free essays

Social Science Theory and Inquiry

Social Science Theory and Practice 20

SocialScience Theory and Inquiry

SocialScience Theory and Inquiry

Socialscience is the scientific analysis of society and the relationshipsin society. A social scientist applies natural science principles tostudy society. The social scientist is concerned in understandingsociety by applying objective methods of study to society. It isimportant to use positivist methods of study so as to avoidprejudgments and come up with practical research. Social scientistsare thus concerned with the study of society in an objective mannerso as to understand the dynamics of society. The social scientistapplies methodologies and theories to understand different socialactivities in society. The social scientist then develops socialtheories to explain a social event. A social theory is a frameworkthat is used to investigate and explain a social event.

Thepractice of social science involves a descriptive account of societyand social phenomena. The social scientist applies scientifictheories and inquiries to different aspects of society and comes upwith a practical explanation of events. It is important to use socialtheories and methodologies of study to study society as it reducessubjectivity and reflects the actual nature of society. The practiceof social science has to have practical ways of studying society, asthe theories used in society are not abstract explanations of society(Kuhn,68).The social scientist uses strict methodologies to apply theory inpractice. Sayer theorized that the practice of social science was themost competent way of understanding social phenomena as it keptchanging over time (Sayer, 98).

Positivismis a general methodology of the study used in the practice of socialscience. The positivism method of practicing social science involvesusing empirical methods of study to study society. When practicingsocial sciences, the social scientist has to apply theoriespractically and this involves a great deal of maintaining objectivityas the process of applying social theories into practice involvesmaking abstract theories, practical. Empiricismis of the opinion that genuine understanding of the external worldmust be guided by experience and observation.

Positivismgained ground in scientific practice in the nineteenth century on thebasis that theories are meant to bring out objective research of thesocial life. According to Auguste Comte, social practice is aimed atpredicting the events of society by studying current events.Positivism connects current phenomena with future events as it isconcerned with the laws of nature. The practice of society thusinvolves applying social theories to events that can be testedthrough direct observation (Kuhn,98).The purpose is to study and society through direct observation.Giddens (320) also added that empiricism as in natural sciences wasalso necessary in social research as it safeguarded the results frompersonal biases.

Therole of social theory, according to social scientists, is to bringforth causal explanations of events or activities that are in anatural and social world. An event or activity is formally explainedif its occurrence is proven to be logically necessary, according toparticular causal laws and conditions.Theselaws are applied to produce causal explanations to a range of otherevents and activities in society. The use of scientific laws insocial explanations is to achieve objective explanations to socialphenomena. Scientific laws help natural scientists to remain neutralin their studies and this gives support to the theories andexplanations, as objective theories are applicable to the societyunder different conditions.

Followingthis account, the object of study in social science is society andactivities that take place in society. Social science study’sindividuals and groups in society through observation and applicationof scientific theories. The study focuses on social interactionpatterns, the impact of the interactions and the regulations thatguide social interaction. The society is studied in its naturalenvironment through observation. Social sciences recognize thesignificance of the individual in creating a group, which is thesociety. The study involves observing individuals as part of thesociety so as to understand the dynamics that govern socialactivities. Sayer (110) argued that studying social science was theonly objective way of understanding society as the study would removepersonal biases.

Thenatural environment is very important as it is a guide to personalbehavior, which influences societal behavior and activities. Theindividual forms the basic unit of society and thus, the scientifictheories applied focus on individuals as part of the society. Thepractice of social sciences focuses on applying social theories tothe individual so as to explain and predict the activities insociety. The work of social scientists is to understand the naturalenvironment as it is the main influence in the behavior exhibited insociety. Social activities are often geared towards shaping theenvironment to meet individual needs or shaping individual activitiesto conform to the natural environment (Kuhn,105).The context of social activities is regarded as the most influentialissue in the study of social phenomena. Given the importance ofcontext, theories must thus, conform to the changes of society associety is dynamic.

