4. Discuss the similarities and differences between conflict/Marxist theories and functionalist theories in sociology. Marxism was founded by Karl Marx. Marx saw society as divided into two major parts, the economic base otherwise known as the infrastructure and the super-structure. Functionalists see society as a set of parts which work together to form a whole.
There are two major aspects in regards to the sociological perspective, the first being interaction between social structure and an individual and the idea of two levels of analysis. When it comes to the interaction of social structure and the individual, sociologists tend to concentrate not so much on the characteristics of an individuals behavior but rather on the precedents that are collective amongst individuals in regards to society and groups around them. The key to grasping sociology comes from the inevitability and repetition, which are seen in customary social behaviors throughout society and individuals. Social structures are socially embodied in the actions, thoughts, beliefs, and long-lasting temperaments of individual human beings. The typical being often has a
In the position as a student of sociology, I believe the Functionalist theory best describes society. The functionalist theory is viewed to sociologist as society to a living organism. Each part serves an important role in keeping society together. Many sociologist classify this theory as macro-level; large in scale. Including social institutions, a system of behavioral and relationship patterns, having specific roles to perform to make society.
Structural action, in other words structuralism, is a perspective which is concerned with the overall structure of society and sees individual behavior molded by social institutions like the family, the educations, the mass media and work. The relationship between individual and society in structuralism is referred as a macro approach which is focusing on the large scale structure of society as a whole. For example, the effects of industrialization on older people's status, or how gender and income affect older people's well-being. Functionalism and Marxism are two main varieties of structuralism. Functionalism, is a sociological perspective, which sees society, as made up of parts which work together to maintain society as an integrated whole, like a human body.
Sociologists do not simply declare their beliefs indisputable truths – they do research to determine whether those beliefs are correct. Their investigations are rooted in the scientific method that distinguishes the sociological perspective from “commonsense” interpretations of the world. The sociological perspective emphasizes that people’s thoughts and action are strongly influenced by the groups to which they belong as well as by impinging social factors such as beliefs, values, practices and institutions. From birth to death individuals are imbedded within and influenced by groups and larger structures. As sociologists our main goal is to understand social situations and look for repeating patterns in society.
Or we can say that conflict theory deals with the incompatible aspects of human society. Conflict theory emerged out of the sociology of conflict, crisis and social change. Consensus theory, on the other hand, is a sociological perspective or collection of theories, in which social order and stability/social regulation forms the base of emphasis. In other words consensus theory is concerned with the maintenance or continuation of social order in society; in relation to accepted norms, values, rules and regulations as widely accepted or collectively by the society-or within a particular society- itself. It Emerged out of the sociology of social order and social stability/social regulation.
Browne once said "sociological perspectives centre on how much freedom or control the individual had to influence society" He goes on to comment on the two main approaches "structuralism is concerned with the overall structure of society and the way social institutions act as a constraint, or limit and control individual behaviour". Structuralism offers a view of the individual being controlled by the society they live in, Marx and Durkheim are similar in that they can both be described as structuralists, however their individual ideas are somewhat different. Functionalism was developed by Emile Durkheim, he believed like Comte that sociology should be viewed as a precise science and that society should be studied objectively. Durkheim placed an enormous amount of emphasis on social facts which he saw as ways of acting, thinking or feeling that are external to individuals and have their own reality outside the lives and perceptions of individual people. This is known as the macro approach, which places a great emphasis on the structure of society and how an individual operates with that society.
However Marxists would argue that social problems such as underachievement are simply aspects of a wider structure of class inequality, and unlike functionalists, they do not see the state and its policies beneficial to all members of society. In Marxists view, the state represents the ruling class, and social policies serve the interests of capitalism as opposed to society as a whole. For example Marxists would state that social policies, such as the NHS, maintain the labour force for further exploitation. From a social democratic approach, sociologists, such as Townsend, believe that sociologist
Sociological theories are complex theoretical and methodological frameworks used to analyze and explain objects of social study. Each theory has its strengths and weaknesses. The focus of this essay will be on functionalism and its contributions to the understanding of society today. Functionalism goes back a long way in history with its views and theories on society, with the work of Spencer and Comte. Its theories were then taken on within the work of Emile Durkheim and a lot more recently by Talcott Parsons in America 1940-50's.
Social structure has to be seen as comprising both institutions and relations. There are two major approaches to ‘contemporary social theory’, the Marxian materialist approach and the structural functionalist approach. The materialist approach was developed from the work of Karl Marx (1818), who believed that the economic order shapes society. The functionalist approach was developed from the work of Comte and Durkheim, stating that is the combination of all of society's institutions that shapes