Functionalism is a perspective on social aspects (religion, political, kinship/family etc) function all together to meet the needs of their society. System stability is what functionalism is based on rather than the individuals that make up society. Individuals are born into society and become part of their surroundings that are socialised by institutions such as family, education and religion. Their view is that if there is a change in one part of the society e.g political, it will change the others too. Almost like a set of parts, if one part breaks the rest will gradually begin to fall apart too as they only formed a whole together. Talcott Parsons also saw society as a system, however he argued that every social system has only four basic functional needs, adaptation, goal attainment, integration and pattern maintenance. All parts of the social system is understood as it contributes to meeting the functional needs. Criticism
There has been much criticism towards the functionalist perspective for not taking the negative functions of society into account, such as divorce. They don’t see change as a desirable thing as they believe society will change naturally if problems arise. Functionalism does not encourage or advise people to get involved or try to change their environment, even if change would benefit them.
Marxism was originally from Karl Marx who gave a critical explanation of the development and structure of capitalist society. For instance, he would be against the owner of a large shop, claiming he was brainwashing them and it was slave labour. It is a system of economic, social and political philosophy. Marxism is based on ideas that economic factors will be the cause of social change. He thought the Proletariat would advance themselves and gain power engaging in conflict with the Bourgeoisie. The revolutions in Eastern Europe in the 20th Century were based on a Marxist theory. Lenin was the leader of the Bolsheviks and adapted this theory which formed a basis of social and economic organisation in the early years of the Soviet Union. It was false conflict as people were unable to recognise the real relationships of power and didn’t realise they were oppressed. Marxists believe that people should be entitled to enjoy life but are prevented by living in a capitalist economic system, as it has divided our society into two classes. The belief that there is a large struggle between social classes will be a major force in history and we will eventually live in a society which has no social classes. Criticism
Critics have said that Marx’s theory and law of the tendency of the rate of profit to fall are not consistent and smooth running as his conclusions didn’t follow from his theoretical premises.