Recent Trends in Sociological Theories

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Recent Trends in Sociological Theories


Sociology is a science. So sociological theories come under the category of scientific theory only. We know that scientific principles are basically empirical and causal. The modern trend in the field of this sociological theory is that its theorists today are empirical or on the basis of real, sufficient and dependable facts, adopting the study method of observation, test, experiment and classification, as in earlier times. Through empirical generalization, there has been an interest in propounding such theories that can explain the causal relationship of events logically.

Pro . Don Martindale has also mentioned another modern trend in this area and that is the integration of different theories. “A common stock of words, concepts and empirical generalizations are increasingly being put into practice by members of all denominations. Indeed, the ability to explain the substituted facts of a field is the first step towards making a theory acceptable.” For example, the problem of personality was raised by the conflict theorists, the formative school examined it more seriously and the symbolic interactions of social behaviorism and social-actionist theorists studied it thoroughly, and the functionalists addressed the same problem. Check-up has started again. Similarly, in Parsons’s theory of action, there is an unusual coordination of the principles of Durkheim, Pareto, Max Weber. Merton’s name is particularly noteworthy among the theorists representing modern trends in the field of sociological theory.

On studying his famous work ‘Social Theory and Social Structure’, some other modern trends are also revealed. Among them is that today the interest of modern theorists is increasing in the direction of propounding the ‘sociological theory of mid-boundary’ rather than the general theories related to social systems. Relating to bureaucracy by Gouldner, Bled, Crozier etc., Pelligrin’s proposition of mid-boundary theories related to mobility by Raymond Mack related to occupational sub-system are good evidence of the inclination of many modern theorists towards this. Merton wrote that “If today we are concerned only with social systems rather than with the principles of middle boundary


If we put all our attention in the formulation of general principles, then it is feared that in the twentieth century, as in the past, we will be able to develop only such broad philosophical systems (or theories) which have varied inclination, scintillating and scientific. There will be infertility. “Merton also points to another modern trend and that is the notation of sociological theories. In your own words, “notation is a systematic and cohesive system of fruitful research methods and original findings.” Through this process, the equation and organization of what is indisputable in the research of the past is possible, not the discovery of new techniques of research. “



Today, therefore, sociological theorists express large descriptive assumptions, fundamental arguments and test results in their theories by means of some systematic and coherent symbols or signs, so that the real conclusion is not obscured by falling into the illusion of words. In modern times, there is an increasing tendency to bring sociological theories to a more technical level than before. Therefore, it is clear that in modern times the tendency to propound sociological theories with more scientific, empirical, systematic, coherent and coordinated mid-boundary is increasing. Nevertheless, much progress remains to be made in this direction. Perhaps the path of this progress of sociological theory may be paved in the future. Pro . Don Martindale has rightly said that “Sociology can still produce a Newton or a Maxwell who will receive the material produced by chance, act patiently, explain them like crystal with his logic and express his love.” will melt them in the fire and unite them.”


Level of Theorization


A theory is a real, scientific and logical collection of many statements and concepts. Theory reveals the validity of anything. But often a question is raised as to how the theory is formed. Many scholars answer this question. These scholars believe that theory is not an object of observation but a process. John Wilson clearly states that theory building is a process.


Jonathan Turner has also considered theory as a process. He has mentioned four elements of the theory – Concepts, Variable or Variable, Statements and Outer Form. Turner believes that these four elements together form a process to form sociological theories.


Many books have been published in the last few decades regarding theory building. It focuses on the process of theory making. In relation to the creation of the theory, Shaper (D. Shaper, Scientific Theories) believes that the theory develops gradually. A theory is initially a vague idea, but gradually it emerges as a clear statement and in the end it becomes a theory.


Process of Theorization



The elements of the process of theory or theory making can be understood in simple words as follows:


(1) First of all, through field work in relation to any social phenomenon and are collected and classified.


(2) After that these facts are analyzed, that is, small statements are made from these facts.


(3) The interrelationships of these statements are determined.


(4) The generalization is explained on a logical basis from the interrelationships of these statements.

