Sociology is the general study of the society. It is a term which is seen as synonymous for it uses several methods of empherical investigation and critical analysis to come up with refine body of knowledge concerning human social activities, with the aim of applying such knowledge for the attainment of social welfare. Subject matter concerning sociology ranges from micro level of agency and interaction to macro level of social structure and systems.Interms of topics and methods, sociology has expanded its focus to subjects such as military, health and partial institution, internet and also role of the social activity in scientific knowledge developments from individual agency and social structure.Zukin,1999;54
Functionalism-it is a wide perspective in anthropology and sociology which aims to interpret society as a structure with parts that are interrelated. It addresses society as a whole from the perspective of its significance to its elements, which are, customs, traditions, norms, institutional and tradition. Simply functionalism emphasizes the effort to impute as rigorously as possible. It stresses the urge for cohesion. Jameson, 1984:8. Functionalism shares origin with the empherical styles or methods.. Functionalism thought looks particularly towards the study of science providing the closest and most compatible model of social science.
Functionalism emphasizes a pre-eminence of the social world over the individual parts. This perspective views society in a positive way an d see it as a stable with all parts working together .Every social aspect contributes to the society survival under these view. Under the functionalist and if the aspect does not contribute positively, it is not passed to the next generation.Duirkheins contribution to the functionalism perspective was during her study on religion and how it was responsible for people feeling united and solidarity in groups. Functionalism studies society from a macro sociological point of view .People are socially molded to perform societal functions but are not forced .When member of the society cooperated with one another order in the society was maintained.Brudrilland,2000;76
Marxism is sociological approaches that argue social behavior is well understood in terms of tensions or conflicts between different groups. (Schaefer & Lamm, 1998). In contrast to the functionalist view of stability, conflict sociologist views society as being in constant struggle. The idea of conflict can refer to a disagreement that work out through a mediator and is not violent Zukin, 1999.
Two main contributors in the development of the conflict perspective are Karl Marx and W. E. B. Du Bois. Karl Marx explains that conflicts between classes of society can not be avoided for workers will ever be exploited because of capitalism. It is through the expansion of Marx's work that sociologist now apply conflict theory to all aspects of society. t
It also, unlike functionalist, studies society on the micro sociological point of view. Individuals are thought as being shaped by authority and power. Order in the society is maintained through cooperation And social change, is constantly taking place and not predictable.
Interactionism perspective refer sociological approaches that aims to generalise about fundamentals or everyday form of social interaction .It focuses on the way I which small groups act, in an effort to understand society as a whole. It studies people in their everyday behavior and how such people react to the surroundings; whereby the surrounding may include actions material things, other people and symbols. Its view is that we influence each other in everyday’s social interaction. In contrast to functionalism and Marxism, it studies society from a micro sociological level. According to interactionism, individual create their own world socially. Zymunt, 1991; 23
Postmodernism is the consideration that all apparent realities are social constructs. It approaches society from a micro and macro level. It puts emphasis on the role of language, motivation and power relations. It has influenced many cultural fields, industry, sociology, linguistic social, visual arts, architecture and music.Brundilland, 2000; 9. It is a theory that is forcing social theorist to rethink some of their most basic theory of default unlike the tree other perspectives.
The similarity between functionalisms, Marxism interactionism to post modernism is that the four focus on social groups and classes as well as the balance of power and mutual dependence of conversion. The four perspectives focuses on human nature and social structure and uses level in their study of the society which is either micro or macro or both levels for perspectives such as postmodernism.
The difference between the three to postmodernism is that, the latter theory is highly complex, has technical terms as well as contradictory entity. Postmodernism approaches society from two levels unlike the three other perspectives which uses a single approach or level.
Historical roots of these perspectives
Functionalism-this approach is implicit to in the thought of original sociological positivist, Augusto Comte, who emphasized the need for cohesion, it was later presented in Emile Durkheim work that then came up with a full developed theory. Functionalism shares history to affinity theory, with the emherical method. From Comte onwards functionalism looked down on biology.Zymunt, 1991;98
Marxism-Primary origin of these perspective is Karl Max He lived in the early periods of industrialization when most people in the society were poor .such background resulted to its contribution to the conflict perspective. He regards society as continuously changing in response to conflict.
Interactionism-This perspective is derived from America fragmentation mainly from the work of George Herbert Mead and Charles Cooley. Herbest Blummer, interpreter and student of Mead coined the word interactions and developed an influential summary of the perspective, that people are attached towards things that have significance in their life. Blummer was also influenced be John Dewey.Jameson, 1984; 33
Postmodernism was a word used in 1870s in various areas, for instance, John Watkins Chapman avowed ‘a postmodern style of painting’. In 1914, J.M.Thompson used the word to describe changes in belief and an attitude in the critique of religion. The term was used to describe philosophically oriented culture by Rudolf. In 1917 his idea of postmodernism rose from Nietzsche’s analysis of modernity and its final result of decadence. The term was used later in 1926 by Bell in his essays of postmodernism. In 1942 H.R.Hays used it for a new interlay form .In 1949 the term was used to show dissatisfaction with modern architecture movement. The term was then used to a whole host of movements, then the postmodernism perspective came into being.
The four main social perspectives have helped a greater deal in the development of the subject sociology making it simplified for study. The tries and integrate the purpose of cooperation in the society and plays a significant role in the welfare of the society. Though their approached may be different, the main aim or goal is similar to each other. The far the study of the subject has reached presently is as a result of the four perspectives.
Zukin, S.Postmodern Debate over Urban Form, Theory, Culture.
Jameson, F.1984.The postmodern condition, Manchester University Press.
Baudrilland, J.Simulation, Newyork: Telos press.
Zymunt, B.1991 .A sociological Theory of Postmodernist.