• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Common Sense Explanations of the Social World.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Common Sense Explanations of the Social World What are the main limitations of "common sense" explanations of the social world? How do sociological explanations provide a more firmly grounded alternative? Throughout history, people have been trying to make sense of the changes that occur around them in every-day life. "Common sense" explanations can only provide a limited understanding whereas sociology offers considerably more accurate insights into the social geography of the society in which we live. These "common sense" explanations of the social world, both individualistic and naturalistic perspectives have their respective limitations. In this essay, I aim to examine these limitations and show how sociological explanations provide a more firmly grounded alternative. Common sense explanations of everyday life are based on a single reality that members of society tend to take for granted. These definitions are a form of social perspective, representing what is regarded as common knowledge about human behaviour. The main drawback of this perception is that it eliminates the need for arguments, which are blocked in favour of a conformity of belief. ...read more.

Middle

Contradictory to this argument, the modern tendency to promote individuality, social class, gender and ethnicity remain powerful predicators of, for example, how well students perform in school. Therefore, individualistic explanations of the social world are shown to be by no means conclusive. Naturalistic explanations are based entirely on natural or biological needs. Natural science provides explanations of how real-world events happen, giving both cause and effect to answer any given question. Such views directly link biological science with the development of social identities. However, naturalistic conceptions fall into the trap of biological determinism; attempting to explain all aspects of human behaviour in terms of inherited biological characteristics that people have as human beings. A good example of this would be the need to eat. The need for food is a basic instinct, but the types of food that people choose to eat varies greatly between cultures, social classes and historical periods. Sociological views note a difference between fundamental and biological needs and "media induced consumption", reflecting that much human action is not so much need as desire. ...read more.

Conclusion

Sociology does not attempt to produce a set of cast iron laws and rules, but instead acts as a guideline to follow when looking at current society. Sociological theories eliminate some of the problems these common sense explanations present by focusing on social conditions rather than on the genetic, biological or psychological factors which affect people. They can offer a much better understanding of social identity: the way in which each individual locates themselves within the society they live. Sociologist JS Mills said of the sociological perspective: "The sociological imagination enables us to grasp history and biography and the relations between the two within society". So, in conclusion, despite the fact that common sense explanations give us some understanding of why changes occur in our society, this way of looking at things is rather limited. A sociological perspective offers a much more firmly grounded alternative through research and tested theories. This method is preferable due to the fact that it is based on hard evidence rather than what is seen to be "common knowledge". F. Winter (Journalism 1, tutorial group Q) ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Sociology section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Sociology essays

  1. A-Level Sociology Theory + Methods Revision.

    Interpretivism - They argue that human behaviour can't be understood as being governed by laws in the way that scientists say laws govern the natural world. Humours think, reflect + have reasons for acting as they do; they have consciousness + free will.

  2. Jane Austen - Sense and Sensibility

    Inherited wealth is presented as the trademark of high social status. The Dashwood women become deprived of both. As a result they are driven into hardship when they have to give up their house in Norland and all its comforts and luxuries and move to smaller, less luxurious premises in Devonshire.

  1. Max Weber: Basic Terms (The Fundamental Concepts of Sociology)

    ''The Puritan wanted to work in a calling; we are forced to do so. For when asceticism was carried out of monastic cells into everyday life, and began to dominate worldly morality, did its part in building the tremendous cosmos of the modern economic order This order is now bound

  2. In what sense is Burke the founder of modern British Conservative thought?

    Authority is defended because it preserves order; questioning authority threatens to social chaos, so obedience to traditional ruling figures is imperative. Conservatives believe that authority is installed into society by nature itself and not in the form of a social contract.

  1. Sociology Investigation

    These are my results. The results of my data are similar to that of the secondary data. During my research I found that a given label is approached differently by students, as the majority of my respondents see the given label as motivation to improve and continue to do well at school.

  2. Philosophies of Social Science.

    recognition in critically evaluating the work of others; apply the individualism / holism distinction in addressing a specific social question (see our seminar). The following notes, therefore, are structured in the following sequence: 1) a sketch of the rise in individualism in the West and an initial identification of varieties of individualism.

  1. Environmental Lessons From History.

    Ponting (1992). Steel (1998) writes that the great fascination with St. Kilda is that for over two thousand years' man lived upon the islands. The people led a unique and unchanging way of living their lives.

  2. Putman's sociological theories

    as construction of affordable housing and economic development issues as those responding directly to the needs of women, children, and families A study by Howard Samuels on the issue of gender discrimination in community development found that when women were in leadership positions, development efforts were more comprehensive than in male-led groups.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work