Compare and Contrast the Main Tenet of the Functionalist and Conflict Perspectives.

Topics: Sociology, Karl Marx, Structural functionalism Pages: 3 (891 words) Published: October 15, 2010
Topic:The conflict perspective views society less as a cohesive system and more as an arena of conflict and power struggles. Compare and contrast the main tenet of the Functionalist and Conflict Perspectives.

Over the years, sociologist has put forward their views when it came to defining, studding and understanding society. Society can be defined as a group or unit of people living in a geographical area, sharing a similar background and/or culture. In sociological term, a society is any group of people living together in a group, comprising a single community and whose members are interdependent. To sociologists who are involved in the systematic study of society, “the important aspect of defining society is its group structure/framework.” Karl Marx did not see society as being a harmonious and well integrated system as Emile Durkheim did, but he instead saw it as an arena of conflict and competing interests. Conflict may be defined as “an open clash between two opposing groups/individuals.” Perspective refers to a specific view that an individual has on a situation or topic. Emile Durkheim was the founding father of the Functionalist Perspective. He saw society as a balance system made up of interrelated and interdependent parts. Karl Marx however looked at human social life from a completely different perspective than the functionalist. His work provided the foundation for the Conflict Perspective. The Functionalist Perspective saw society in a positive manner and sees it as stable, with all the parts working together, while the Conflict Perspective saw society as having two (2) classes: bourgeoisie (lower class0 and the proletariat (upper/working class). They saw where there would always be war, chaos and conflict between the two groups because capitalism gave the proletariat power and control over resources so they exploited the lower class. Conflict theory along with the Functionalist theory both view society as a system. Karl Marx (Conflict...
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