• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Briefly explain some of the main features of any two sociological theories and evaluate some of the main differences between them. With reference to contemporary society.

Extracts from this document...


´╗┐Briefly explain some of the main features of any two sociological theories and evaluate some of the main differences between them. With reference to contemporary society. The argument for sociology being a science revolves around the idea that society is empirical; if this premise fails then so does the concept of sociology being a science. Karl Marx, the father of Marxism, believed society was the result of social structures and class conflicts. Herbert Blumer, a symbolic interactionist, on the other hand, argued ?the essence of society lies in an ongoing process of action ? not in a posited structure of relations? (Blumer, 1969) p71. Blumer believed the actions and interactions of individuals created the overall structure of macro and meso levels of society. When applying the Marxist theory, Marxists would argue Margaret Thatcher (British prime minister from 1979-1990) was a political tyrant who created class inequality by implementing the poll tax, breaking up the unions and further stratifying education through removing the grammar schools. The conservative government of today, however, would argue to ?save? the UK from the labour party, conservatives need to ?channel Margaret [The iron lady] Thatcher?s zeal?, perceiving her as a political scholar (Gamp, 2017). When applying the symbolic interactionism?s (SI) theory, such truths or falsities in said statements don?t matter; the only importance is how people use the idea of Thatcher and how people use the social object of Thatcher to organise their behaviours and thoughts. ...read more.


Marxism’s conflict analyses focus on class conflict through the economic system of capitalism. Karl Marx believed there were two classes of individuals in society, the power class “bourgeoisie” who owned the factories and means of making money and the powerless class, “proletarian”, who were exploited by the power class and manipulated through means of social structures. (Bown, Pountney & Maric 2016) p43. Marx believed a revolution would occur where the proletariat would overthrow the bourgeoisie and that social conflict was the only means for change. A conflict theory like Marxism is the belief that all social change occurs because of an unbalance in society, unequal distribution of a resource. (Turner, 2014) p32. Marxism’s direct focus on social structures and class conflict is the main difference between it and symbolic interactionalism and is also a significant weakness of SI when applying the perspective to explain and understand contemporary social life because SI neglects social structures altogether. Bown, et al… (2016) p57 state “both functionalists and Marxists criticise interactionism for neglecting social structures which they argue impact directly on people’s lives”. For example, in the UK, aspiring 16-year old’s can now apply to become “apprentice sandwich artists” at Subway which will give them the privilege to work for £3.50 while performing the same unskilled functions of an ordinary worker at minimum wage (£7.50). ...read more.


Berkeley: University of California Press. Blumer, H. 1990, Industrialization as an agent of social change. A critical analysis. Chicago: Aldine Bowles, S, Gintis, H. 1976, Schooling in capitalist America: Educational reform and the contradictions of economic life. New York: Basic Books. Bown, D. Pountney, L. & MaricÌ, T. 2015, AQA A-level Sociology Book 1. London: Hodder Education. Bown, D. Pountney, L. & Maric, T. 2016, AQA Sociology for A-Level Book 2. London: Hodder Education. DfES. 2005 & DCSF, 2008 in Haralambos, M & Holborn, M. 2013. Sociology, Themes and perspectives. London, Collins. Turner, J. 2012, Theoretical Principles of Sociology: Mesodynamics. New York: Springer. Turner, J. 2014, Theoretical sociology. Los Angeles: SAGE Publications. Websites Chapman, B. (2017). Subway is advertising for ‘Apprentice Sandwich Artists’ to be paid just £3.50 per hour. [online] The Independent. Available at: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/subway-apprentice-sandwich-artists-pay-350-hour-minimum-wage-gateshead-branch-a7640066.html [Accessed 22 Nov. 2017]. Gamp, J. (2017). Conservatives say Margaret Thatcher spirit needed to defeat Corbyn government. [online] The Independent. Available at: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/tory-grandees-conservative-channel-margaret-thatcher-s-spirit-britain-corbyn-government-a8050831.html [Accessed 24 Nov. 2017]. Final Word Count: 1413 ________________ Table 10.2 - Attainment of five or more GCSE grades A*-C, by social class, England and Wales, 2000-4, and England 2006 (percentages) Parental Occupation 2000 2002 2004 Percentage point gain 2000-4 2006 Higher professional 74 77 77 +3 81 Lower professional 62 64 65 +3 73 Intermediate 49 51 53 +4 59 Lower supervisory 35 34 40 +5 46 Routine 26 31 33 +7 42 Source: Adapted from DfES. 2005 & DCSF, 2008 in (Haralambos & Holborn. 2013) p689 Page of ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Sociological Differentiation & Stratification section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Sociological Differentiation & Stratification essays

  1. Peer reviewed

    Produce an essay identifying the different sociological approaches to secularisation with reference to Marxism, ...

    4 star(s)

    In 1966 Wilson quoted "Science not only explained many facets of life and the material environment in a way more satisfactory, but it also provided confirmation of its explanation in practical results. This shows how Wilson believes that scientific advancements have significantly explained the world around us in substantially more

  2. Assess the view that cults, sects and new age movement are fringe organisations that ...

    Furthermore Jim Jones convinced his sect to kill themselves to get away from evil. 900 people who where part of his people's temple committed suicide. Again why would 900 people kill themselves just because one person told them to do so?

  1. fabric of society

    The political reaction towards the media representation was seen to be blown out of proportion to the actual problem or have invented problems, which were none existent. The media plays an important role in identifying an issue, defining it as a problem and presenting it in a particular way, could do with particular responses.

  2. Discuss the similarities and differences between conflict of Marxist theories and functionalist theories in ...

    Other than that, analogies are used in both theories to explain the social structure. Functionalism uses the human body as an analogy that describes how all the organs in the body are vital and work together for survival. On the other hand, Marxism uses the building analogy to show how

  1. With reference to sociological theories and concepts, assess the view that the main feature ...

    Different agencies of socialization such as family, education & media all contribute to this process. Another mechanism is social control where positive sanctions reward conformity while negative ones punish crime and deviance. As individuals are integrated through socialization and social control into a shared value consensus system, their behaviour is orientated towards pursuing societies shared goals and meeting its needs.

  2. Evaluate a micro and macro sociological perspective in relationship to the study of society. ...

    - all of which allow the maintenance of social structure. Functionalism presents the idea that society is harmonious and there is very little conflict between classes, whereas Marxism states that society is built upon the conflict between the Bourgeoisie and the Proletariat and that there is constant conflict between classes.

  1. Assess the usefulness of interactionist approaches to the study of society

    we won?t ever know why someone has given us a particular label and by putting ourselves in their shoes we will only be able to assume what the reason is. A major strength with this theory is that it overcomes the determinism of structural theories (are not just simply passive recipients of social forces).

  2. Compare and contrast two sociological theories

    Functionalism is based on ?consensus? meaning that in all societies there has to be some form of generally agreed principles, norms and values upon which a system of trust and justice can be based (Durkheim), while Marxism is based on ?conflict?.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work