In this section we are going to consider a variety of sociological explanations / theories of culture and cultural behaviour. To help us do this, this section has been organised around the general theme of sociological perspectives on culture. This involves the idea that we can group various writers who, while they may have slightly different theories, generally tend to have a number of basic ideas in common.
In a previous section we introduced the idea of sociological perspectives and, in so doing, briefly outlined three main perspectives:
b. Conflict Theory.
The first two of these perspectives (Functionalism and Conflict Theory) are sometimes called Structural or Macro perspectives, mainly because they focus on:
a. The way social structures constrain individual behaviour (by appearing to make people do things, limiting their choice of action and so forth).
b. Large-scale social interaction, frequently at the group level, rather than the level of individual behaviour.
The third of these perspectives (Interactionism) is sometimes called a social psychological or micro perspective, mainly because it focuses attention on the individual and the way they create and recreate the social world.
Finally, we can add a fourth "sociological perspective" to this list (post-modernism) which will need to be discussed in some detail.
The focus of this section, therefore, is an examination / overview of each of these perspectives and the different ways they both theorise and explain the concept of culture.