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Functionalist: Sociology and Stratification

By AlPacino3 Jan 30, 2013 572 Words
It argues that social stratification is functional and it is necessary for maintaining society's stability Functionalists see inequality as good because it's "incentive" or "motivation" for people to succeed. Functionalists believed that inequality can be mitigated by the prevalence of social mobility (one can change its class to another) Davis and Moore: systems of stratification exist to ensure that the most appropriate people are selected for these roles. Moreover, because stratification is functional, it follows that it must be a permanent, inevitable and necessary fact of the way any society is constructed

* Three consensus theories offer a critical view of conflict theories of inequality. * Parsons, Based stratification is based on shared values and therefore integrate rather than divide societies. The ranking depends on consensual view of their position's importance. Power is given to those in important positions to achieve shared goals. * Davis and Moore said stratification has the function of role allocation and performance. Inequality ensures the best people perform well in the most important jobs. Evaluation (Explanations and criticisms largely from Melvin Tumin ) * Some positions are functionally more important than others. * People rarely have the natural talent to perform these tasks. * Talents to skills requires sacrifices, such as loss of earnings * Can be offset, by government or parents.

* Expectation of high pay motivates people to make these sacrifices. * Unequal regards leads to differences in prestige attached to position which then becomes the generally accepted basis of stratification. Davis and Moore could explain this at a moment in time, but actually stratification means you inherit a position and so may have better opportunities, so stratification prevents this equality of opportunity. Functionalist theories of stratification

* Functionalist sees stratification as important in explaining society * The division here is done on the basis of functionally important roles , that they should carry high status and high rewards * They don’t consider inequality as a source of conflict in society * They believed that inequality can be mitigated through concept of social mobility Davis & Moore

* They have taken up the concept of roles
* According to their view some positions in society are more important than others because of the organizational demand of them to function * Some roles or the position should be carried be certain persons * Only those who possess necessary scarce skills or initiative Talcott Parsons

* Parson sees social stratification as a source of conflict and instability in the society but it actually serves to integrate an order the society * For parsons stratification is actually a distribution and allocation of social prestige * Parson said that industries societies are not only based on 2 classes but actually it is based on a series of strata ranked one above other in term of prestige. They accorded by the members of society Criticism of the functionalist view

* Functionalist are heavily criticized on their explanations of meritocratic society * Everyone has an equal chance of giving high social status and high rewards this can be possible if other factors of the society are ignored. * Some social positions are more important than others? Why? And how? Who decided it? * The concept of functionally important role are a value laden concept, this cannot be done on the basis of objectivity

based on individuals
involves personal opinions, feelings, emotions
judgment based on persons impressions and feelings and opinions rather than facts. Objective
based on whole society
considering on facts
judgment based on observable phenomena and uninfluenced by emotions and personal prejudices

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