Sociological Theories

Sociology consists of a huge number of theories that explain different sociological situations. In the following paragraphs, I have briefly explained why sociological theories are developed, and what their benefits are.

Sociologists often develop theories to understand and explain social occurrences. Theories are considered vital in Sociology for many reasons. For example, attempting to understand something as complicated and complex as the influence of industrialization on society will not be possible without the assistance of theories. Accurate research shows how things happen; but sociology does not only concern about collecting facts, regardless of how important and interesting they may be (for example, it is a fact that I bought a cup of coffee this morning, that it cost a certain amount of money, that the coffee beans were originally grown in the Central America, etc.). Also, we must know why things happen, and in order to do so we have to learn to develop explanatory theories. For example, we do know that industrialization has a number of very important influences on the emergence of modern societies, but what are the roots and preconditions of industrialization? Why do we find differences among societies in the industrialization processes? Why is industrialization connected with changes in ways of criminal punishment, or in family and marriage systems? To answer such questions, we must develop theoretical thinking.

Theories encompass developing abstract understandings that can be used to explain a wide variety of empirical circumstances. A theory regarding industrialization, for example, can be concerned with recognizing the key features that processes of industrial development generally share and would attempt to display which of these are most vital in explaining such development. Unquestionably, factual research and theories can never be parted. We can only develop valid theoretical approaches if we are able to examine them out through factual research.

We require sociological theories to assist us to make sense of facts. Contrary to popular assertion, facts do not speak for themselves. Many sociologists work mainly on factual research, but unless they are directed by some knowledge of theory, their work is doubtful to explain the complication of modern societies. This is factual even of research carries out with strictly practical objectives.

‘Practical individuals’ have a habit of being suspicious of theorists and may like to see themselves as too ‘down to earth’ to need to take note of more abstract ideas, yet all practical decisions require some theoretical expectations lying behind them. A manager of a business, for example, might have limited regard for ‘theory’. However, every approach to business activity contains theoretical expectations, even if those often keep on unstated. Therefore, the manager might assume that employees are motivated to work hard mainly by money – the level of salaries they get. This is not only a theoretical understanding of human behavior; it is also an incorrect one, as research in industrial sociology tends to validate.

Without a theoretical approach, we would not recognize what to look for in beginning a study or in understanding the outcomes of research. Nonetheless, the illumination of truthful evidence is not the only aim for the major position of theory in sociology. Theoretical thinking must respond to common issues posed by the study of human social life, together with issues that are philosophical in nature. Determining the level to which sociology should be modeled on the natural sciences and how we should nest conceptualize human consciousness, action and institutions are issues that do not have easy answers. They have been handled in different ways in the numerous theoretical methods that have sprung up in the discipline.

Because of the reasons explained above, sociologists have developed sociological theories concerning almost every field in sociology to understand and explain social phenomena.