We have to employ the top-down approach when we use a sociological perspective; that is "seeing the general in the particular." Since we usually think that we are capable of free choice, looking into the impact of society in our own lives is not commonsensical at first. The research done by Emile Durkheim on suicide suggests that even the most individual and personal of choices that we make are influenced by society. Using a global perspective is becoming increasingly important as people in the world are becoming interconnected. Likewise, we know that issues go beyond national boundaries and that thinking globally also help us learn more about ourselves. People who are not in the mainstream are more likely to be aware of how society impacts the individual. In fact, it is at times of social crisis that we are likely to engage in social thinking. The advantages of using this perspective includes (1) the way it challenges our commonsensical view of things, (2) the way it helps us recognize the benefits and limitations that structure our lives, (3) the way it leads us to participate more in society, and (4) the way it helps us appreciate differences and similarities across nations. It was Auguste Comte who coined the name "sociology" in 1838. Comte employed a more scientific approach in social thinking. The industrialization of Europe in the 18th and 19th centuries bring about the emergence of the discipline of sociology.
We connect insights and theory to explain social life. There are various sociological theories and paradigms that help us understand the operations of society. First, we have the structural-functional paradigm, that explains society in terms of order, balance structure, stability and harmony and downplays issues that has to do with conflict and change. Second, we have the social-conflict paradigm that emphasizes the importance of conflict and change in understanding society. The first two paradigms are macro-level approaches, the third known as the symbolic-interaction paradigm is a micro-level approach that seeks to understand the interplay of behavior and meanings in specific settings. Using all of these three approaches can generate the best way to understand any social phenomena as each one of them has its own advantages and disadvantages.