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Time to reflect

UNDERSTANDING SOCIOLOGY 2: Understanding Sociological Theory. 60-minute video and teacher's notesBy Steve TaylorHalo Vine Video Pounds 44.65 incl VATFrom Halo Vine Video, PO Box 104, Hinckley, LE10 2WW.

Everyone thinks sociology is easy except the people taking it," Steve Taylor says in the opening frame of his film. He concedes that the subject sometimes presents itself through a "strange theoretical language of ologies, ities and isms", but goes on to offer a clear explanation of three key theoretical perspectives - structural functionalism, Marxism and symbolic interactionism.

Punctuated by subtitles and divided into short chunks that end with a cue to "pause" the tape, Taylor's one-hour film (the second in a series of three) is a lucid introduction to the minefield of sociological theory.

The commentary considers the historical context in which each approach has emerged, applies it to the case of educa-tion, and invites the viewer to consider the professionalisation of health care in modern society.

Taylor concludes by likening the range of sociological theories to a "hall of social mirrors", each illuminating aspects of society but failing to present a complete picture.His video provides a succinct and enjoyable introduction, to sociological theory, and to sociology itself.

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