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This essay will compare two different sociological perspectives Marxism and Functionalism through society and sport, highlighting the benefits and problems.

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This essay will compare two different sociological perspectives Marxism and Functionalism through society and sport, highlighting the benefits and problems. Both, Marxism and Functionalism are sets of ideas trying to provide an explanation for human society and how it operates (Coakley 2004). Marxism and Functionalism are both related to a structural view of sociology. That is according to Giddens (2001) observable patterns of behaviour within a society that shapes the individual. The structural view of society belongs to the macro perspective of sociology and therefore looks at the society as a whole within its large-scale principles like family, education, religion as well as a historical process of social life examining interdependent social institutions (Dunning, 1999) Marxism is an interpretation of the thoughts by Karl Marx (1813 - 1883) a German social theorist and political revolutionist, where the concept of 'class struggle' plays a pivotal role in society, and leads to the development of society, and the uprising of the proletariat (the working class) whom, Marx believed made the wealth of society, (Dunning, Maguire & Pearton, 1993) and the downfall of the bourgeoisie or capitalist (those who own the means of production' and therefore exploit the proletariat). Coakley (2004) says that in capitalist societies that are so well-established major changes can only be possible if the people without the economical power realised that there is a need for change. These ideologies can be applied to explain society's actions on sport, such as how the working class are being priced out of going to football matches because the bourgeoisie (chairman) ...read more.


Within these two sociological perspectives it is fairly obvious that problems occur. As the Functionalist's view of society is based on value consensus, this view implements society being a unified system where every individual and member agrees to the same beliefs, norms and values. It has not taken into consideration that the collective conscience will let some members feel constrained as it is assumed that the needs of the society will meet the needs of each individual (Horne, Tomlinson & Whannel, 1999). A Functionalist perspective does not take account of negative factors or aspects. A weakness with this theory is that 'it is based on the assumption that the needs of all groups within a society are the same as the needs of the society as a whole (Coakley, 2001). This causes us to underestimate the existence of differences and conflicts of interest within a society and to ignore cases where sports benefit some groups more than others which this then limits our understanding of different conflicts and dynamics changes in societies. The Marxist's perspective is dominantly based on economic factors and over emphasises them; money is assumed to be everything within society and social life (Coakley, 2004). This in turn leads to assumptions that those owning the productive and therefore economic resources are given the power and use it to control those without to maintain their hegemony. Further factors that can form and shape society like gender, ethnicity, age, culture etc. ...read more.


Which means that society as a whole is so obscure and different from place to place that not one theory can explain what occurs in a society. However Coakley (2001) states that theories are tools that provide us with the framework for asking questions, identifying problems, gathering information, explaining social life, prioritizing strategies to deal with problems and anticipating the consequences of our actions and interventions. So they are still essential to society and helping to understand how we survive and interact with one another. Reference List Coakley, J. (2001) Sport in Society: Issues and controversies, London: McGraw Hill Coakley, J. (2004) Sport in Society: Issues and Controversies 8th edition, London: McGraw Hill Coakley, J. and Dunning, E. (2004) Handbook of Sports Studies, London: Sage Creaven, S. (2000) Marxism and Realism: A Materialistic Application of Realism in the Social Sciences, London: Routledge Dunning, E. (1999) Sport matters: Sociological studies of sport, violence and civilisation, London: Routledge Dunning, E. Maguire, J. and Pearton, R. (1993) The Sport Process: A Comparative and Development Approach, Leeds: Human Kinetics Publishers Giddens, A. (2001) Sociology 4th edition, Cambridge: Polity Press Haralambos, M. and Holborn, M. (2000) Sociology Themes and Perspectives 5th edition, London: HarperCollins Publishers Limited Horne, J. Tomlinson, A. and Whannel, G. (1999) Understanding Sport: An Introduction to the Sociological and Cultural Analysis of Sport, London: E & FN Spon Jarvie, G. (2006) Sport, Culture and Society an Introduction, London: Routledge Maguire, J. and Young, K. (2002) Theory, Sport and Society, London: Elsevier Science Mashall Scambler, G. (2005) Sport and Society: History, Power and Culture, Maidenhead: McGraw Hill Education ?? ?? ?? ?? 1 ...read more.

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