Socialresearch involves answering questions about the society. The role ofsocial research is to describe societal activities by answeringquestions regarding social activity. The questions asked areconcerned with a social phenomenon that is observable and which hasan impact in society. The social scientist observes an activity insociety that affects the society and which has no explanation. Thescientist then formulates questions that guide the methodology to beused in studying the social phenomena (Kuhn,23).The questions asked, therefore, are meant to help explain anobservable social phenomenon. Giddens added that research was theonly way that society would improve as research would unfold themystery of society.

Thequestions formulated are guided by sociological theories that explainsociety. If a phenomenon cannot use the existing theories, a new oneis formed that informs many aspects of society. The questions must berelevant to an event that has no explanation and needs a sociologicalexplanation. The questions must be related to an event that enduresfor a long time and not one that happens for a short period only. Thequestions seek to examine the occurrence of the event and give arationale that can also predict the next course of action. Thequestions in social research arose from activities, which had aconsistent nature and which affected the society in a huge way (Pred,128).

Thequestions must be interpretive in nature. This is because socialinquiry is not only interested in explaining the here and now, butalso the future. The reason for social inquiry is to predict thefuture so that society can be prepared to deal with futureoccurrences. A logical understanding of the world is important forhuman beings as this is what shapes social activity so as to fit insociety. The role of questions in social sciences thus is to explaina social event and then offer prediction (Kuhn,92).This is, fundamentally, the role of social research.

Thereare many theories that explain social phenomenon. This is becausethere are various ideologies in social sciences. The differentschools use different approaches when explaining social events.However, different social theories are appropriate for differentevents and thus, the social scientist uses the questions asked tofind the most appropriate theory to explain an event. The questionsare a guide for the theory to be used in explaining an event. Thequestions crystallize the features of the event and thus, act as abasis for explaining the event. The characteristics fit in differenttheories and thus, the social scientist chooses the appropriatetheory based on the characteristics of the event.

Thetheoretical framework chosen must at least explain the social eventif not predict the future. This is because the function of socialtheories is to offer a logical explanation of society. They helppeople understand their social environments. Once people understandtheir social environments, they are capable of acting appropriatelyso as to conform to the events or change the events. The theoriesalso help in formulating social policy, which is what guides eventsin society. Modern practice involves combining a number of socialtheories so as to comprehensively explain social events. The practiceis guided by the fact that social events are caused by many factorsand this calls for application of different theories so as tounderstand the social events.

Theoreticalframeworks put social events into logical contexts, which are studiedand practiced so as to predict the future. The logical frameworks areuseful in reducing subjectivity in sociological explanations ofevents. The use of theoretical frameworks introduces empiricism andscientific methods in explaining social phenomena, making itcredible. The theory must then be acceptable for a large portion ofsociety, especially those who seek to understand a social event intheir environments (Kuhn,62).A theory chosen to explain a social event must transcend time andenvironments. This means that if a similar event takes place at adifferent place, the social theory applied must be applicable with asmuch accuracy as possible.

Amethod of studying a social event is also very critical in socialresearch. Methodologies influence the outcomes of research activityand it is important to apply a suitable methodology so as to obtainthe most accurate results of research activity. The methodology isthe systematic application of research inquiry activities so as tostudy an event of interest in society. Methodologies differ from onesocial event under investigation to another (Sayer,21).The social phenomena are the influencers of the methodology to beapplied in the study.

Themethodology chosen is based on the kind of information that thesocial scientist wishes to obtain. The information could be numericalor explanatory. This influences the method. In some cases, the socialscientist applies a variety of methods in a single study because shewishes to obtain different aspects of information from a study. Thequestions essentially, guide the social scientist in choosing amethodology that is suitable for the study (Sayer,61).The questions require different methodologies so as to be answeredsatisfactorily. This is because the role of the methodology used isto provide a means of obtaining logical explanations to socialevents.

Themethod chosen thus is meant to offer a means of obtaining suitableinformation to a social event. The methodology is informed by thescope of the study, based on the information being sought by a socialstudy. The methodology focuses on a particular aspect and its purposeto obtain as much knowledge regarding the event as possible so as togive a logical explanation. The methodology is also affected by thenature of the event as different events require differentmethodologies so as to give suitable information (Sayer,38).Process of choosing an appropriate methodology is thus, a consciouseffort in choosing a means of obtaining appropriate information.

Socialtheory is a set of ideas that are used to explain social events. Therole of social theories is to make sense of the social world in alogical way. On the other hand, social reality is an understanding ofthe world that is based on social interactions and is beyond thecontrol of the individual. Social theory studies social events andplaces the events into enduring clusters of information regarding theevent (Pred,50).The event in this case being the social reality that is under study.The social theory studies social events and comes up with logicalexplanations of the events. In so doing, social theories place socialrealities into a set of ideas, which are the structures of therealities.

Asocial theory places social reality into a group of ideologies thatdescribe and explain the event. This is what constitutes structuringof social reality. The theory puts social reality in social contextsthat are the structure of social reality. The placement of socialreality into the contexts is what is known as structuring of reality.These structures provide logical explanations to social reality byplacing the realities into theories. The theories are enduringexplanations of events and these can be applied in differentenvironments to help in understanding social realities and events.Theories help in connecting different concepts so as to make senseout of them.

Socialreality also structures social theory by placing the realities indifferent contexts and explanations. Social reality is grouped intodifferent categories that become social theories based oncharacteristics. The social reality provides information to bestudied and grouped into categories that form social theories (Pred,97).A social theory is a succinct explanation of social reality. Socialreality provides the characteristics that describe a social theory.The social reality thus, structures a social theory by providing thesocial events and characteristics that form a theory. Social theoryand social reality thus, influence each other and each is the basisof the other.


Asociety is a group of people who have interpersonal relationshipsthat form their culture. Societies are shaped by geographical areasand are subject to a system of authority and social norms that guidesocietal activities. Societies are comprised of individuals who sharea common culture and social environment. A society is guided by anumber of distinctive norms and values. The norms and values aredeveloped based on what a society believes in and its socialenvironment. A society can be comprised of members of one ethnicgroup or different ethnic groups. The most significant issue ofsociety is the shared norms and values which described the society.

Modernsocieties can be explained used postmodern theories. Postmoderntheories focus on to social transformation that describes a novel ageof sociocultural transformation. The postmodern period is marked bythe spread and influence of technology on social activities. Thepostmodern theories take relativist and perspectivist positions inexplaining the society. The theories use micro- concepts to explainsociety. The theory focuses on reality and how it is perceived. Thetheory looks at how the spread of technology has shaped modernsociety and its role in creating a society that is majorly describedby technological movements. The structuration theory is the mostcommon postmodern theory that focuses on daily material details.

Societycan be explained by the theory of structuration. The theory wasdeveloped by Anthony Giddens in 1998. The theory is a fairly moderntheory that focuses on modern society. The theory holds that thesocial life is not just a set of random individual actions. Instead,social life is caused by social forces that have an influence overthe individual. The theory focuses on the relationships between theindividual and social structures, which affect and shape humanbehavior. In modern society, social life is defined by social systemsand structures which control and direct human behavior.

Themain tenet is that society is made of social structures that arecomprised of norms, institutions, values moral codes and traditions.All these shape human behavior and actions as they lay down the rulesof the social world. Every society has its own social structures thatdefine the actions of individuals. Social structures are developed bysociety so as to guide how people interact within the context of eachstructure. The defined structures are natural and they facilitateefficiency and social order. Social order ensures that society runssmoothly and all actions conducted are towards collective orindividual benefit.

