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Compare and Contrast Functionalist and Marxist views of Society

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In Sociology, there are 2 main sociological theories; a logical answer for something we do not yet understand, and what you believe to be true. The two main Sociological theories i will be looking at are Emile Durkheim's Functionalistic theory and Karl Marx's Marxist views. In this essay I will be comparing and contrasting these two theories, which have completely different views of how society works. The first major Sociological theory was made by Frenchman Emile Durkheim (1858 - 1917), he constructed a consensus theory; a theory which is a positive, fair and happy agreement. In his theory, Durkheim described society as a body, using 'The Organic Analogy', he stated that the Human body is made up of lots of different organs which all exist together to keep us healthy and functioning. Durkheim said that if one of these organs fails, then eventually the body will begin to deteriorate and eventually die; he argued that society is made up of Social Institutions, (Such as the Criminal justice system, Media, Families ect.) ...read more.


The next major Sociological theory is very much the opposite of Durkheim's' Functionalism, this theory is Marxism, by German Karl Marx (1818 - 1883), unlike Functionalism, Marxism is very pessimistic. Marx believed that there was an ongoing conflict in society, caused by social classes, which was stimulated by the idea of Capitalism; the idea of economic freedom for the population. Marx believed there were only two social classes, rather than middle, upper and working class there was the Bourgeoisie; i.e. the 1% ruling class, such as Sir Alan Sugar, or Richard Branson, and then there was the rest of us, the 99% Proletariat; the working class. Marx completely disagreed with the idea of The Organic Analogy, and used a triangle to describe how society is shaped. Owned by the Bourgeoisie As you can see in the triangle, there is the Superstructure and the Infrastructure, Marx said that the Bourgeoisie owned the infrastructure; the economy, so therefore controlled the Superstructure (Social institutions). ...read more.


Marx said because we are brainwashed by the bourgeoisie, we cannot rebel against them so change can only occur when the proletariat; us realise we are being controlled, so we can overthrow the bourgeoisie. According to Marx, everything is interpreting society in a negative way, i think that in a way Marx is correct, but I think he is being a bit too pessimistic in his idea, because some people may not care that the bourgeoisie control everything, they may just want to have a sustainable income. In short I believe that although these two theories have completely opposite views on society, they do have some similarities, such as they both believe that Social institutions have a major role in society, in Functionalism Durkheim believes they keep society together, and in Marxism, they control what we do, thanks to the bourgeoisie; but although these are similar, Marx believed that the economic social institutions are the most important Marxism is economically deterministic. ?? ?? ?? ?? Compare and Contrast Functionalist and Marxist views of Society James Sullivan Sociology ...read more.

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