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Sociology can be defined as the study of human beings as social animals, it is a scientific study of social phenomenon, human interaction and culture, and it attempts to explain the social worlds of individuals and groups and how they interact

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Introduction Sociology can be defined as the study of human beings as social animals, it is a scientific study of social phenomenon, human interaction and culture, and it attempts to explain the social worlds of individuals and groups and how they interact. Sociological theory attempts to look beyond common sense explanations. Sociology as with other social sciences has its roots in philosophy and has developed theories to explain behaviour and relationships within society. Sociology can be divided into two main camps, structural and action theories. This essay will attempt to explain these theories within different aspects of society, how they affect society as a whole. It will then go on to evaluate the strengths and weakness within the theories. The consensus theory is a study of society as a whole (the Macro sociology). It focuses on what binds society together and existence of consensus (agreement) with societies made up of various social institutions. Emile Durkheim (1855-1917), the founder of the functionalist theory believed that society was a complex economic system with a sophisticated division of labour; he saw the division of labour as social institutions. Durkheim sought to comprehend the utility of social and cultural traits by explaining them in terms of their contributors to the cooperation of an over all system, the cohesive bonds of social order and how the loss of the commonly held valves leads to social instability and disorientation of the individual. ...read more.


Marxist feminism focuses on the belief that capitalism is the main cause of woman's suppression, the patnarchy as a multi layered system of oppression of gender. The women were denied the basic right of education and excluded from reason. Women's oppression is a result of class inequality in exploitative societies; women are defined as purely domestic labourers providing cheap labour for the economy. Feminist Marxists examine the role of ideology within patriarchal societies. Liberal feminists believe that gender inequalities in society are as a result of sexism and discrimination against women. Liberalists believe that cultural stereotyping has deprived women of their individual rights, legal equality and equal opportunities. The aim of liberal feminists is to fight for changes to the laws and legislations and to achieve this pressure groups have been founded to pressurise the government into making those changes. Liberal feminists believe women should be free and be as equal as men are in a capitalist society. Structural theories are the external social forces that shape human behaviour within social institutions such as family, education, religion and political beliefs and idea's. Structural theories work on a macro level and the emphasis is on the larger social systems and structures that shape an individuals behaviour. Action theory is human behaviour to which is attached subjective meaning. Social action theory can be related to the past, present or future behaviour of others. ...read more.


Mead believes in his theory of Mind, Self and society that self exists as a separate and relatively consistent phenomenon and that individuals have self-concept, self-image and self esteem and is shaped by the perception of how others see them. Labelling theory was significantly influenced by symbolic interactionism. Labelling is giving identity to ones self or having one imposed upon you. The labelling theory of deviant behaviour in criminals can be applied to individuals or groups who display a heterogeneous category of behaviour. Labelling can affect a person's behaviour; To label a person "insane" may affect the recovery of that person and may represent an important stage in the process of becoming mentally ill. Conclusion Social actions should be the focus of sociology as there is a need to understand the meanings of behaviour and to recognise the impact social structures have in shaping societies behaviour. Therefore the structural and action theories are relevant in evaluating a complete view on the mechanism which is society. Student Sandra Butt Tutor Tony Sweeney Course HNC Social Science Class B Unit Sociology Assessment Number Assessment Question Evaluate Structural and Action perspectives in social Bibliography Sweeney. Tony: Lewis. John: Etherington Neil: Sociology and Scotland. Unity Publications 2003. www.mtsu./edu~jpurcell/philosophy www.sscnet.ucla.edu/soc/faculty.php Class handouts and class notes. Contents Introduction page Consensus theory and Emile Durkheim Consensus theory within the family system, the education system, the religious system and the political system. Conflict theory and Karl Marx Strengths and Weaknesses of consensus and conflict theories Underlying conflict theory Conflict theories within the feminist theory, liberal feminism. ...read more.

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