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Functionalism, Marxism and Interactionism. Complimentary or Contradictory?

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´╗┐Jake Massey Functionalism, Marxism and Interactionism. Complimentary or Contradictory? Sociology is referred to as the study of society. There are two strands of sociology, Theoretical and empirical. Theoretical covers the range of theories that have different views on why society is how it is. Empirical refers to real research what is actually happening or has happened. In this essay I am going to be comparing and contrasting three different sociological perspectives. The theories in sociology can be split up into two main sections which are structural (macro) theories and social action (micro) theories. The First theory I will be looking at is the structural theory of Functionalism, structural theory means they see the individual as less important than the social structure of society. Functionalism is a consensus theory, which means they see members of society working together to ensure its smooth running, it also means that members of society have a good idea how to behave in most situations and are able to anticipate how others will behave. It is a top-down theory as it looks at society rather than the individuals within it. And believe society is responsible for shaping society. This is due to social institutions such as family, education, work, law, media and religion. ...read more.


like functionalism, Marxism is a structural theory as it sees the individual as less important than the social structure of society. Marx believed the economic organisation was most responsible for the behaviour of individuals. But the main difference between the two is that is that unlike functionalism, Marxism is a conflict theory. Marxists believe society is based on unfair treatment of different classes. Marxism sees the system we live in, what he referred to as capitalism, is divided into two basic classes, The ruling class (Bourgeoisie) which are the bosses and own the means of production (machinery, factories, land) are who controlled society, and the working class (Proletariat) who were the workers as they only thing they had to offer was the sale of their work in return for a small wage. To Marx he believed the ruling class benefitted in every way from the operation of society, whilst the working class get far less than deserved. This is what he believed caused the divide in society and conflict. Marxists argue that due to the fact the working class don?t rarely challenge capitalism is due the fact that the ruling class, who control the economy also control the family, media, education etc. ...read more.


For example; families teach how to interact and interpret the action of others. Whilst education brings us into contact with a greater range of social groups and teaches us how to interpret social action in a border range of social contexts. The result of such socialisation is that children acquire an identity. Social identity refers to personality characteristic and qualities that particular cultures associate with certain groups. Going back to my title and deciding whether these ideas are complimentary are contradictory; I don?t believe any of the ideas are completely complimentary or contradictory. I have considered the similarities and differences and there are a multiple of each, the ideas are individual with some agreement and disagreement for example Marxism and Functionalism see society as structuralist and society more important than the individual but then disagree when it comes to the fact weather we are all happy with society being like it is or not, whilst interactionism completely differs to this and sees the individual as the most important thing in society. They all agree on socialisation being the key process of society which is why they are not completely contradictory. I believe each theory has its own differences to make it individual but there are also similarities so you can?t say there totally different. Therefore I believe they are neither complimentary nor contradictory as the terms are too strong rather differed views that share some similarities. ...read more.

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