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Marxism and Functionalism and their contribution to sport.

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Introduction

2 Sociological perspectives: Marxism and Functionalism and their contribution to sport This essay will be about two different sociological perspectives. It will compare Marxism and Functionalism aswell as highlighting their benefits and problems. At the end of this essay there will be thoughts about the contribution of Marxism and Functionalism to sport. Both, Marxism and Functionalism are sets of ideas trying to provide an explanation for human society. But as both perspectives have different priorities they will not give a fulfilling answer to that explanation as it can be seen later on in the essay within the criticism of each. Marxism and Functionalism are both related to a structural view of sociology. That is according to Giddens (1996) observable patterns of behaviour within a society that shapes the individual. The structural view of society belongs to the macroperspective of sociology and therefore looks at the society as a whole within its large-scale principles like family, education, religion aswell as 'examining wider structures, interdependent social institutions and historical processes of social life' (Marshall, 1998 pp. 378-379). The structural view of society can be subdivided into two furthermore perspectives: the Consensus and the Conflict view. Marxism will represent the Conflict perspective of society, Functionalism the Consensus view. Marxism is known as the interpretation of the thoughts of Karl Marx (1813 - 1883), a German social theorist and political revolutionary. Karl Marx wanted to understand the politics, culture and economics of the newly emerging nations within Europe. ...read more.

Middle

Both perspectives, Marxist and Functionalist do not only have negative aspects but positive and beneficial ones as well, especially when applied to sport. Marxism tries to identify which sports are accessible to whom. Therefore participation rates will be examined. A recent example: in contemporary British society class differences regarding participation rates in different sports can be found. The higher the social class, the more likely the individual is to be more active and to attend a sports event. The explanation therefore: a lack of resources in finances and availability of those in the working class. Affected sports are walking, jogging, swimming, weight-lifting, snooker, and soccer. (Abercrombie et al, 2000). Even though not listed in that research, those sports traditionally considered to be upper class like polo, golf and equitation should be regarded too, as the equipment and availability for the working class is again limited due to lack of resources, especially financial resources. Furthermore a Marxist focuses on the distribution of power in sport: Who has got the power and why? Inequality can again be identified. Sport is determined and shaped by the economic system in the hands of the powerful Bourgeoisie and does yet again promote the interest of those: increasing capital, maintaining power and privileges. Besides labour, sport is another tool of exploiting the working class as sport is just another form of controlling the society through a form of popular entertainment respectively giving access to certain sports only to certain, volitional members. ...read more.

Conclusion

sport, and therefore focuses on conflict caused primarily by money. Functionalism in contrast 'stresses the extent to which the different parts fit together harmoniously'' (Haralambos and Holborn, 2000 p.1032). Marxism seems to be a social utopia as a society without exploitation is not realistic whereas Functionalism is a too positive way to describe society, neglecting individual's needs and further influencing factors. Sport can obviously not only be seen through a Marxist's or Functionalist's view but it will benefit if both views are put together to solve the negative aspects of each perspective, this could then form a theory to describe the society today. Reference list: GIDDENS, A. (2001) Sociology 4th ed. Cambridge. Polity Press. HARALAMBOS, M. and HOLBORN, M. (2000) Sociology Themes and Perspectives 5th ed. London. HarperCollins Publishers Limited. MARSHALL, G. (1998) Oxford Dictionary of Sociology 2nd ed. pp. 378-379 Oxford. Oxford University Press. ABERCROMBIE, N. et al (2000) The Penguin Dictionary of Sociology 4th ed. London. Penguin Books. ABERCROMBIE, N. et al (2000) Contemporary British Society 3rd ed. pp. 359-362 Cambridge. Polity Press. COAKLEY, J J. (1994) Sport in society-Issues and Controversies 5th ed. pp.27-51 Madison, Brown and Benchmark. KELSO, P. and HOPPS, D. (2003). January 11. England set to play in Zimbabwe The Guardian-Sport. P.14 SociologyOnline [online]. Available at: <URL: http://www.sociologyonline.co.uk> [Accessed 12 January 2003] Sociological Theories [online]. Available at: <URL: http://www.coe.unt.edu/kweiller/sociological_theories.htm> [Accessed 12 January 2003] <URL:http://www.longroad.ac.uk/accreditation_project/subject_sociology/booklets/class_identity.pdf > [Accessed 12 January 2003] Map of Sociological Theory [online]. Available at: <URL: http://www.hewett.norfolk.sch.uk/curric/soc/Theory.htm> [Accessed 12 January 2003] Ben Johnson [online]. Available at: <URL: http://www.infoplease.com/ipsa/A0109318.html> [Accessed 12 January 2003] 1 ...read more.

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