An an Examination of Functionalism and Marxism.

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An Examination Of Functionalism and Marxism. Sociology as an academic discipline helps to erodes social, cultural and religious stereotypes, affording a greater understanding of the world around us, and the people in it. Sociology has many practical applications in healthcare, enabling healthcare professionals to treat the needs of an individual, as well as treating their illness or condition. A good example of this would be the transplantation of pig heart valves into human patients. This may be an inappropriate procedure to perform on a patient from an Islamic or Jewish society where the animal is considered unclean and even untouchable. This essay will examine the functionalist and the Marxist approaches to sociology. It will offer a brief explanation of these perspectives, then compare and contrast them in relation to their explanation of the structure of society and social change. Further it will examine the strengths and weaknesses of Marxism and functionalism as concepts. Functionalism is a consensus perspective. Functionalists believe that society is made up of many disparate parts each fulfilling their individual function, yet also working together for the common good. An excellent way to visualise the functionalist perspective is with the organic analogy made famous by Emile Durkheim in the late nineteenth century. Durkheim compared society to a complex living organism. The heart, lungs, kidneys etc each fulfil their individual roles whilst simultaneously working together to maintain the overall health of the body, or in the case of this analogy, the society. Functionalists believe that individuals can alter their position in society. Through education and hard work, a better life can be achieved. Functionalists tend to overlook inequality in society, whether it be the class divide, racial discrimination or discrimination on the basis of gender.

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