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A2 Sociology - Sociology as Science lesson 7

Positivism v's Interpretivism
by

Amanda Lane

on 17 September 2013

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Transcript of A2 Sociology - Sociology as Science lesson 7

Positivism v's Interpretivism Sociology and Science For this argument we need to look at both the Positivist and Interpretivist perspectives... Can Sociology be considered a science? Believe that reality exists outside and independently of the human mind Positivists Society is an objective factual reality that exists independently of us and made up of social facts. Believe that human behaviour is caused by 'social facts' that can be measured and explained. Laws are formed on this basis to explain how society works. This is process is known as Through observation of social phenomena, patterns can be identified. This process is known as Inductive reasoning Positivists are Marxists and Functionalists as they believe that structures shape our behaviour independently of human action. Verificationism Objective, quantitative data Durkers wanted to prove that sociology is a science and can be researched using objective methods. Durkers! So to make his point, he chose the most controversial, individual act imaginable to study scientifically: Suicide. He studied quantitative data from official statistics and identified a pattern in the rate of suicide. Certain religious groups were more likely to commit suicide than others. He stated that suicide was not determined by motive but moreover social facts. Societal structures forcing people to act a certain way ie: commit suicide. The social fact here is that levels of integration within the Protestant faith caused people to commit suicide and not individuals choosing to. believes that meaningful human action as a way of understanding the social world. Interpretivism meanings are internally interpreted by individuals through interactions between people and not through laws of cause and effect. The term 'Verstehen' refers to the idea that we can only study understanding of individuals if we put ourselves in their shoes. Interactionism, Phenomenology and Ethnomethodogy are all Interpretivist perspectives. Subjective, qualitative data we can never know the real reasons for a person's decision. Official stats are merely social constructions from coroners labelling deaths as suicide. In order to understand suicide we must first uncover the meaning for those involved. Interpretivists on suicide Interpretivists believe that all we can do is to ascertain how the living create meaning of death. These meanings are assumptions that make up our common sense knowledge, even for coroners. Fill in the blanks:

___________ see sociology as the study of causes:the social facts or structures _________ to individuals that cause them to ______ as they do. In the __________ view, this is the same approach as the natural ________, to discover the causes of the ___________ they observe, whether in nature or society. Positivists External Behave Science Patterns ___________ see sociology as the study of ______________ social action: the _____________ meanings that lead actors to chose their course of action. Human actions are not governed by _________ causes, unlike events in _________, so they cannot be __________ in the same way as natural phenomena. Interpretivists Meaningful internal external nature studied
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