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"Compare and contrast the functionalist and Marxist competing views concerning the purpose of the socialisation process".

Extracts from this essay...

Introduction

"Compare and contrast the functionalist and Marxist competing views concerning the purpose of the socialisation process". Functionalists and Marxists have very similar theories as to the socialisation process. I intend to show this and compare these similarities. There are many well-known functionalists but I am mainly focusing on the views of Talcott Parsons and Emile Durkheim in particular. There are many aspects of the socialisation process to cover both concerning functionalist and Marxist views, these include cultures (made up of many different branches), values (peoples beliefs), and norms (patterns of behaviour). Also primary and secondary socialisation. Functionalists and Marxists both share similar views on the socialisation process. Both viewpoints are based on the substructure of society this is formed by many external influences as follows; the family, media, religion, education and, the state. Both functionalist and Marxists believe that we are the products of social stimuli and are socialised according to our external influences. They both believe in the "top-down" theory seeing society as a stage with all these influences shaping our individual identities. " If society were a stage then we individuals are simply puppets dancing to the tune of the social structures that shape our identities- indeed our lives" (1) Functionalist and Marxists may have similar views but they do not share the same views as to why this process is. I personally believe that in a way we are like puppets, and that we are socialised into what is "right and wrong".

Middle

A lot of religion socialisation begins within the family. (7) Then to the media, this is also open and fair, helping to socialise individuals, exposing members of parliament, and the footballers and popstars that so many "hero-worship". When they have done something they think we should be aware of this is all shaping the way in which we learn and think, don't behave as these do etc.. And lastly the family, vitally important in all ways of the socialisation process when young we are made aware "don't touch, that's naughty, you'll be punished". The family is there to oversee the whole learning and socialisation process just as the common values are put in place to underpin. Parents teach their children to "adapt or die"(8) to the norms/values that are acceptable. The family also helps the socialisation process by re-producing and socialising the next generation of individuals who then gain social integration and solidarity. Social integration is a sense of belonging which once the culture/religion, and the values/norms, which you have been socialised into believing, lets you know who you belong to. Once people have learned this, social order is the result and your place is then mapped out in society. Social solidarity stems from this; people gain a sense of community, a collective consciousness. This encourages society to work for the good of the masses. (9) Therefore the socialisation process is viewed as a positive one. However Marxists view the substructure with a fundamental difference, instead of common values underpinning Marx's theory was that capitalism underpins society, with only a few of the peoples values being represented, conflict theorists.

Conclusion

Both of these views are macro theories, believing that we are the products of our external stimuli through the socialisation process. To conclude these theories I personally see both sides and agree with both in different aspects both the positive of the functionalist and the negative of the Marxist. On the positive side the education system can be seen as open and fair, lots of students on leaving school go on to college and then university gaining themselves very prestigious positions in society therefore this is an open and fair system. But there also are the negative realities that the classrooms are fuller and those who don't grasp things as quickly are not given the opportunities to catch up and are put into a lower class. To me this is wrong, as lower class seems to be putting one in ones place, lower being the operative word. The media do expose people being the positive side but then when one looks at copycat crimes you can't help but blame the media. A lot of influence does come in way of the family but this stems back generations and some adapt quicker to change than others. These too have been socialised by their peers and unfortunately can result in these inequalities in society remaining. However if people did not conform to the norms/values that society thrusts upon them, and there were many deviants, this would surely result in anarchy. But so it is, people do conform, and surely enough society roles on as, as both functionalist and Marxists agree " society is more important than the individuals within it"(12) .

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