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Sociological Theories

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Compare and Contrast any TWO sociological theories and briefly evaluate them. By Mark Cannan. "A 'theory' is a set of ideas which provide an explanation for something. A sociological theory is a set of ideas which provides an explanation for human society. Critics of sociology sometimes object to the emphasis which sociologists place on theories, and suggest it might be better to let 'the facts' speak for themselves" (Horalambus and Holborn, 1990. P765). The above quote is an explanation of what a sociological theory is, it also gives a point of view from the critics side and is a debateable quote. Sociologists believe that theories are important as everything in life needs an explanation, theories therefore are the closest thing we have to an answer. The more understanding we have for why something in society is happening for example crime in society, the more chance we have of developing certain practices and procedures that help the sociologists understand it better. Theories have existed since the nineteenth century and there are many theories including Marxism, Functionalism, Feminism, Postmodernism, Endomethodology but to name a few. ...read more.


between the various parts of society. Marxists however reject the functionalist's view that society is based on value consensus and therefore operates for the benefit of all. Marx argues that it is the scientific requirements of the capitalist mode of production which has shaped the development of the family rather than industrialisation. Whereas Durkheim argued that the family prepares children to become adult workers and take on roles in the economy to support themselves and dependants. This is done through two classes of socialisation, primary and secondary. Primary socialisation is dealt with by the family during childhood learning them norms and values also moulding their personalities. Secondary socialisation is done by schooling and peer groups when the family become less involved. Marxism and functionalism both have agreement and differences when it comes to education. A functionalist's view on education focuses on the positive contributions made by education to the maintenance of the social system whereas a Marxists claims that education is free to develop in its own way, and that it is influenced by many social groups but is still determined by the economy. ...read more.


To conclude Marxism and functionalism are two very different theories as you would expect with them being conflict and none conflict although they do have a few similarities. These two theories, like many others, are constantly being looked at and trying to be proven to be fact as they are still only ideas. In a way this still might not happen for hundreds of years because time is constantly changing and evolving as every second passes. Both theories have very good arguments but also have some bad ones. No doubt in time, these theories will be dominant again. The way in which Functionalists collect their data and do their research is completely different compared to that of marxists. Functionalist use the qualititive and quantative methods whereas marxists try to stick with the way Karl Marx collected his data which is called the dialetical method. To summarise, functionalism generally views society as a stable system and looks for the mechanisms that give it harmony always seeking to reduce conflict. Marxism however, views society as one of being class dominant with competition being the order of the day. Compare and Contrast any TWO sociological theories and briefly evaluate them. By Mark Cannan. ...read more.

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