Socialstructures allocate each person a social role and people performthese roles according to their abilities. The social structure ismade up of hierarchies and these have been created by thestructuration. People occupy different positions within the structureand the hierarchies help in averting conflicts as people actaccording to their positions within the social structure. The role ofthe structure, however, is to maintain the status quo as it is meantto confine people within the limitations of their position in thesocial structure. Any attempt to change the structure is often metwith resistance, which creates social conflicts.

Anotheraspect of structuration is that society is always trying to findequilibrium within the social structure. This is because society hasthe instinctive desire to remain cohesive and stable. A socialstructure is helpful in facilitating social cohesiveness. Thestructure defines the confines of individual actions so that thesociety can hold together and maintain stability. The structure comesup with limits, which act as the determinants of equilibrium. Thesociety is always adjusting its social structure so as to accommodatechanges, which act towards maintaining equilibrium.

The social structure is not static. It changes over time, based onthe social dynamics within which it operates. The social structure isdefined by social behavior and social behavior is dynamic. Thedynamism of human behavior means that new aspects of society arealways becoming obsolete while new ones emerge. These dynamics makeit necessary for the social structure to keep changing so as toaccommodate the changes. This is in a bid to attain equilibrium(Giddens,105).The dynamism of the social structure makes it accommodative and thismaintains relative equilibrium. Any time an aspect of the socialstructure changes, it affects the whole structure and this means thatthe structure undergoes transformation.

Thesocial structure is made up of interrelated parts. Each part has aparticular function within the society. These parts affect each otherand each must perform its function properly so as to maintainequilibrium. Modern society is characterized by division of labor,which fit within the social structure. The division of labor causesinterdependence of the social structure. This interdependence meansthat the structure is maintained through a proper function of eachpart of society (Harvey,356).The interdependence is what results in conflict if one part of thestructure does not perform properly.

Thesocial structure is held together by social cohesion. Social cohesiondefines the bonds that draw people together in society. Socialcohesion is at individual and societal level. The individual leveldefines the aspects of an individual that make the person belong to asocial group. The social group is defined by certain beliefs,behaviors and attitudes that hold the group together (Giddens,115).An individual wishing to belong to the group must conform to theseaspects of the group in order to be absorbed by the group members.The attitudes, beliefs and behaviors of the group are the cohesivebonds that hold the group together.

However,the society is not equal despite the presence of social structuresthat govern the society. Social inequality occurs due to thehierarchical nature of the social structure. The structure givespeople different rights, freedoms and statuses. The structuralismtheory holds that each society must be defined by a certain degree ofinequality so that society can function (Giddens,76).The inequalities serve as motivating factors that propel people tocontinue working within the structure so as to overcome certainchallenges within the structure. The structure comes with rewards fordifferent levels and these are the motivating factors.

Thesocial capital works by exploiting peoples’ social capital. Thesocial capital functions within the social structure so as to makesociety function. A combination of social capital translates intobenefits for the society. A good social structure is that integratessocial capital well enough so as to maximize the advantages that canbe obtained from the social capital. The social capital istransformed over time to solve different problems and performdifferent functions within the social structure. Just like the socialstructure is not static, so is social capital. Social capital musttransform over time, based on the dynamics of society.

Theintroduction of technology has changed the social structure as itaffects how people interact. Modern interaction is mediated bytechnology and thus, social interactions do not hold as muchimportance as they once did. Face- to- face affected howcommunication was conducted as people used many modes ofcommunication to communicate. However, technology- mediatedtechnology has removed the emotional aspect of communication.Communication is transactional as the main role is to pass messagesand not facilitate social interaction.

Thestructural theory holds that all social institutions within a socialstructure for the structure to function properly. Society createsinstitutions according to its needs and the institutions must worktowards holding society together (Giddens,23).If the institution does not serve society, it becomes obsolete and itis eliminated from society. All institutions function so as tomaintain equilibrium. Any time there is a conflict in society and theexisting social institutions cannot solve the problem, a newinstitution is created so as to deal with the problem. This isbecause if a problem arises and it cannot be solved by the existinginstitutions, conflicts arise due to disequilibrium.

