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Individual Vs Society

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The Individual and Society Principles, motivations and conflicts in the relationship between individual rights on the one hand, and government and law on the other are central to the study of sociology. Analysis of the relationship between the individual and society long predates the development of sociology dating back to the 17th century. The focus is on the respective claims of the individual and society and in particular the extent to which the state can limit individual freedom to achieve social order. Society is a population of humans characterised by patterns of relationships between individuals that may have distinctive culture and institutions, or, more broadly, an economic, social and industrial infrastructure in which a varied multitude of people or people are a part. The macro view of society in structures is the foundation for many sociological standpoints including Maxism and functionalism. From this view therefore, it is believed that the society controls the individual. The micro approach, on the other hand, believes that social situations begin with the individual. This essay will explore some of the main arguments for and against each side. It may be argued that the individual is able to control society. This would be favourable for macro perspectives such as Marxism and functionalism. Positivism is the belief that the social world can be studied with the same approach we can use to study the natural world. From this standpoint, society controls and influences the individual. ...read more.


This is not a direct control over the individual, but a simple persuasion for those who want aspire to a good career. There are laws that control what we are able to buy, age restrictions apply to alcohol, cigarettes, knives and sometimes solvents so that society is able to manage who is allowed to buy these products and protect those who may misuse them. Lastly, the Government decides tax rates and where tax payers money is spent. This is out of the individuals control, except from electing a government they feel will do best. On the other hand, others may argue that the individual is in control of society. This would be favourable for micro perspectives such as interpretivism and symbolic Interactionism. Such perspectives look at small-scale situations and believe that they can be used to influence the larger society. Symbolic Interactionism may be viewed as a powerful form of interpretivism as they believe that the individuals actions are based upon individual perceptions of the motives of others. Situations are internalised, and the individual tries to empathise in order to understand such motives. Symbolic interactionists believe that identity is a social construct, as opinions are taken in and people become who they are told they are. Therefore, ideas regarding individual actions differ between macro and micro perspectives. Overall, micro perspectives believe that the individual acts according to their perception of society and of others. ...read more.


Lastly, we are also usually born into a certain class. We are brought up in this class with their typical norms, values, rules and ideals. As before, it is when we develop and mature that we may move into a different class, perhaps by other influences in society, their career path may lead into a higher or lower class or possibly marry a partner from a different class. Ultimately we do have a choice over these factors, although it may be frowned upon to make a decision different to the one typically seen from the religion, class or culture in the society before. The evidence seems to suggest that the society is able to have far more control over the individual, however it may be argued that the individual has the ability to shape his or her own society. The macro perspective consequently holds ground as perhaps more relevant to most societies, as their reasons are more theoretical than those based upon judgment although on a small scale the individual may have a small amount of control over the society in which they live. It is important to note that some aspects of life society nor the individual has control over such as the religion or culture an individual is born into. In conclusion, it seems fair to agree that due to the examples and theories of the macro perspective, that social systems hold a greater control over social agency. ...read more.

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