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An application of sociological theories of ethnomethodology and structural functionalism to my grand


Many believe the high point for sociology and sociological theory in the U. This was due to a number of factors, probably the most important being the vast expansion of the higher education system following World War II. Furthermore, the social programs and policies of the 1950s and 1960s made for an increased demand on the part of government officials for better social scientific knowledge. In short, college enrollments and funding for the social sciences were at all time highs.

And still others, like Herbert Blumer and Erving Goffman, drew upon classic American pragmatist thought as well as the social psychology of Mead to develop a sociology that focused on the intricate meanings and presentations of self we encounter in everyday interaction.

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In this larger social environment, American sociology flourished, but not without a good deal of conflict. Wright Mills, who criticized Parsonian theory for its lack of a critical perspective.

Talcott Parsons Talcott Parsons 1902—1979 was without question the most eminent American sociological theorist of the 1940s and 1950s. Parsonian theory began to wane in the 1960s, however, as more interactionist and critical Marxist theories of social life began to gain prominence.

For Blumer, human beings acted largely in response to the meanings that things have for them and these meanings, in turn, arise from interactions with others. In contrast to structurally and system-minded theorists like Parsons, Blumer viewed society as a fluid process that is under constant construction and negotiation.

Contemporary Sociological Theory and Its Classical Roots: The Basics

In it, Berger and Luckmann combine insights from phenomenological, Durkheimian, Marxist, and symbolic interactionist approaches to develop a groundbreaking theory of how the objective reality of the social world comes into existence. Berger and Luckmann both remain prominent social theorists, particularly in the study of modern religion.

Harold Garfinkel Harold Garfinkel 1917—2011 was the founder and principle developer of the theoretical perspective known as ethnomethodology. Garfinkel understood ethnomethodology as a distinct approach to sociological inquiry, one that painstakingly analyzes and describes the various methods by which members of a social group maintain the orderliness and sensibility of their everyday worlds.

Unlike approaches that took the objectivity of social facts as given, Garfinkel took it as his job to understand how this seemingly objective reality was constantly being produced, managed, and negotiated in the everyday activities and routines of ordinary people.

Influenced by the work of Mead and symbolic interactionists such as Blumer, Goffman studied the everyday management of identity as one would study a play or theatrical drama. Wright Mills 1916—1962 was perhaps the most vocal and powerful critic of the structural—functionalist approach to sociology that was dominant in the mid-twentieth century.

Mills was a critical sociologist in the vein of Marx and the Frankfurt School, and felt that American sociological theory in the 1940s and 1950s was inherently conservative and uncritical in its orientation. Associated Writing out Loud: