Sociological perspective is learning how to ‘see’ – seeing the strange in the familiar, identifying, respecting, learning from and questioning both our own and others’ values and belief systems. It deals with the development of people and societies. Sociological views focuses on the examination of how people are influenced by the world around them. Essentially, it seeks to answer the question of why we are the way we are. Sociological perspective is the broadest, most basic aspect of sociology. It’s been called the “heart of sociology”. Sociological perspectives offer a distinctive view of society.
These perspectives help us understand human life. They also help us build knowledge and give us insight into social life. Sociological perspectives permit us to look at common subjects in various and unique ways, as if we were looking at them from a different standpoint. The sociological perspective requires a person to detach himself from what he has always known to be correct and theorize a different way of operating and perhaps a more effective way to live. Bernard McGrane suggests “we adopt a ‘beginner’s mind’ and that we should see everything from fresh eyes while making no assumptions about how things are supposed to be” (19).
While using a sociological perspective, many advantages can result. A person sees an occurrence with impartiality in a sociological way. This may involve the vital evaluation of certain things while still accepting what the reality is even if it is not very agreeable. This perspective helps us in thinking about several experiences critically with respect to sociology. As a result, many questions often arise, which enhances an individual’s knowledge. Another advantage of this perspective is that by practicing it, a person is able to observe the different ways in which people behave.
The observer can understand a particular person’s behavior with respect to his or her surroundings and their experiences in life. These actions assist in creating different relationships between behavior and other variables. Once these relationships are established, it is easier to study how they develop over a period of time and how they are influenced by other factors as the time progresses. Using the sociological perspective in our everyday lives, one can study the behavior patterns of poor and homeless people or the behavior of people with a classy type of upbringing.
Criminology, why people commit crimes, is a core facet of sociology. The sociological perspective, when it comes to crime, seems to be far from the current American policy of dealing with criminals. Sociological research suggests that crime, like all other decisions, is not something that someone simply chooses to do. When we examine the data, we see a strong correlation between crime and factors like poverty, low levels of education, and deviant activity by family and peers. We may think of marriage as the simple product of personal feelings.
Yet, the sociological perspective shows us that patterns involving our sex, age, race and social class guide our selections of partners throughout our lives. Consider the decision by women to bear children. Like the selection of a mate, the choice of how many children to have would seem to be a personal one. Yet, there are social patterns here as well. The average woman in the United States and Canada has slightly fewer than two children during her lifetime. In other countries however, the choice could be anywhere from three to seven children.
What accounts for these striking differences is women in poor countries have less funding and fewer economic opportunities, they are more likely to remain in the home, and are less likely to use contraception. Clearly, society has much to do with the decisions women and men make about childbearing and mate selection. That’s why the sociological perspective exists: to eliminate the tinted shades of nationality, race, religion, or gender. It exists to give credibility to the sociological science so that anyone can look at data and realize that it is fact and not fiction.
The sociological perspective helps us see the opportunities and constraints in our lives. Sociological thinking leads us to see that, in the game of life, we may have a say in how to play our cards, but it is society that deals us the hand. The more we understand the game, the better players we learn to be. Sociology helps us size up the world around us so that we can more effectively pursue our goals. The sociological perspective empowers us to be active participants in our society. The better we understand how society operates, the more effective citizens we become.
Personally, I think that the sociological perspective weakens the general population’s idea of self identity when they’re not allowed to determine for themselves what they in fact want to do with their lives. The less amount of influence you have, the more the individual has to determine what’s the best path for their lives and the most efficient and self sufficient course they must take. If we apply the sociological perspective to our daily lives, we are likely to feel that we are simply following a blueprint for a society in which only the people who idealized it will appreciate.