Assess The Contribution Of Functionalist And New Right Theories And Research To Our Understanding Of Society Today

Topics: Sociology, Émile Durkheim, Nuclear family Pages: 3 (1195 words) Published: June 2, 2015
Assess the contribution of Functionalist and New Right theories and research to our understanding of society today (33) Functionalism is a consensus theory which is based on the theory that society is based on agreement among members of society regarding values, goals and rules in society. Key ideas of functionalism can be traced back to its founder, Emile Durkheim, who introduced concepts such as social facts and the collective conscience to Sociology. Durkheim used the concept of social facts during his study of suicide to describe how society controls the individual. He believed that the level of external constraint within society shaped individuals behaviour; in this case making members of society commit suicide. Examples of social facts defined by Durkheim are money, law and language. Durkheim believes that social facts such as these are objective (cannot be measured), external (exist before and beyond us), and constraining (they place limits on our actions). Furthermore, Durkheim also introduced the concept of the collective conscience – he believed that changes in modern society were weakening social solidarity and therefore we need institutions to act together to prevent a state of anomie. While Durkheim introduced many key concepts and ideas which contribute to our understanding of society today, another functionalist, Parsons, also has been key within the Functionalist theory of Sociology. Parsons introduced the concept of society as a social system – institutions such as the family and education all work together to make society function. For example, the family socialises a child which teaches them basic norms and values of society. From there, education takes over through secondary socialisation (norms and values regarding behaviour in a professional, hierarchal environment, i.e. not being late, respecting elders, respecting authority). Functionalists, unlike conflict structuralists, believe that society is based on merit and institutions such as...
Continue Reading

Please join StudyMode to read the full document

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Assess the contribution of social action theory to our understanding of how society operates Essay
  • Assess the usefulness of functionalist contributions to our understanding of society. Research Paper
  • Analyse and assess the contribution of feminist research to our understanding of society. Essay
  • Assess The Contributions Of Different Action Theories To Our Understanding Of Society Today 33 Essay
  • Assess The Contribution Of Functionalist Sociologists To Our Understanding Of The Role Of The Education System In Society Research Paper
  • Assess the usefulness of functionalist theories in understanding religion today Essay
  • The Contribution of Functionalist Sociology to an Understanding of the Role of Education in Society Essay
  • Assess the contribution of Functionalism to an understanding of society. (33 marks) Essay

Become a StudyMode Member

Sign Up - It's Free