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Sociology in Everyday Life: Applying MA Concepts to Understand Daily Interactions

February 20th, 2024: 5 mins

This article explores: 

  • What is sociology? 
  • Applications of Sociology in Everyday Life
  • Social Roles 
  • Conflict Theory 
  • Symbolic Interactionism 
  • Emotional Expectations 
  • Structural Functionalism 


Are you interested in learning about society, social relationships, and human behavior? Then, pursuing sociology might be the right path for you. 


The American Sociological Association defines the subject as a ‘study of social life, social change and the social causes and consequences of human behavior’. 


Pursuing an MA in sociology will teach you theories that offer insights into the ways by which people and groups interact with each other and with the wider society. 


Understanding and applying sociological theories to everyday life can help us gain a deep understanding of the social world and the forces shaping it. Let’s explore the sociological framework in action

What is Sociology? 

Sociology is the study of human social relationships and institutions. The subject unifies diverse concepts - such as religion, culture, social class, beliefs, etc. - to understand how human consciousness and actions shape society today. 


It is the study of life in action - understanding how people act, react, and evolve in social groups while examining the causes that influence the behavior. An important premise of the sociological worldview is that people and society are intertwined. Having a proper sociological understanding can help in analyzing and taking a stand against the problems. 


Sociology encourages people to question the status quo and stand against prevailing norms. It encourages individuals to engage in meaningful discussions to identify societal inequalities and advocate for change. 

Applications of Sociology in Everyday Life

Applications of Sociology in Everyday Life

Whether addressing issues of poverty, gender inequality, environmental sustainability, or racism, sociology offers valuable tools and insights for social progress. Here, we will see some of the sociology concepts application in our daily lives. 

  1. Social Roles 

As humans, we tend to assign social roles to our interactions. One of the best examples of this is gender roles. In many parts of the world, it is still seen that women are considered inferior to men. Sociologists study why women in society are expected to behave in a particular manner and how it contributes to larger issues such as the wage gap. 


The gender wage gap has been a pressing issue for decades now. A study showed that women earned an average of 82% of what men earn. 


Society defines ‘roles’ and creates predictable expectations of behavior - an individual's behavior should correspond with the social role. 


For instance, if the janitor working in a company tells a political joke to the boss, it might be considered inappropriate and offensive. However, if the janitor tells the same joke to its friend, it may not be perceived offensively or inappropriately. Applying sociology in daily life can help identify these set social roles. 

  1. Conflict Theory 

The conflict theory suggests that society is filled with inequality at every step, and there are conflicts between groups of different social statuses. Sociologists are trying to evaluate what is social class, how it is created, what fuels it, and what inequalities occur as a result. 


Social inequality leads to an imbalance in the distribution of resources and wealth, impacting social class, social standing, and social life. 


For instance, in a work environment, there is a power dynamic existing between various groups of workers, like employees and managers. This power dynamic contributes to the distribution of resources. 

  1. Symbolic Interactionism

This sociology theory focuses on how individuals interact with one another with shared symbols and meanings. In our world, different behaviors, gestures, objects, and events have different meanings. 


In today's world, where people use text messages to communicate all kinds of emotions, emoticons are a great example of this. The smiling emoji is used as an expression of happiness. However, sometimes, it can also be used as a symbol of passive aggressiveness. 

  1. Emotional Expectations 

Emotional expression is not an easy physiological response to stimuli. Many factors often contribute to people expressing their emotions. One such factor can be the gender roles established in society. 


For instance, there is an unwritten rule in society that men are not supposed to show emotions. It is not considered as a masculine trait. With these behavioral expectations, people often express emotions differently according to societal norms. This again contributes to a larger societal issue - gender inequality. 

  1. Structural-Functionalism

This theory suggests that society is made up of interconnected parts. These parts have specific functions to perform. With the proper functioning of each part, society tends to work harmoniously. 


For instance, in a work environment, there are different roles present. The employees, the manager, and the support staff- each role plays a specific part, and the way these roles are performed determines the course of functioning within an organization. 

Summing Up

Sociology helps us understand day-to-day human behavior to make sense of the diverse beliefs, values, and perspectives coexisting in our society. With the practical application of sociology, we can understand the existing power structure and systems and work towards creating a fairer society. 


If you want to work in the field of sociology, pursuing online MA programs with a specialization in sociology can help you build a promising career. Their curriculum is designed to help you learn the fundamentals of sociology and build necessary skills. It also trains you to perform sociological analysis of daily life

Seek guidance at upGrad Disha to get a better perspective on your career opportunities.