Functionalism is a macro, structuralist theory. This means they see human behaviour being shaped as an influence of social forces. It is also seen as a consensus theory, as functionalists’ argue that, individuals are socialised into a shared value to ensure conformity and social order. However, this functionalists approach is criticised by action theorists, as they argue that individuals create society through their interactions. Unlike other functionalists, Parsons argues that individuals are integrated through socialisation and social order.
As stated in Giddens, sociologists who support this theory see individuals as not created by society but as the creators of society. Both the functional and conflict perspective, study society on a macro level. Unlike the micro study of society that looks to the individual, structural theory instead looks to society as a whole. Supporters of this theory view society as the creator of the individual, it is believed that the rules norms and values of society influence and govern the individuals. This essay will look at that two structural theories of functionalism and Marxists, it will compare and contrast both perspectives and identify similarities and differences in their views of on education family, as well as highlighting the strengths and a weaknesses in both perspectives.
Functionalism is a macro theory, which looks at society as a whole rather than focuses on each individual. It is a theory that concentrates on the harmony between social institutions in society that is based on a consensus view rather than a conflict view as a Marxism theory. As a comparison to society as a whole, Functionalists use an organic analogy as an example. Each organ of the human body has a different job to do and if one part became ill or diseased, the rest could be contaminated or will produce changes in other parts. Similarly the operation of any society is dependent on its social institutions as they provide vital functions which maintain harmony, stability and solidarity within a society.
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.
Assess the contribution of functionalism to our understanding of society. The functionalist theory is a based on consensual structuralism. This means that they way how society is view is on a top-down/macro scale which looks at the way how society's institutes shape how and who we are. Functionalisms main concepts consist of society having a value consensus, meritocracy, specialised roles and social cohesion. Emile Durkheim is one of the most influential sociologists in the early stages of functionalism.
Susan Mckinley Compare and contrast the views of Goffman and Foucault on how social order is produced. The many theories of social order are fundamental in social science research. This essay will explore the creation of social order and why it is important. It will examine the similarities and differences between the perspectives of Erving Goffman and Michael Foucault on how social order is produced whilst reflecting on how these perspectives relate to studies of social disorder. As a human, each one of us is an individual being with feelings, thoughts and experiences, living within our own physical body, but we are also social beings who need contact, support and interaction.
This set of ideas, attitudes and opinions is what influences social policy. The type of social policy adopted by a society will have a strong influence on that society's structure and the quality of life of its citizens. The concept of welfare relates to the way a society ensures the 'well-being' of its citizens. A society has to decide who should be responsible for its well-being and in what circumstances. Society has to choose which needs to meet and how it will cope with social
Assess the strengths and weaknesses of the functionalist approach to society...(33 marks) Functionalism is a macro, consensus theory. They see human behaviour as being influenced by social forces, because it is a macro-scale approach is therefore seen as a strength as it allows functionalist sociologists to observe society, and its institutions, as a whole. Functionalists argue that, individuals are socialised into a shared value which is also known as a value consensus to ensure conformity and social order. However, this functionalists approach is criticised by action theorists, as they argue that individuals create society through their interactions. Marxists may argue that these norms and beliefs are all in interest of the Bourgeoisie and they can prevent or make change by ideological manipulation or force.
Common sense views tend to reflect social traditions and conventions and therefore tend to reinforce the status quo and resist social change. Conflict approaches in sociology raise serious questions about the status quo and call for social change. 3. Common sense views tend to be historically and culturally specific and are often based on stereotypical images. Interactionist / social action theories recognize that social life is socially constructed and relative to time and place.
It was developed by other sociologists in the 20th century and was a popular idea until the 1970s when it came under criticism from new ideas. Functionalism is most often associated with sociology and sociocultural anthropology. Functionalism focuses on the structure and workings of society. Functionalists see society as made up of inter-dependent sections which work together to fulfill the functions necessary for the survival of society as a whole. People are socialized into roles and behaviours which fulfill the needs of society.