Answer to Question #132239 in Sociology for Em

Question #132239

What is an example of interpretive sociology

Expert's answer

Interpretive sociology is an approach that focuses on understanding the meaning of social action. This study recognizes that the beliefs, subjective experience, and conduct of people are just as essential to study as objective facts. In layman's term, it is an endeavor to walk in someone else's shoes and view the world as they see it. This model emphasizes the uniqueness of social action. Because humans have a subjective inner world, it is necessary to develop a different concept and framework to study this aspect (Weber, 1978). Therefore, Weber's notion that sociologists must attend to how social life is interpreted continues to have a prominent impact.

One example of interpretive sociology is the study of race and the social issues that are related to it. This research illustrates how income, education level, class, and voting patterns differ based on race. It also shows a clear relationship between race and social trends (Johnson, Boyden & Pitzz, 2001). In the U.S., Asians-Americans are more probable to get a degree, followed by Whites, Blacks, then Latinos and Hispanics. There is a considerable gap of 60% between the Asian-Americans and Hispanic and Latino students. This is why a sociologist, Gilda Ochoa, used the interpretive model to study why this gap exists. She carried out a long- term ethnographic examination at California high school. Her book, "Academic Profiling: Latinos, Asian Americans, and the Achievement Gap," is based on observations in the school and interviews from students, parents, staff, and faculty. This study shows how unequal access to opportunities, differential treatment of students, class and racist assumptions of students, and their family in the school leads to the performance gap between the two (Murillo, 2014). Therefore, social factors have a lot to do with the performance of students at school.

Furthermore, Ochoa argues that school administrators use an ethnic deficient point of view to explain the vast gap in academic performance between racial groups. Asian American students are considered more intelligent, whereas Latinos are viewed as valuing fun more than education. These views are used by staff to critique Latino parents for showing little interest in their children's education while commending Asian-Americans parents for valuing their children's education (Ochoa, 2013). Ochoa also demonstrates how tracking influences school policies and student treatment. High- track students are held to higher academic standards while low- track students encounter more jarring academic discipline. Special treatment is also afforded to high-track students; they can easily access their academic counselor, and their presence in certain parts of the school is unquestioned. In contrast, low-tracked students are labeled as gangsters and policed, hindering them from achieving the same access to academic counselors and teaching materials as high-track students. This evidence of differential student treatment influences the performances of Asian-American and Latino students (Ochoa et al, 2013). According to Blumer (1969), it is not roles and ethics that guide action, but our intuitions and expositions of these that matter. Therefore, Ochoa exposes how personal interpretations and perceptions through policing hinders a non-judgemental and supportive environment for students.

In conclusion, Ochoa's approach of interpretive sociology towards how social trends influence the gap in education between the Asian Americans and Latinos to counter common assumptions that Latinos are intellectually deficient and Asian Americans are more academically inclined. This research is an excellent demonstration of why interpretive sociological research should be conducted.


Blumer, H. (1969). Symbolic Interactionism: Perspective and Method. Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs NJ.

Johnson, T., Boyden, J. E., & Pittz, W. J. (2001). Racial Profiling and Punishment in US Public Schools: How Zero Tolerance Policies and High Stakes Testing Subvert Academic Excellence and Racial Equity. Research Report [and] Executive Summary.

Murillo, M. A. (2014). Book Review: Academic Profiling: Latinos, Asian Americans, and the Achievement Gap. InterActions: UCLA Journal of Education and Information Studies10(2).

Ochoa, G. L. (2013). Academic Profiling: Latinos, Asian Americans, and the achievement gap. U of Minnesota Press.

Weber, M. (1978) Economy and Society Volumes 1 & 2., ed. by R. Wittich & C. Wittich. University of California Press, Berkeley, CA.

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