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Biological and psychological explanations of human behavior are inadequate to sociologists

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Biological and psychological explanations of human behavior are inadequate to sociologists This essay will discuss the reasons why sociologists argue that biological as well as psychological explanations of human behavior are inadequate. It will take a close look at how society is an inseparable part of an individual, examine the work of French sociologist Emile Durkheim and conclude with a suggested holistic way of looking at the origins of human behavior. Sociology is the discipline that focuses on the analysis of society. But what is society, and what is it made of? Couldn't society be defined as a group of individuals who are involved in a social activity? If this statement were to capture the essence of the term "society", biological explanations about genetic predispositions of individuals, (including their temperament), together with psychological explanations about their behaviors would be sufficient to explain human behavior. ...read more.


Societal interaction is a two-way street. It is individuals who in their behavior, values and way of thinking shape society, but it is the whole of individuals, the group, which shapes how these individuals socialize. French sociologist, Emile Durkheim said that society is "external and coercive" (1964:2). In external, Durkheim was referring to the great influence society has over individuals, and argued that it is something larger than the individuals who compose it, a whole bigger than the sum of his parts, so to speak. According to Durkheim, society shapes individuals' entire experience of life. The coerciveness of society, by Durkheim, comes from outside as well as from within. Each society constitutes a set of norms (rules of behavior appropriate in different situations) (Parkinson& Drislane, 1992) and values (broad principles of behavior and moral standards) ...read more.


In examining how human behavior is affected by biological, psychological and sociological influences, let us look at the example of an elementary school child with learning disabilities. A biological perspective would emphasize a genetic predisposition for the disability, e.g. minimal brain damage. Psychologists may suggest that the child's only way of receiving attention from his parents is by being a "problematic child" who needs help with his homework, and therefore his disabilities are reinforced. A sociologist would look at the child's place in society, how does his society treat children with learning disabilities? Should he be shameful? Is he encouraged by others? The particular social structure of the child's society- the way individuals within his group relate to each other, together with his culture - predominately its values and perhaps religion are a great influence on how this child will confront his problems and succeed or fail in minimizing his learning disabilities. ...read more.

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