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

Sociological Theories

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Sociological Theory - An Introduction. Sociological Theories. Functionalism was founded by Emile Durkheim. Functionalism is a theory of society, it is a structural theory and it is a consensus theory. The functionalist perspective was one of the first to develop a theoretical explanation of how societies work. It has produced a structural approach to the study of society where consensus is seen as essential, as without it society would collapse into chaos. It looks at how social order is created. It believes that value consensus results in social solidarity and this value consensus is created through socialization. Functionalism also looks at society as a whole and works on the idea that society determines the individual. Functionalists believe that in modern society individuals are integrated into groups. The individual is born into a family where they have their basic needs met, some individuals will be born into a religious family and will therefore become apart of a group who have shared interests, this integration continues throughout an individuals life. It is believed that groups in society regulate the behaviour of the individual through formal and informal sanctions. In the workplace if a person is not performing to a satisfactory level they may be warned or fired but if they are doing a really good job they may get a promotion or be praised verbally. ...read more.

Middle

This is how the ruling class manages to remain in the position they are in, the workers rely on the wage in order to provide for their families. This relationship is unbalanced and often deemed unfair as the ruling class will aim to get the maximum amount of work from the workers whilst paying them as little as possible. One problem that the workers face is that they cannot see the way they are being treated as lasting and tell themselves that one day things will get better; this is known as false consciousness. Marx predicted that as class polarization increased the workers would cause a revolution and would replace capitalism with communism. The Marxist view on religion is not as in depth as the functionalist view on this area. Karl Marx believed that peoples practicing and beliefs of religion reflects' their alienation. He believed that religion lead people in a false direction and the hopes and solutions were deceptive the Marxist also see religion as a form of social control i.e. Heaven and Hell, if people do as they are expected to by that religion they will go to Heaven, if they do not to as they are told they may go to Hell. ...read more.

Conclusion

If a person becomes a major long term victim their self-concept can be damaged and these individuals are more likely to accept labels. A group with a shared experience of negative labeling may form a culture of resistance i.e. a group of 'naughty boys' in school may form an anti-school subculture. The Interactionist view of religion is that it is a major source of identity. Religion is very powerful with labeling and labels everybody, for example - sinner, saint, repentant sinner etc. Many religions have similar ethics, hard work is a very common interest within' each religion and the belief that with sacrifice and hard work comes great reward. The religious working class would work really hard and be exploited through low wages meaning that the capitalists benefited from the workers having these beliefs, they were able to save on costs and invest thus creating a rise in capitalism. The key similarities between Functionalism, Marxism and Interactionism is that they all wish to view the mechanics of how a society works, one of the key differences is the way they view society. Functionalism and Marxism have been deemed as being very deterministic whereas Interactionism is recognized as be anti-deterministic. Each of the theories mentioned in this essay contribute greatly to our understanding of how society works and in most cases why people act the way they do. ...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. Sociological theories and Healthcare.

    They see that the problem was caused by the law being sexist and also the differences in the way we are brought up (socialisation) between males and females. To solve this we need to be socialised differently and get rid of sexist laws Liberal Feminist argues that the society is

  2. Sociological Theories

    Marx believe however, pressures to break the law will affect people across the social class from wealthy business people to the poverty stricken unemployed. Marxists and Functionalists both have different views on crime and deviance. They share very little in common, however they do agree that society shapes the individual, not the individual that shapes society.

  1. Using sociological theories, e xplain why the modern british family is characterised by diversity

    Britain has changed in many ways in recent years; one of these ways is the diversity in types of culture. 50 years ago it would have been extremely unusual to have a divorced family, an un-cohabiting couple with children, or lone parent families.

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

    Each subsystem will adjust to any change in the other subsystems and will continue to do so until equilibrium is retained. The process of achieving equilibrium will only work if the changes happen slowly, but for rapid changes it would throw the social system into chaos, unless and until a new equilibrium can be reached.

  1. Compare and contrast two sociological theories

    is firmly structured and is the main element in shaping social behaviour. To fully understand functionalism, one has to understand of ?the enlightenment?. This is the name given to very general and diverse movement that began in the 18th Century.

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

    Goffman rejects the functionalist view that roles are tightly ?scripted? by society and they see us fully conforming and behaving according to the roles given to us. Through socialisation, they become part of our identity and society determines how exactly we will perform them.

  1. Functionalism, Marxism and Interactionism. Complimentary or Contradictory?

    They do this in a number of ways such as social solidarity (a sense of community) and social solidarity (a sense of belonging). They remind members of society about what counts as normality and deviance. Our behaviour is controlled by the rules of society. Our identity as mothers, fathers etc.

  2. Education and the theories of Marxism

    Asses the Marxist contribution to our understanding of the role of education. Marxists see the state as the means by which the capitalist ruling class maintain their dominant position. According to Althusser, the state consists of two components both of which serve the capitalist system, these are the ideological

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