Individualsget absorbed into the social structure through socialization.Socialization is a learning process that teaches individuals thesocial norms and values that govern society. Social norms and valuesare the determinants of social behavior, which helps individuals tobelong to a social group. The socialization process is responsiblefor making people fit within the social structure and actaccordingly. Socialization inculcates the society’s norms andvalues into an individual so that the person can fit in the socialstructure (Giddens,98).The socialization process allocates people different activitieswithin the social structure.

Theprocess of matching social skills to societal needs is known asdifferentiation. The social structure has different socialinstitutions that makeup a social structure. The social institutionsplay different functions that facilitate social action. The peopleuse social capital to perform different functions as the socialinstitutions require the input of individuals so as to function(Harvey,300).Differentiation allocates people different social activities based ontheir capabilities. Differentiation ensures that people get the bestout of the social institutions so as to maintain equilibrium.Differentiation mostly serves the economic needs of society and thisis done through division of labor.

Thestructuration theory focuses on social structures and social agents.The theory uses both macro and micro analysis to explain the role ofthe social structure. The social agents are the creators of socialstructures as they are the members of society. The agents functionwithin the structure. Both the social structure and social agentsinfluence one another and none can function in the absence of theother (Foucault,138).The structuration theory study’s the agents at the individual andsocietal levels. The individuals make the society and it is thusimportant for social scientists to study social structures from theindividual to the societal level.

Thesocial structures act as the facilitators of human activity. Humanactivity in modern times is aided by technology. Technology is one ofthe social structures that accompany human activity and makes workeasier. Human activity and social structures are interrelated andthis is how the structure facilitates social activity (Giddens,36).This is known as structure- actor dualism. The process of relying onthe structure for human activity is learned through socialization,which teaches people how to use the social structure for activities.Conversely, social structures are the result of human activity aswell as the facilitators of the activities.

Postmodernismis also marked by the rise of the middle class. The middle class ischaracterized by distinct tastes and preferences. According toBourdieu, there is nothing like innocent judgment of taste. Modernlife involves making choices between what is aesthetically appealingand what is classified as trendy. Post modernity is characterized bysocial snobbery (Bourdieu,89).The distinct aesthetic choices made by people are all distinctionsmeaning that choices are made in opposition to options by otherclasses. Taste is not pure. The modern world is made up of differentsocial meanings that affect the decisions made. The social worldfunctions as a model of power negotiations and as a symbolic model inwhich minor distinctions of taste form the basis for social judgment.

Themodern world is full of social distinctions, created and perpetuatedby the middle class. The middle class places great importance onaesthetic value and judgment is based on this value. The distinctionbetween social groups is dominated by judgments that are merelyaesthetic in nature. Society has always been influenced by symbolism(Harvey,308).Symbolism is the value that people place on items that have socialvalue. The symbolism forms the basis for social judgments andinfluence human behavior. It is necessary to acknowledge that theculture has prevailed due to the rise of the middle class, which isdominant in modern society.

Accordingto Bourdieu, post modernity is made up of snobs. The decisions madeare not pure and they are based on subconscious competition. Thedecisions are influenced by judgment, which are not innocent(Bourdieu,180).Instead, the judgments are made in silent competition where a persontries to remain dominant. Tastes and preferences are influenced bythe snobbery culture, which is perpetuated by the middle class. Postmodernity is based on living in relation to the social institutions.The institutions are responsible for placing people in differentsocial classes.

Personaltaste is no longer influenced by culture only. Instead, socialclasses form an integral part of tastes and preferences.Traditionally, people based their taste on culture and thelimitations of their culture. However, the modern world ischaracterized by globalization and integration of cultures (Latour,98).The domination of the middle class also led to the rise of a newgroup in society that is consumerist in nature. The consumeristsociety is characterized by tastes and preferences, which bring aboutdistinction. The tastes and preferences are influenced by thesnobbery culture.

