Sociological Theory

  1. It can be argued that the allocation of theorists to such categories as Rational Choice or Exchange Theory, Consensus or Structural Functional Theory, Conflict Theory, or Symbolic Interaction, Dramaturgical Theory, Existential Theory is arbitrary. That is, the theorists could be placed in any or all of those theory groups. Select one theorist identified by your text or in lectures as a rational choice or exchange theorist, one identified as a consensus or functionalist theorist,
    one conflict theorist, and one identified as a social definitionist theorist and suggest how they might be similar in their assumptions about social life and how they might be different in such assumptions.
  2. Rational choice and exchange theories posit that individuals engage in exchanges with the intent of making a profit in the exchange (or at least attaining distributive justice and a fair exchange). Citing ideas by Blau, Homans, Emerson, or other exchange theorists explain how exchange theory can account for altruism, sacrifice, and even the “norm of reciprocity.”
  3. How did anthropological research affect the development and assumptions of functional theory and the Durkheimian tradition? Furthermore, can there be a functional theory of conflict? Explain your answer. (Note: This is a two-part question.)
  4. The concept of “the self” and its linkage to “society” is of great importance to many “micro-interactionist” theorists. First, distinguish among symbolic interactionism, phenomenology or existential sociology, and dramaturgical sociology. Then, explain how the self and society are “constructed” according to the theories of Cooley, Mead, Blumer, Husserl, Schutz, Goffman, and Garfinkel. (Note: this is a two-part question).

Sample Solution