A Critical outline of the main features of Functionalism, Symbolic Interactionism And Marxism

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Sociology, the study of society; has been adapted by many sociologists so as to put across their own theories. The most important Sociologists of the early 19th century were Emile Durkeim, Karl Marx and Max Weber; a common factor with all these men is that they were all influenced by the world in which they lived.

I intend to, throughout this essay, explain these three different theories, evaluate them and also critically outline their main features.

The Functionalist sees society as built up and working like the human body, made up of interrelated parts, which function for or contribute to the maintenance of society as a whole. (Cited: Browne.K. 'Introducing Sociology ', 2002). Functionalists are concerned with how the different parts
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He saw society as a structure, which was divided into two parts, the infrastructure and the superstructure. The Infrastructure shapes the superstructures, in other words; the economic system will shape the rest of society.

Marx saw contradictions in all societies; for example, in a capitalist society there is a conflict of interest. The company owners employ the workers at a low rate but subsequently gain substantial profits and rewards. In this instance one-group gains, at the expense of the other. Marx believed there would eventually be a revolt against the ruling classes (capitalist). This would result in the disappearance of the classes and therefore the disappearance of oppression and exploitation. This could only happen if the subject class knew they were being exploited but this would take time because the

infrastructure was far more powerful. Another problem for the subject class was that political and legal systems were in favour of capitalism, this aided class domination. Therefore, capitalism was seen to be just and reasonable rather than oppressive and exploitive. Marx believed that capitalism would eventually destroy itself.

A criticism of Marxism is that it sees individuals as a product of their social system, and pictures people as unable to make up their own, minds and take initiative. Cristianity was a
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