Sociological Conflict Theory

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Teenage suicide, the third leading cause of death for those 13-18 years old, is a complexity of issues which culminates in a catastrophic action, the causation of which can only be partially examined or explained by the 3 main sociological theories. Functionalism would attempt to illustrate suicide as a working part of society—the weak and possibly the unsuccessful eliminate themselves, allowing society to devote resources to other issues. A con of this theory is that it does not address the issue; what motivated suicide may be a significant issue within society. Another con of this theory is that it fails to see global perspective and even a family view, thereby forcing society to use resources on family; this could be more costly than assisting the anomie. Another theory why teenage suicide is functional to our society is that failed suicide attempts give us invaluable information into the minds of those in this desperate state. A study was taken of teenagers who had attempted suicide in British Columbia. It found common denominators such as problems in their family situations, the pressure to excel, and low self-esteem. The data collected shows an example of functionalism because it can prevent future suicides. Although suicide is perceived as a completely personal act, it creates negative latent functions that echo throughout society as a whole. When economic times are tough, some social welfare programs may be cut leading to higher suicide rates. One example is that in Europe suicide can affect how economic decisions are made by the government’s welfare programs (International Journal of Social Welfare Article published online: 9 FEB 2011). This ultimately decreases the size of the work force possibly negatively effecting economic recovery. The Marx Conflict Theory does an exemplary job in outlining the precursors for teenage suicide by exposing the underlying conflict existing between classes. This class conflict can be easily seen in American high school...
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