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Three Paradigms of Sociological Thinking

Human relationships as a concept have always been one of the most resonant and controversial subjects for discussion. To classify some of the underlying sociological and behavioral patterns, scholars tried to define major theories that could potentially describe how people could interact as socially adjusted beings (Casler & Du Gay, 2019). The three theories that make the most sense in the empirical context are the functionalism theory, conflict theory, and the concept of symbolic interactionism. Although none of these approaches are exhaustive in terms of establishing the social hierarchy and communication pillars, the conflict theory seems to be the most appropriate concept in terms of the 21st century’s community.

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The very idea introduced behind social conflict theory is based on cognitive dissonance, making it even more relevant for today’s society. To begin with, the theory itself implies that all human relationships are formed as a consequence of competition between social groups in terms of resources (Dunn, 2020). Hence, the socioeconomic status of an individual predetermined by one’s ethnic, racial, or gender affiliation becomes the pillar of creating the social structure that presupposes social division into groups.

If to apply conflict theory to today’s sociologic patterns across the globe, such major issues as racism, sexism, and inequality in general, the concepts could be easily explained by the conflict genesis. However, while these aspects can be sociologically justified, they nonetheless remain the reasons for universal misery and frustration (Simon, 2016). Instead of examining society as a unit, scholars try to actively respond to the existing disparities. Hence, whereas researches put much effort into trying to define the patterns of human relationships development, it might be more beneficial to deal with already existing social issues bothering people at this very moment.


Casler, C., & Du Gay, P. (2019). Stances, paradigms, personae. Studi di Sociologia, 2019(1), 69-80.

Dunn, R. (2020). The three sociological paradigms and perspectives. Web.

Simon, R. M. (2016). The conflict paradigm in sociology and the study of social inequality: Paradox and possibility. Theory in Action, 9(1).

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