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Theoretical Perspectives in Sociology-2
Transcript of Theoretical Perspectives in Sociology-2
Functionalism vs. Conflict
Focused on stability of society, how we are placed in a confused uneasy state ("anomie") when a "strain" occurs
When social control becomes ineffective as a result of the loss of shared values and of a sense of purpose in society
Believed that there is constant conflict that is needed to cause change and improve society
Wrote a great deal on economic conflict, although conflict theorists can discuss many other forms beyond this
Bourgeoisie-the individuals who own the means of production
Proletariat-the individuals who must sell their own labor power
Marxist Social Change
Is our natural state conflict between classes? Or is our natural state a stable society that seeks to avoid "strains"?
Members of Proletariat are exploited by the Bourgeoisie
Results in "alienation" (feeling powerless and isolated from others)
Powerless to stand up and fight the system
Two of the large groups that many Sociologists fall into are "Functionalists" and "Conflict Theorists"
Functionalists essentially feel that society is seeking stability and we have the "setup" that we do in order to make our world stable.
-Society is composed of interrelated parts that work together to maintain stability within society. This stability is threatened by dysfunctional acts
-Society develops institutions that serve a function (family, schools, government, etc.) and contribute to stability
-When an institution is strained, all of the other institutions in the "system" are affected, and no longer function properly
Conflict theorists view the world quite differently from Functionalists. Here are some of their key thoughts:
Society is characterized by social inequality; social life is a struggle for scarce resources. Social arrangements benefit some groups at the expense of others.
The conflicts can take many forms (politics, litigation, family discussions, etc.)
Within the Conflict Perspective there are several different areas that people view conflict as arising: (economic, racial-ethnic, gender)
We will look at the views of Emile Durkheim (who we previously examined in this chapter) and Karl Marx as examples of Functionalism vs. Conflict theory