The ability to see the impact of social forces on private lives (coined: C. Wright Mills, 1959)
Society is complex with interrelated parts, stable Parts have manifest and latent functions (intended and unintended) S-F theorists ignore disfunctions (negative functions or consequences) Also, individualism is largely ignored. A macro theory.
Social Conflict Paradigm
Society is made of competing interests, resulting in hierarchy and unequal resources. Emphasis on conflicts and the reasons for them. A macro theory.
Symbolic Interaction Paradigm
Society is defined by our interactions and the meanings we give to them. In this paradigm, there is no true "reality"- reality (and our society) is constantly in flux Symbols, cultures, values important. A micro theory, because it focuses on individuals
Marginality and crisis
Some argue being on the "edge" of society or in a time of crisis helps one notice the problems of society more, and causes one to critique society more. Crisis forces "reexamining"
Our lives and society are affected by global dynamics, increasingly so in the age of improved technology and travel. World "superpowers" often have more influence than we realize - ie, the US' cultural impact in technology and other trends worldwide