Sociology notes

Topics: Sociology, Marxism, Capitalism Pages: 23 (7044 words) Published: March 27, 2014
Sociological Theory of Functionalism
Sociology is a study of social facts (money, law or language) which are objective, external and constraining. Society cannot be reduced to the motives of individuals. Social facts explain how an action can be shaped by patterns of integration and regulation. Focused on how society hangs together through a collective conscience. Parson

Society is a functional unit e.g. acts as a biological organism (regulates inter-related parts that fit together). For the social system to function and survive it must fulfil specific needs- functional pre-requisites. E.g. personality system- connected to the social system through the social role. Social roles are learned expectations of how to behave in a given situation and over time these roles become institutionalised in the social system, passed on through socialisation (internalising norms) and social control (conform= rewards, deviate= punished). Collective conscience= social order. Social order is only possible if they agree on a value consensus (acts as a glue to hold society together). He links the social structure to social action and suggests that people can choose their own course of action. Pattern variables- represent range of dilemmas people encounter in social action (differences may occur according to the type of society e.g. traditional vs modern). Differences between the norms of traditional + modern societies Traditional societies (pattern variable A)

Modern societies (pattern variable B)
Ascription – status is based on fixed characteristics such as gender Achievment – status is based on performance such as effort in education Diffuseness – Relationships are broad with a range of purposes Specificy – Relationships are narrow and limited to specific purposes Particularism – Norms emphasise treating different people differently Universalism – Norms emphasise everyone being treated the same Affectivity – Immediate gratification of desires

Affective neutrality – Deferred gratification
Collective Orientation- Putting the groups intrests first
Self orientation – individualism , pursuing ones own self – interests

GAIL Model
Systems needs:
Goal attainment - goals are set and resources are allocated to achieve them; political sub-system e.g. parliament Adaptation - meet material needs; economic sub-system
Integration - different parts of society must be integrated to pursue shared goals; sub-system of religion, education and medi Latency - maintain society overtime; kinship sub-system via pattern maintenance- socialises individuals to perform roles that society requires, tension management- place release stress after work GA= instrumental problems- setting and achieving social goals for survival of basic needs IL= expressive problems- maintaining efficient cooperation and social stability to manage conflicts and tensions between individuals. Social change

Structural differentiation- change of societies as simple structures evolve into highly complex structures. - E.g. in traditional society the kinship system performs many functions-political leadership (G), production and consumption (A), performs religious functions (I) and socialises members (L). Moving equilibrium- change in one part causes a knock-on effect to other parts. Merton:

Reveals hidden connections between social phenomena= Hopi Indians performed a rain dance at times of drought-> manifest function (intended) but is unlikely to achieve intended goal. Yet the ritual may have a latent function (unintended) e.g. producing sense of solidarity Evaluation:

Choice through pattern variables but expected social roles determine how we should act. Giddens- deterministic as it explains how society reproduces itself through socialisation into roles but fails to explain how individuals produce roles and sees people passively acquire roles and behave in line with cultural expectations- ignores we may creatively bend roles. Parson’s work...
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