(5) Through these logical statements, the statements constructed through the generalization of other areas are explained.


(6) The theory thus constructed has the ability to understand any social phenomenon. Robert Merton has written enough and best on sociological theories. Merton has mentioned theory building in ‘Social Theory and Social Structure’.




Level of Theorization

Merton has given the following levels of sociological theory formation


(1) Methodology –


In research, first of all it is determined through which methods the facts should be collected. The choice of methods is based on the nature of the problem or sub-spec. The problem requires a collection of . The method by which the collection of facts is easily done, that method is selected.


(2) General Sociological Orientation


Before the study, common sociological and axioms are used and the problem is discussed in its context.


(3) Analysis of Concepts –


In any research, some suffixes or concepts are used. What is the meaning and context of these suffixes, there should be proper analysis and explanation of it so that there should not be any kind of confusion. There are many words which have one type of meaning in colloquial language and another meaning in science. The meaning of the same word can be different in different sciences. There is no confusion in the analysis of suffixes.


(4) Interpretation of Data –


For the establishment of sociological theory, it is necessary that the collected data or content should be explained. This subject-material is the evidence for the problem.


(5) Generalization –


On the basis of the obtained facts, conclusions or general rules are clear by analysis, they are formulated. This process is called normalization. Generalizations are often universal. Merton has introduced the idea of ​​Middle Range Generalization.


(6) Theorization –


Test the generalization on the basis of logic. If these generalizations are logical and logical consistency is found in them, then it is presented as a theory. The process of building a theory is called theorization.






Utility of Sociological Theories


It is clear that theory making is a process. This process passes through several stages. In other words, the formulation of theories in sociology is a farce because they are built on the basis of the study of a complex and changing social phenomenon. After creation, these theories do not remain objects to be seen or read only, but in many ways prove their usefulness in sociology and society. Sociological theory gives us an introduction to social phenomena for a long time. On the basis of these principles, initiative is taken in relation to solving any social problem. It is absolutely necessary to mention briefly the uses of sociological principles.


(1) Theory  guides the research –


A sociological theory guides the research work to be done by the researchers. A researcher does not have complete knowledge of his subject. He is like a new driver driving a saree. In relation to his subject, he studies the theories created earlier through literature survey and on the basis of them he proceeds in the field of study.


(5) Theory is helpful in understanding empiricism –


Sociological theory is built on the basis of empiricism. On the basis of this empiricism, conclusions are drawn regarding any social phenomenon. In this way we find out any society empirical life.


(4) Theory analyzes the concepts –


A theory is built on the basis of many concepts, that is, a theory is related to many concepts. When we use theory, these concepts also get clarified. For example, take a theory – “Working women face role conflicts. On the basis of this theory, many concepts will be introduced such as working women, role conflict, office family etc.


(5) Principle is the basis of Paradigm construction –


We can also call Paradigm as Model. There is a subtle difference between a model, that is, a paradigm and a theory. Theories are based on reality but the paradigm is close to or similar to reality. Theory deals with a wide area. We can construct a paradigm by taking the elements of any part of this field.


(6) Theories make the collection of facts useful –


The study of any social phenomenon is incomplete in the absence of field work. Many facts are collected through field work. In the beginning these facts are useless. But at some point of time the facts become the basis for the formulation of any hypothesis. In the coming time, this hypothesis can give rise to some sociological theory. In this way theories serve to make facts useful. Apart from this, there are also some subtle uses of sociological principles.


(7) Sociological theory is an important means of summarizing the wide experience of social scientists.


(8) Sociological theories not only guide empirical studies but also contribute to the theoretical development of sociology.


(9) Through sociological principles, there is sufficient help in finding out the future of any society.


(10) Sociological theories point to social problems. With this new research work can be done in relation to these problems. In short, it can be said that both the aspects of sociology are useful and meaningful. Whereas applied sociology works to understand the present society and bring out the problems prevailing in it, theoretical sociology gives a direction, insight and guidance to such studies i.e. applied sociology.



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