Take the Sociology Style Assessment Tool below.
This assessment will help you learn about how your views and assumptions of how society works fits with the theories of leading sociologists. There are three main sociological traditions of thought, and central tensions between them. You will discover which tradition you predominantly align with, which tradition you partially align with, and which tradition you least align with.
Society is built of SYMBOLS.
Those high in the symbols theme recognize that society is built upon the shared meanings, norms, and values that we make among ourselves. All aspects of our social world were built from human interaction, and did not necessarily have to evolve in the way that they did. Thus, any social institution can also be reformed if we can change the meanings and values placed on it by communities of people.
On the two following tensions, the symbolic tradition tends toward:
Social Change: Do societies change more from ideas or material resources?
Social Knowledge: Do we learn more about society by interpreting local social meanings or searching for universal social laws?
Society is built of STRUGGLES.
Those high in the struggles theme recognize that conflict is inherent in society. With this lens, injustice and inequality are readily recognizable, and as a sociologist you would work to alleviate these injustices. While injustices can be based on a variety of dividing lines (racial, gender, class, religious, political, etc.) the goal is a more fair society.
Social Stability: Do societies default more towards conflict or solidarity?
Primary Theme: Society is built of SYSTEMS.
Those high in the systems theme recognize that society is built out of an integration of overlapping parts that work together to keep it functioning. Just as a human body has various integrated systems (skeletal, muscular, nervous, reproductive, etc.) so also a society has integrated social institutions (criminal justice, economic, familial, religious, etc.). The job of the sociologist is to trace how these work together in various societies, and to identify the sources of disruption to these systems in order to maximize their functioning.