Any sociological theory used to explain social phenomena is a top-down approach to sociology. Harold Garfinkel had some problems with top-down approaches. Garfinkel Said: • Functionalism assumes that only people with the correct theoretical lenses can make sense of society • Ordinary people do see the world as orderly; as a sensical place • Functionalists like Parsons were ignoring all the work that ordinary people do every day to make sense of the world Garfinkel Said: • Everyone has procedures they use to make sense of the world, and • PEOPLE ACHIEVE THE ORDER OF THE SOCIAL WORLD! This is a “bottom-up” approach to sociology. When a scientist looks through a “top-down” lens, she sees: Objective, pre-existing social forces (such as norms) Cause/produce An orderly society The appearance of an orderly society (and the very reality/objectivity of the social world) Produce/achieve People’s sense-making activities and procedures THE WORK IS THE ORDER! So while top-down sociological approaches ask: Why is the social world the way it is? What are the social forces at work? The bottom-up sociological approach asks: How do we achieve a social world that seems objective and pre-existing? These are fundamentally different questions, seeking different answers. Both, top-down and bottom-up, are valid and useful approaches to sociology. WE DO Ethnomethodology • Ethno = members • Methodology = methods • Members’ methods for achieving social order “Knowledge kept private is powerless, and experience unshared is nothing." -- Amelia Hill Story Time! Here’s another example: Gender • In a top-down approach, a sociologist might ask: “Why don’t males cry as often as females?” Gender roles (males are taught not to show emotions) Affect Behavior (males don’t cry as often as females) Gender • In a bottom-up approach, an ethnomethodologist might ask: How is the reality of gendered behavior produced? The reality of “gendered behavior” Produce/achieve People’s sense-making activities/procedures (what we do) ¿Preguntas?