Assess the usefulness of microsociology to our understanding of society
There are two main approaches to the study of society, which are mirco and marco
The mirco approach is a small scale where individual behaviour shapes society this is a bottom up approach. The main sociological perspective is social action theory which is associated with a sociologist called Weber. Many agree this is a useful approach to the study of society, however it has been heavily criticised by structuralist’s who take a marco approach and believe society shapes individuals.
Microsociology was founded by WEBER who believed that individuals shape society and all have free will and are not determined by pre-existing social structures in society. His views led to the introduction of interactionism. He believed that we should avoid generalising the population as we are not constrained by general law. Instead it is the individuals who shape the society we live in.
Weber identified 4 ideal types to understand human behaviour which are traditional, affective, rational value and rational goal. A traditional action is when an individual does something because it is what they believe they should do, they have been brought up that way or it’s a tradition. Such as buying someone presents for Christmas or a birthday. Affective action is when an individual does something because of emotions, such as crying at a funeral. Rational value is when you do something because it seems rational to you personally, such as eating an hour before gym because you feel that it is right. Rational goal is when an individual does something to achieve a goal such as dressing smartly for an interview. These all have no influences from the big structures in society, they are personal. Weber stated the ideal types can be applied not only to individual actions but also to wider groups. He used these to examine human behaviour and found not all were due to structures, but all people have individual and different...