Educationplays a major role in determining one’s tastes and preferences.Education acts as the facilitator of higher social status than theone a person currently holds. The expectations that arise fromeducation create recognition for high culture, and knowledge. Mostchoices are made based on what is considered right in the norms ofthe class that a person belongs to (Foucault,30).Social norms influence decisions not because they are a person’sinherent preferences, but because they are considered sociallycorrect.

Additionally,social origin also has an influence on personal taste. Thedetermination on the type food to consume and person preferences suchas clothes is closely related to a person’s social origin(Bourdieu,63).These are things learned from one’s cultural backgrounds and whichare transmitted through socialization. Cultural backgrounds oftenform far reaching personal tastes that are not easily eroded byeducation (Harvey,309).The role of education is to enhance the personal tastes and placethem in relevant contexts within the social class.

Thereare a couple of explanations on the distinct influences of socialcapital and educational. The School and home are two very distinctsocial institutions for cultural goods, where people learn a sense ofcultural investment. Choices of every nature are rewarded or punishedaccording to the social norms of the environment (Harvey,321).&nbspBourdieu emphasized human desire for class distinction, using avariety of techniques to show economic power.Tasteis a way of naturalizing class differentiation. It is one’s natureand thus demonstrating and justifying class distinction (Bourdieu,156).At the higher end, it is an indication of economic power. In thissense, middle class tastes are a foil grounded on well establishedaesthetics and deprived of cultural capital to expand that area ofreference.

Postmodernity is also characterized by the rise of art and pop culture.According to Bourdieu, art is an item that has been assigned moreimportance than its actual function in society. Art is influenced bysocial norms and values which place importance of an item within acultural context (Bourdieu,96).A piece of art is associated with status, which is help in popularculture. The postmodern society institutionalizes such forms ofculture in the form of museums so as to assign it a level ofimportance within the social culture. This is the basis of popculture. It is characterized by hostility towards experimentationthat is as a result for the need to participate and not a fundamentalunderstanding of the culture.

` Tastesare developed as a way of differentiating and appreciating popculture. The role of taste is to show recognition for an item,without necessarily understanding what defines the item. Pop cultureassigns values to actions that are automatic and a response to humanneeds, such as the style of eating (Harvey,281).These are used to divide society based on social classes. Taste isability to master distributions. Taste is a form of socialorientation and it lends an individual sense of belonging withinsociety. Social agents thus, classify themselves into social classesbased on tastes.

Theclass to which a person belongs determines the person’s likes anddislikes. This is an indication that the likes and dislikes of aperson are socially constructed and they are not inborn feelings thatdevelop over time. Art and culture are used to legitimize socialdistinctions. The middle class or the ruling class determines thedominant culture in society and other people in society aspire toachieve this culture (Latour,121).The institutionalization of the dominant culture makes it stand outand all social structures are built around the dominant culture. Themiddle class is the most dominant class in modern society and itsculture thus, influences society.

Bourdieuwas influenced by structuralism in his social construction. He used aquantitative analysis to study the society and what influenced it.His interest was to understand the whole system o society and theforces that influenced it (Bourdieu,56).He used correspondence analysis to study the relationship betweendifferent aspects of society and how they influenced each other. Theresearch showed that the dominant class is the influential socialgroup of society and that most members of society, especially thoseof the lower class, aspired to attain the dominant class. The modeused to belong to this class is in the form of tastes andpreferences, which are guided by that class’ social norms andvalues.

Inconclusion, social sciences are concerned with the study ofindividuals in society. The social scientist studies the individualand his or her role in society. Social science is a discipline thatis practiced by studying society and understanding the factors thatmakeup and influence society. Society is a dynamic institution thatis comprised of individuals who interact through social structuresand institutions. The role of society is to give individuals a senseof belonging and offer support during interactions (Dahms,96).Social sciences are comprised of social theories, which are theguides to logical explanations of society.

