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Assess the Functionalist Theory of Culture Essay

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Culture is defined as the learned, shared behaviour of the members of a society including values, norms and meanings. It’s a focal point of our being and has the ability to unite or damage a society and furthermore a nation. There are many theories surrounding the importance and functionality of culture and in this essay, I will be assessing the Functionalists’ theories and contrasting it with alternative sociological points of view.
Similar to their theory of socialization, Item A reveals the functionalist theory of everything in society performing a function in order to create a value consensus. Durkheim is a firm supporter of this theory and believes that social order is held together by attitudes of solidarity which play the role of ensuring the survival of a well integrated society in which everything and everybody is a piece of   a jigsaw that fits together to create a bigger picture. A different explanation of culture has been offered by Marxists who criticize culture to evoke social conflict where the bourgeoisie exploit the proletariat as is explained in Marx’s base/superstructure model. The model reveals the relationship between the bourgeoisie who own the means of production and “defenceless” proletariat who are forced to work for an undervalued wage yet still accept their situation due to exploitation and corruption. In support of Durkheim’s view is the fact that the majority of students attend college and further still to university because of a shared belief that education is the key to the better earning jobs in life however this could be reversed to support the Marxists as we pay nine thousand pounds for education in order to gain jobs under the ruling class which ultimately benefit and profit the bourgeoisie so both points are relevant even still in recent times.   Further support of Durkheim’s theory of value consensus is Kidd’s view of culture, which sees it as a key society feature in order to create order and harmony as is shown in Item A....

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