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Different views on how society works.

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DIFFERENT VIEWS ON HOW SOCIETY WORKS This is the most difficult part of sociology, but if you have been studying sociology for some time now, you will at least be partly familiar with these two different views: Marxism and functionalism. They often see society in different ways because they start from different standpoints. For example, if you and I were both looking at, and discussing the same chair, you might see it as something you sit down on to do your schoolwork, whereas I see it as missile to throw at children. In the same way, Marxists and functionalists look at the same institutions in society (such as the education system) ...read more.


and so on. They also see the values promoted by these institutions as acting in all our interests. For example, it is in all our interests that we are socialized to obey authority and turn up on time for school, because if we did not learn these values, society would break down. Therefore there is consensus (agreement) in society about these values. Just think what society would be like if the bus driver turned up at school whenever they liked and ignored what the boss had to say at work? Society would be very inefficient and chaotic. MARXISM Marxists believe that a powerful group called the ruling class are able to dominate society and society's institutions like the education system. ...read more.


They therefore believe that there is not consensus (agreement) but conflicting interests in society. SUMMARY In short Functionalists see society working in a harmonious way, with everyone working towards common goals (we all want an abundance of goods such as mobile phones etc) and we are in general agreement about how to reach those goals (I give orders and you obey or we will never get anything done - you obey me because I did better at school than you and have earned my authority). Marxists see conflicting interests in society. For example there is conflict at work with the boss wanting you to work more and more hours for less wages, while we want the opposite. The boss however has the power to impose their will on you (they will sack you if you do not toe the line). ...read more.

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