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

Evaluate the usefulness of structural theories and social action theories when studying society

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Evaluate the usefulness of structural theories and social action theories when studying society Structural theories see human behaviour as constrained, and even determined by the social organism of society for example, the social structure that is made up of interrelated institutions such as families, schools, religion, the economy, political system, etc. These theories see society that already exists and when we die society continues on regardless. We cannot see or touch society but we feel its influence on a daily basis because it shapes what we think, feel and do. Structural theories, therefore, argue that we are pushed into courses of action by social structures over which we normally have little or no control. In this sense, then, these theories suggest that people are the product or puppets of society. ...read more.

Middle

However, functionalisms have been criticized for overemphasising consensus in society. They tend to focus on the functions or benefits of social institutions and consequently neglect the dysfunctions or harm that institutions can cause for individuals. For example, the family is always seen as a harmonious institution by functionalists and social problems such as domestic violence are not acknowledged. Whereas Marxists do acknowledge these kinds of things as Marxism is a conflict theory. Marxists believe that every single society always have examples of conflict. For example, in the family, normally husband and wife for example could argue about household expenditure. In education, there could be a debate on whether a parent should send their child to a state or private school. ...read more.

Conclusion

New Right perspectives believe that traditional roles within society have been undermined by the permissive values of the 1960s and 1970s. However, this is the opposite of radical feminists want as they want change to happen now and happen quickly. New rights argue that the nuclear family is the bedrock of society, like functionalism does, and that the welfare state creates a dependency culture. Social action theories however take a micro approach to explaining and understanding society. Social action theories look at meanings, interactions etc. It stresses the ability of individuals to exert control over their own actions. The individual is not seen as a passive recipient of society's directions but as an active creator of social behaviour. In this sense, society does not have an independent existence or objective reality. ?? ?? ?? ?? Lauren Harmon ...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. Marked by a teacher

    Assess the usefulness of feminist contributions to our understanding of society today

    4 star(s)

    Barrett believes that the overthrow of capitalism is necessary to secure women's liberation, she argues that it is not sufficient. We must also overthrow the ideology of familism that underpins the conventional family and its unequal division of labour. This would free the sexes from restrictive stereotypes and ensure domestic labour was shared equally.

  2. Outline and Assess the Usefulness of Conflict Theories in Explaining Social Class Inequalities in ...

    Marxist theory is also deterministic; it assumes that all react to their position in society the same way when this may not be the case. Many sociologists such as Marshall et al dispute the presence of 'false class consciousness'. In their 1988 study they found that over 70% of their

  1. Sociological Theories

    It is a consensus theory which means it is non-conflict. "Functionalists see agreement as the basis of social life and without it; society would collapse" (Taylor, Richardson, Yeo, Marsh, Trobe and Pilkington, 1998. P13). The Marxism theory however, is a conflict theory.

  2. Analyse and Evaluate the relationships between religion and social change.

    Durkheim regarded Nationalism and Communism as the new religions of industrial society, taking over from Christianity but performing the same essential functions. Therefore Durkheim, and other functionalists are not saying that religion does not change; clearly its form does. Parson's argument concerning differentiation, but what does not change is the

  1. Assess the usefulness of an Interactionists perspective on education.

    talk with an extensive, elaborated vocabulary which working class pupils may find hard to understand. Working class pupils will talk with restricted speech, text talk or slang. Upper and middle class pupils are able to understand both elaborate and restricted speech.

  2. Critically compare cultural and structural theories of the social patterning of health and illness.

    As it maintains the social order, contributes to economy, adapting towards industrial society that supported in socialization. Health and illness during the Functionalism approach from a medical, perspective sociology, created consensus structuring, the human behaviour which evolved ?sick note? that has link the theory to dysfunctional illness behaviour.

  1. This essay will evaluate three groups within society; the Feminists, Postmodernists and the Marxists, ...

    The institutionalisation of the clinic, hospital and its hierarchy all served to exert power over the compliant individuals and their, ‘docile’ bodies (Foucault, 1973).â This new construction of power formed a hierarchal relationship between the professional and the patient. It dissolved a patient’s opinion and their claim to ‘authenticity’ in

  2. Assess the usefulness of feminist contributions to our understanding of society today

    Radical feminists see the personal as the political. All relationships involve power and they are political when one individual tries to dominate the other, so personal relationships are therefore political because men dominate women through them. Radical feminists refer to these power relationships as sexual politics. So therefore they focus on the ways in which patriarchal power is

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