Socialtheories are constructed through social research. Social researchuses different methodologies to study society and events in society.The study of society involves asking questions regarding socialevents. The role of theories is to explain social events and predictthe future. Good social theories that not only able to explain socialevents as they occur, they ought to also predict things that willhappen due the social forces operating in society (Dahms,61).Theoretical approaches used to explain social events are based on thenature of the events. Events shape social theories as theories areholistic explanations of social events. The theories group togethersimilar social events and then show the correlation between theevents.

Postmodernist theories are theories that are used to describe the natureof the technological age. This age is characterized by technology-mediated social interactions, which reduces the role of socialinteractions in society (Latour,56).The postmodern society is characterized by the rapid use oftechnology and changing nature of the interaction. Interaction is nowsymbolic and any social interaction is guided by the meaning that isattached to the object of interaction. The use of technology hasenhanced symbolism and interaction is now shaped by the socialsymbols that shape society. Postmodern theories focus on patterns ofinteraction within structures and how interaction is based on thevarious symbols that describe society.

Thestructuralism theory is a postmodern theory developed by AnthonyGiddens. The theory holds that the society is comprised of socialstructures, which are made up of social institutions. The socialstructures are constructed by individuals to guide socialinteractions. The social structures are bureaucratic in nature andare maintained through social institutions. The social institutionsallocate people different roles within the social structure. Thisallocation of duties is based on social capitals, which are theskills that are used to run a society (Haraway,103).The structure has hierarchies, which define the position theindividual holds in society.

Thestructural theory is based on the dualism of the social agent andsocial structure. The two depend on each other and they work towardsattaining equilibrium within the structure. The society is alwaysworking towards maintaining equilibrium in the social structure andthis means that the structure has means of resolving any conflictsthat may arise due to lack of equilibrium. Whenever there is aconflict within the social structure, the society comes up with meansof resolving the conflict so as to maintain equilibrium (Harvey,267).The social structure has people who are higher and lower than others.According to Giddens, this is important so as to maintain equilibriumas people cannot be at the same level.

Thedistinction theory is also a postmodern theory that explains the roleof the middle class in shaping society. Modern society is mainlycomprised of the middle class, which is defined by distinct tastesand preferences. The socialization process inculcates the tastes andpreferences of the middle class into individuals so as to belong tothe class (Haraway,58).The class is characterized by a desire to attach meaning to itemsthat do not belong to a particular culture so as to belong. Thedistinction theory holds that people act in relation to the actionsof others as the purpose is to belong. The behavior of individuals isshaped by that culture of the dominant group in society. The groupoften has distinct tastes and preferences that define it. Educationis main socialization agent for the postmodern society.


Bourdieu,P. 1987. Distinction: ASocial Critique of the Judgment of Taste.Reprint. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Dahms,Harry F. 2011. Thediversity of social theories.Bingley, U.K.: Emerald.

Foucault,M. 1984. TheFoucault reader.New York: Knopf Doubleday.

Giddens,Anthony. 1986. Theconstitution of society: outline of a theory of structuration.Berkeley: University of California Press.

Haraway,Donna Jeanne. 1989. Primatevisions: gender, race, and nature in the world of modern science.New York: Routledge.

Haraway,Donna Jeanne. 2000. Howlike a leaf: an interview with Thyrza Nichols Goodeve.New York: Routledge.

Harvey,D. Thecondition of postmodernity.Oxford: Blackwell.

Kuhn,Thomas S. 1996. Thestructure of scientific revolutions.3rd ed. Chicago: University ofChicago Press.

Latour,B. 1993. Wehave never been modern.Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Pred,Alan. 2004. Thepast is not dead.Minneapolis: University of Minnesota.

Sayer,R. Andrew. 1992. Methodin social science: a realist approach.2nd ed. London: Routledge.