Sociology is described by Layder (2006, p.1) as being “How the encounters of everyday life and individual behaviour influence, and are influenced by, the wider social environment in which we live”
Bauman & May (2001. p.1) describe a visual image of the output of sociology, as being a “collection of books in a library”. The discussion within this collection broadly follows main concepts and perspectives, with many authors, but also of key peer tested Authors.
I will initially outline the main concepts and main perspectives from a selection of these authors, and aim to conclude, that is is the “sociological thinking” gained from “unpacking” this knowledge, that can be applied to Social Work today. “Social theory, consists of major authors, perspectives and key issues, there are many different strands, that although have obstacles, can be drawn together can be connected in the study of Sociological knowledge” Layder (2006, preface). Specifically I will look at the Professional competence Framework (2012) section 5.1 “be able to reflect on and take account of the impact of inequality, disadvantage and discrimination on those who use social work”
And focus on the application of Sociological thinking in Anti Oppressive Practise.
Social Theory parallels with Philosophy in that, whilst Sociology is a social science, the question of from what position do we form our concepts? exists. there are generally three viewpoints, referred to as, three dualisms in Sociology. Giddens (2013 chapter 1) suggests that the most important questions facing theory are not the potential obstacles and divisions in the dualisms, but “how the different aspects of social reality are related to each other”
Individual and society
This is widely regarded as the most basic dualism and the oldest. Put simply, individuals are viewed as completely separate from society. In 1987 M Thatcher, M stated "... many people have been given to understand that if they have a problem, it's the government's job to cope with it. 'I have a problem, I'll get a grant.' 'I'm homeless, the government must house me.' They're casting their problem on society. And, you know, there is no such thing as society “.
In direct opposite, Layder (2006) stated that it is important to not abandon this theory “as without it the idea of unique self identities would disappear”. Also the general criticism of this dualism is we are separate from social influences, which Bilton (1996 p.15) argues that“it is too simple to separate societies into Individuals on one side and society on the other”.
This is often described as being the most adequate way of thinking about the interconnections between different features of social life, Layder (2006). Giddens (2013 p.ix) talks about the “micro-macro” link and that “interactions in micro-level contexts actually impact on the larger world of social institutions. But that the latter also influence our everyday lives in profound ways”....