Sociology is the study of society and the different social structures within it. Sociology examines the role of the individual within society; it is viewed as the scientific study of society P1: An introduction to sociological perspectives.
Functionalism: According to the functionalist perspective of sociology, each aspect of society is interdependent and contributes to society's stability and functioning as a whole. For example, the government provides education for the children of the family, which in turn pays taxes on which the state depends to keep itself running. The family is dependent upon the school to help children grow up to have good jobs so that they can raise and support their own families. If all goes well, the parts of society produce order, stability, and productivity. If all does not go well, the parts of society then must adapt to recapture a new order, stability, and productivity. For example, during a financial recession with its high rates of unemployment and inflation, social programs are trimmed or cut. Schools offer fewer programs. Families tighten their budgets. And a new social order, stability, and productivity occur. Functionalists believe that society is held together by social consensus, in which members of the society agree upon, and work together to achieve, what is best for society as a whole. Functionalism has received criticism for neglecting the negative functions of an event, such as divorce. Functionalism does not encourage people to take an active role in changing their social environment, even when such change may benefit them. Instead, functionalism sees active social change as undesirable because the various parts of society will compensate naturally for any problems that may arise. The founder of the functionalist theory is Emile Durkheim. This theory can also be known as the consensus theory; society can also understand it in terms of ‘organic analogy’. Marxism: Marxist (conflict) perspective was founded by Karl Marx. Marxism is regarded as the conflict perspective because it focuses on the inequalities and exploitation in society. Marxist believes that one group is exploiting the other and the only way to end it is via revolution. Marx believes that Proletariat (working class) is being exploited by the Bourgeoisie (ruling class). Marx also believes that we live in a capitalist society. The capital society will always be characterised by a class struggle i.e. where there will always be conflict between the Proletariat and the Bourgeoisie, therefore the capitalists system is inherently evil. The Marxist perspective also claims the Proletariat (working class) live in a false class of consciousness. Marx also believes that the only way to end this is via revolution. Marxist also believe that the only power that working class possess is their labour power (i.e. the ability to work). According to Marx the labour power are not aware of the power they hold and the significant as the ‘ruling classes’. Marxism is criticised for focusing too much on social-class inequality. Whereas the social class conditions have improved dramatically over the years. Marx theory has another flaw, after a revolution the capitalist society should be replaced by the commonist is USSR. Commonist means a society where everything is shared equally. Although even a communist country, there is still inequality as equality doesn’t just mean social-class; it also means age, race, sexuality and gender. Marx ignores individual choice, as they believe that the behaviour of individuals is shaped by their socialisation. Marx focuses too much on the large social structures and ignores the individual’s ability to change their own actions. For example Alan Sugar, Richard Branson, born in lower class and then progressed to become a part of the Bourgeoisies, this is known as social mobility. There is a growing concern that there is a lack of social mobility in the u, which is making it extremely difficult for those born...
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