Sociologists study human society. Their studies include human behavior in many social contexts such as social interaction, social institutions and organization, social change and development (Abraham). Because of the broad spectrum of social circumstances that are studied, unemployment is an issue in which sociologists thrive. Conflict in the areas of age, race, gender, and disability is common among the employed as well as the unemployed. From a sociological perspective, unemployment can be studied through both the Functionalist Theory and Conflict Theory. It also touches upon the results of unemployment in societies and institutions such as family, education, government, and health. Unemployment affects almost everyone to some extent in their lives, and the need to understand how to deal with the issue is becoming more and more important to society.
One sociological perspective on unemployment can be taken from the famous Functionalist Theory. Functionalists believe everything serves a specific function in our society and these functions need to be understood (Kendall 23).
The theorist behind functionalism is Durkheim. Durkheim's concern was how to preserve society. The basis for social order was not economic, but rather moral. In a functionalist society, everyone has a role and a purpose. In order for this theory to be successful, the individuals in a
society need to believe everything is in their best interest. In this modern age, this seems nearly impossible. Looking at unemployment from a realist's perspective, one might say that the population in the world is too high for every individual to serve a specific purpose, when so many businesses and agencies require similar talent among their employees, making them almost interchangeable with one another. While that is a harsh approach and contradicts the functionalist theory, it does not entirely count it out. Functionalism states that everything does have its own...