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How to recognize social forces that influence your life with sociological perspective | Writing on Waves

A Sociological Perspective is the lens used by sociologist to see society. This term was first described by Peter Berger.

You can apply the sociological perspective to identify social forces behind our behaviors.

Here, we will explore Berger’s two ideas in the Sociological Perspective.

  1. See the General in the Particular
  2. See the Strange in the Familiar

By becoming aware of these different perspectives, you can start to recognize the mutual influence between people and their society. In turn, this realization helps us understand why people behave the way they do.

See an example of these perspectives here.

Berger’s First Concept: To See the General in the Particular

There is an organized structure to our society. This system runs and shapes our lives. The law manages the rules, schools educates us, and the economy gives us jobs. Everyone has found their place in society, and society influences us in different ways. That leads us to live individual lives.

This is where Berger’s lens of seeing the “general in the particular” comes in. He urges us to look at the bigger picture. To imagine your role in the whole of society. Wider social issues not only affect you, but also everybody else.

Seeing General Social Patterns

Seeing the general in the particular means to recognize larger social patterns in your life. Seemingly unique circumstances happening to you originates from a larger social force. These social issues not only affect you, but also everybody else.

There is an emphasis on the fact that we should see beyond what is in front of our eyes. Say your company is undergoing mass layoffs, and you were let go. Now you are out of a job, with no income source. Cost of living is now a major concern for you.

The general in the particular means recognizing larger social patterns. This seemingly unique circumstance happening to you originates from a larger social force. Look at the general trend: other companies are doing the same thing. This mass layoff is affecting not only you, but tens of thousands of other people.

Here is the general pattern: companies are impacted by wider economic situations, and even tax increases. This would lead to the downstream effect of corporate downsizing. On the surface level, it seems that we all have unique lives. We have our own unique problems to deal with.

However, if you recognize the general in the particular, you can see that your problems are also experienced by other people as well. You are not alone.

Continue reading to learn about the second perspective: seeing the strange in the familiar.

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