Main Theories in Sociology

Topics: Sociology, Feminism, Individual Pages: 6 (2411 words) Published: June 24, 2013
Outline and briefly discuss the main theories in Sociology
In sociology there are several theories that each has different perspectives, concepts and views on the way society is. The main ones are Functionalism which looks at society as a whole, Marxism which reject the idea that society is based on a consensus and Interpretism which is where it looks at the individuals look on society rather than society. Feminisms is a list of views written by women on the role of women in society, Postmodernism which is where there are trends in society that show modernity is dissolving and The New Right which is a more political perspective associated with the government. All the theories argue that their perspective is right and people can use these theories to see where they fit in. If a person’s view were similar to a theory’s then they would probably agree with everything to do with that theory. The theory Functionalism is where they see an individual person as less important than the social structure of society; it sees society as a living thing where all parts of society are working in harmony to stabilise society. They say norms, values and culture are all organs of the society and they must function together for society to work as if society is a body, like as a whole. This links with their approach on society because they see it as a whole which is macro, this means they look at it as a whole. Functionalists are very positive people and they always see the good in everything that happens around them. They also believe that society is based on a consensus, which is that we are all socialised to agree on how to behave and what is right and wrong. There is a top down look on society where it emphasises that an individual is a product of society. Structural theories suggest that behaviour is influenced by the structure and working of society, so if order didn’t exist they say we would be confused and uncertain about our or others values then it would results in chaos and anarchy. Structural theories also suggest that agencies play an important part of interconnecting roles and expectations between these institutions. The strengths of this theory is that it acknowledges that we are influenced by socialisation so some aspects of this theory can be agreed with whether you are functionalist or not. They are optimistic so they always look at things in a good so it’s as if nothing bad ever happens which could mean they live a less stressful lifestyle. They say society is based on a consensus which is when people have a general agreement on something, but it has also produced a stable society because then it results in everyone getting along. The weaknesses of this theory is that there is poverty in society where people are much poorer than other which means that this theory cannot be true as not everybody can be as optimistic as each other. There is also crime, conflict and war which are all negative aspects of society but these happen and functionalists do not include these institutions. I believe that all parts of society must work together in some way for it to carry on being a society, but I don’t agree that functionalists don’t look individuals because individuals do have a choice each person has a choice to do what they want it just depends how they’ve been socialised to see what path they actually take. The theory Marxism rejects all other theories that convey the idea that society is based on a consensus. They argue that there are inequalities between people based on power and wealth, and that these differences lead to less powerful groups developing sub-cultures in response to and in resistance to the dominant culture. It is simply the divide between a worker and a boss in the workplace. Karl Marx has a theory which says we live in a system called capitalism; it divided everyone into two classes the bourgeoisie (the ruling class) and the proletariat (the workers). It’s a structural theory, in the fact that it sees the social...
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