Theoretcial Perspectives Essay

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There are three theoretical perspectives commonly used in Sociology. They are the functionalist perspective, the conflict perspective, and the interactionist perspective. The functionalist perspective is defined in the text as a sociological approach that emphasizes the way that the parts of a society are structured to maintain its stability (Schaefer 14). It looks at how aspects of society are functional. This perspective views society as stable and well integrated; the individual as socialized to perform societal functions; and social order as maintained through cooperation and consensus (Schaefer 19). Functionalists see society like a human body, in which institutions like education are like important organs that keep the body/society healthy and well. Education is important to socialize children and teenagers. Socialization is the process through which people learn the attitudes, values, and actions appropriate for members of a particular culture (Schaefer 37). The conflict perspective is defined in the text as a sociological approach that assumes that social behavior is best understood in terms of conflict or tension between competing groups (Schaefer 15). It’s the competition for scarce resources and how the elite control the poor and week (CliffNotes). This perspective views society as characterized by tension and struggle between groups; the individual as shaped by power, coercion, and authority; and social order as maintained through force and coercion (Schaefer 19). Conflict theorists view education as an instrument of elite domination and thinks that schools take away students individualism and creativity (Schaefer 220). Some conflict theorists believe education is controlled by the state which is controlled by the powerful, and its purpose is to reproduce existing inequalities, as well as legitimize ‘acceptable’ ideas which actually work to reinforce the
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