So far we have discussed some of the basic ideas underpinning sociological analyses of social organisation and behaviour. These will be developed and applied in much greater depth as the course develops. At this point, however, I want to introduce the idea that although sociologists generally agree about a number of basic aspects of human behaviour (in particular, the idea that it is learned), there are numerous differences between sociologists over the interpretation and significance of this basic idea.
It is important, therefore, the understand that not all sociologists agree about how society is defined or how it can be studied.
The link between the work we've done and the idea of sociological perspectives is that of values; the arguments that exist within Sociology are largely based on the values that sociologists use to help them in their work. These values are usually clearly stated so that the reader knows exactly what a particular sociologist thinks about the basic nature of social life.
Generally, we can identify three very broad categories of sociological values (sometimes called "sociological perspectives" or "ways of seeing the social world").
You should keep in mind the fact that this is only a very brief and simplified introduction to the idea of different perspectives.
Each of the above perspectives "sees" the social world in different ways and like all ways of seeing the social world that are based upon our values, it should be evident that the kind of values you bring into your study of Sociology and the social world will affect both the way you see that world and, most importantly, the way that you think it is right to study that world.