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In undertaking an accurate interpretation of three sociological perspectives, I will make a reasoned evaluation of the strengths and weaknesses in Marxism, Functionalism and Feminism.

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SOCIOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVES MARXISM, FUNCTIONALISM & FEMINISM... INTRODUCTION A sociological theory is a set of ideas that provide an explanation for human society. In undertaking an accurate interpretation of three sociological perspectives, I will make a reasoned evaluation of the strengths and weaknesses in Marxism, Functionalism and Feminism. From the three chosen sociological perspectives I will also look at their individual views on religion and the family. SOCIOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVES MARXISM Marxism named after its founder Karl Marx (1818 - 1883) is very famous and influential. Marx regarded people as both producers and the products of society, he believed since people made society, only they can change it. He argued that 'man makes his own history'. Marx believed that the rich would get richer (bourgeois - ruling class) and that the poor would get poorer (proletariat - subordinate /working class). He proposed that the proletariat would revolt in anger, leading to a revolution, resulting in the disappearance of the social class system and that people would live in a more equal society. Max Weber (1864 - 1920) agreed with Marx, however he also stressed the importance of status and power (i.e. an individual may be poor but have high status, such as a teacher). His views on religion differed to that of Marx too, arguing that it could be a source of conflict and change rather than a source of stability or social control. ...read more.


There is a lot of disagreement among sociologists about the roles of religion and the family within society; we will look at three sociological perspectives: RELIGION MARXISM In Marx's view, 'Man makes religion, religion does not make man'. In other words, religion is the self-conscious and the self-feeling of man who has either not found himself or has already lost himself again. 'Truly liberated individuals have no need of religion'. Thus, if the alienation and exploitation associated with the classes are eradicated, and people are freed to develop their human potential and find themselves, as in a truly socialist society, religion will no longer be needed and will cease to exist. Marx and Engels believed that religion represented a protest against a dehumanising social world and human alienation, it also leads people into false hopes and direction, along with the 'solutions' it promises that are illusory. It obscures and distorts the true nature of reality in ways that benefit the ruling class. Marx anticipated that when a classless society was established, religion would disappear. FUNCTIONALISM Whereas Durkheim sees religion as an expression and celebration of people's sociality. Religion creates order and stability in society; it can be an agent of socialization and create a sense of social solidarity. Malinowski accepted like Durkheim that religion creates social solidarity but he believed that religion is a response to peoples needs during stress (e.g. birth and death). ...read more.


The Functionalist perspective of belief systems and religion does not vindicate for the dysfunctional aspects that the unruly force of religion can manifest (i.e. war in the name of 'Religion'). The subject of the family and how it is defined is extremely difficult to determine. Marxists position asserts that the nuclear family is not universal but a product of capitalism and that the family is an exploitive institution, and that it was the simplest solution for insuring legitimacy of proposed heirs. Whereby Functionalism is a strong supporter of the family, believing it to be the 'cornerstone' of society. Feminists' criticise the family as the focus on the exploitation of women by men, they argue that men dominate family relationships. CONCLUSION Everyone has their own view of what religion and the family consists of. These pre conceived ideas are mostly to do with our own backgrounds, culture and life experiences. I find it difficult to subscribe to one theory over another as Functionalist, Marxist and Feminist theories can be interpreted in many different ways. Consequently each theory's perspective will work for their interpretation of religion, the family and society. The three theories are not too dissimilar to the three main Political Parties (Labour, Conservative and Liberal) in Britain; each has it's own agenda, but are all are equally as devious! I am more inclined to opt for the Feminist and Marxist theories as they seem more plausible and are more comparative to past history and present day findings. I also believe that as societies cultures change through time, so will our definition of family, religion and society. ...read more.

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