Explain the Principal Sociological Perspectives

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Functionalism (A macro-theory) ‘The theory of design that the form of a thing should be determined by its use’ (1). ‘The Consensus Model’ or ‘Functionalism’ as it is better known is the theory whereby each person has a role to play in society and when each person adheres to their role, society is able to function efficiently. Therefore, this theory also believes that if one part of society is removed or isn’t in place, society won’t function. In 1949, the theorist, George Murdock (1897 – 1985) conducted a study of the family’s function and contribution within society, whereby he examined over 250 different types of society. He claimed that he had found some form of family in all of them but within each society, four functions that he had found remained the same: - The sexual function allowed for the expression of sexuality in an approved context. - The reproductive function provided stability for the rearing of children. - Socialisation included the responsibility of teaching children the acceptable ways of behaving in society. - The economic function meant that food, shelter and financial security had to be provided for family members. (2) ‘Functionalists’ also believe that for society to continue to function, it must not become static. It must continue to evolve, therefore enabling it to continue to function. This has become particularly evident, even in just the past 50 years. In 1591, a priest named Edmund Gennings, from Lichfield was convicted of and subsequently hung, drawn and quartered on the charge of treason (3).Today however, society is entitled to ‘freedom of speech’. This is just one of the many ways that society has evolved over the years. For every theory however, there will always be criticisms. ‘Functionalism’ is a theory that does not address the conflicts that occur in modern societies and it is based on the idea that all
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