Usefulness of sociological theories to social workers Essay
‘A sociological position enables societal workers to step back from taken for given premises about societal life and encourages them to critically take out these premises, to develop accomplishments which enable them to associate issues in their ain lives ( and in the lives of service users ) to the ‘bigger image ‘ ( Cunningham & A ; Cunningham, 2008:7 ) .
With mention to this statement, sketch how sociological theories and constructs may be utile to societal workers?
Human society consists of many complex and complecting systems. Persons, through the procedure of socialisation, learn the regulations and norms of society and follow a manner of life through cultural and environmental factors which instil perceptual experience and behavior ( Cunningham & A ; Cunningham, 2008 ) . Culture varies among different societies and is frequently unconsciously taken for granted but its impact determines the acquisition procedure, behavior, ideas, feelings and values based on preexistent built-in guidelines ( Haralambos, 2000 ) . Sociologists purpose to explicate how a individual ‘s life can be shaped by establishments and other societal influences. Sociology was described by Charles Wright Mills as “ the survey of public issues that derive from the private problems of people ” ( Brewer, 2004 ) . Cardinal theories emerged from changing positions most preponderantly structural: consensus or struggle and bureau: societal action/interpretation. Structural theories focus on the establishments and constructions which emerged from the procedure of industrialization whereas bureau theory is based on single interaction to the societal universe.
Traditional consensus theory of functionalism, derives from its chief figure Emile Durkheim ( 1858-1917 ) , sing society as a system of complecting parts and establishments working together to accomplish stableness and solidarity ( Cree, 2000 ) . Social order and control are maintained through shared values and corporate ways of believing ensuing in common understanding and societal harmoniousness. Talcott Parsons ( 1902-1979 ) believed, like Durkheim, that socialisation through establishments such as the household develops the normative model of societal and cultural beliefs which ensures societal stableness ( Cree, 2000 ) . Inequality is deemed inevitable in society and necessary to keep equilibrium as through societal stratification persons strive, executing different functions harmonizing to their ability enabling an effectual society ( Llewellyn, 2008 ) . The influence of chief establishments and societal functions allow regulated and predictable behavior guaranting societal order ( Haralambos, 2000 ) . Critics of this attack, peculiarly conflict position arising from Karl Marx ( 1818-1883 ) which besides examines the constructions in society, but point out that functionalists merely see the consensus in society and challenge the thought of shared ethical motives and values in society reasoning these are defined by those with power and people are expected to conform consequently. Marxists claim society is divided by the category system of middle class and labor, which, following industrial capitalist economy resulted in societal development and disaffection of the labor, making inequality and battle ( Llewellyn, 2008 ) . Those with the agencies of ownership and production are able to entree all parts of society whereas those without are restricted, holding less chance for promotion together with fluctuations in life anticipation, wellness and instruction. Marxism emphasises how societal constructions and establishments produce divisions of power making domination and control over others. Unequal power is deemed responsible for disadvantage and fewer life opportunities for some members of society ( Giddens, 2001 ) . Individual jobs are blamed on societal establishments and category position, unlike Functionalists who believe people can be educated to suit in with the mechanics of society ( Cunningham & A ; Cunningham, 2008 ) .
Feminist position of society is similar to Marxist ; society is divided through development, but highlight the division is gendered ; adult females are dominated and controlled by work forces. Institutions are patriarchal, powered and ruled by work forces which oppresses all countries of a adult female ‘s life: household, economic, professional ( Haralambos, 2000 ) .
Whereas the aforesaid positions emphasise constructions in society, bureau positions centre on how an person is free to move upon the environment, hence society is non entirely responsible for single picks ( Cunningham & A ; Cunningham, 2008 ) . Social action positions, derived from the thought of Max Weber ( 1864-1920 ) , concentrate on single picks within the societal scene. Symbolic interactionism bases theory on members of societal constructions and how linguistic communication, significance and symbols are interpreted and understood, which in bend influences interaction and behavior within society ( Giddens, 2001 ) . G H Mead ( 1934 ) claimed “ persons give significance to the universe by specifying and construing it in certain ways ” these significances are invariably altering throughout the life-course ( Cree, 2000:14 ) . Mead believed even unwilled communicating and information received from others allows an person to go self cognizant, more able to develop and polish their societal individuality, therefore able to accommodate in different societal state of affairss. Cooley ( 1902 ) antecedently described this in his description of the ‘looking glass ego ‘ , invariably developing in conformity with the perceptual experience received from others, the societal ego is invariably being refined ( Cunningham & A ; Cunningham, 2008 ) . Contemplation on reaction of others allows development of ego construct which in bend influences action, people act in footings of their definition of ego ( Haralombos, 2000 ) . The focal point of societal action attacks is based at micro degree: single brushs, instead than macro degree, which critics argue overlooks the bigger image including the larger issues of power which underpins subjugation and inequality ( Jones, 2003 ) .
There are multiple positions on the societal universe, more recent developments such as postmodernism theory high spots how society has moved on and advanced therefore traditional cosmopolitan theory is no longer relevant in a diverse and cultured society. However uniting penetrations and different facets from the changing positions develops what is termed a ‘sociological imaginativeness ‘ which, as Giddens ( 1984 ) identified, holding an informed attack is necessary to let an apprehension of how both micro and macro factors impact single lives and behavior ( Cunningham & A ; Cunningham, 2008 ) . Recognizing how societal scenes and establishments influence human action together with self perceptual experience built on the reaction from interaction with others, helps to supply accounts and grounds as to why people behave otherwise ( Jones, 2003 ) . C Wright Mills believed the sociological imaginativeness allows understanding of how personal problems are derived from public issues, holding a broader mentality of the societal universe provides enlightenment of point of views other than our ain and heightened consciousness of how others live and the jobs encountered ( Giddens, 2001 ) .
Developing a ‘sociological imaginativeness ‘ is indispensable for those in the societal work profession to comprehend jobs of vulnerable groups and persons. Issues of disadvantage and inequality are at the Centre of pattern with service users being of the most destitute people in society faced with issues of poorness, unemployment, sick wellness, offense and societal exclusion therefore consciousness of how societal procedures can take to marginalization and isolation is critical to develop empathy and understanding ( Cunningham & A ; Cunningham, 2008 ) . Social work purposes to authorise others therefore it is of import to recognize that personal jobs may non be self made but due to societal patterns and act uponing constructions, to measure strengths and failings of persons the wider context of ecological, environmental and societal factors must be considered due to the impact they have ( Cree, 2000 ) . Berger ( 1963 ) claimed that in order to see the universe differently it is necessary to deconstruct the familiar taken for given premises leting a more comprehensive position which for societal workers better equips understanding of the lives of others when intercession is required ( Cunningham & A ; Cunningham, 2008 ) .
Another of import facet to see for the societal work profession is the issue of power and how it can perpetuate societal jobs. Social workers hold powerful functions both lawfully and working as agents of establishments, as theory suggests power in itself underpins inequality, being witting of this enables an anti-oppressive attack to pattern which is important. Social work pattern demands to be based on an authorising attack instead than command therefore practicians must hold a clear apprehension of the kineticss of power and its ability to exert control over others ( Smith, 2010 ) . Those with places of power are besides capable of delegating labels through preexistent stereotyped positions which can ensue in marginalization of persons who may internalize these attached labels through societal procedures and reading and act harmonizing to the perceived function ( Cunningham & A ; Cunningham, 2008 ) . Theory is indispensable for practicians when explicating schemes for service users as societal work intervenes at the points people interact with society therefore unless the implicit in grounds for disadvantage, inequality, favoritism and subjugation are known, appropriate and effectual intercession is non possible ( Thompson, 2006 ) .