Asses the Functionalist explanations of Social Inequality. (40) Social Inequality refers to any difference between groups or individuals in society which results in one having inferior life chances than the other. Functionalists believe these inequalities are the result of the meritocracy we live in. This is a system based on the idea that social stratification is necessary and desirable for the society. Functionalists argue that inequalities have a purpose; they are functional for society. Functionalism is a structural theory based on the notion that society is based on shared values. This consensus means that society will be in a state of equilibrium and there is harmony, as a result of which there will be social solidarity. …show more content…
There is not a consensus with regard to which are the most important jobs; for e.g. bankers are paid very well but most people would probably argue that nurses are more important to society. Some groups start with more power and status and are therefore are able to ensure they and their children get access to the education that will mean they then get a higher status jobs. Life chances are affected by status and wealth and the poor have less access to opportunity to gain access and wealth. Tumin argued that going to universities is not really a sacrifice, although many people in the UK would probably argue it will be as fees go up. The work of the functionalists is not supported by empirical evidence, particularly with regard to the idea that there is a value consensus. Marxism is based on the macro theory which, like functionalism, is concerned with the structure of society. Marxism explains inequalities in societies such as the UK by examining the ways in which the bourgeoisie exploit and oppress the working class or proletariat. Inequalities are a result of the economic arrangements people make to meet their basic needs. Bowles and Gintis used Marxist ideas to explain how the education system reproduced the ideas of the ruling class and legitimated inequalities. They argue students’ experience of schooling is an alienating one. School specifically prepares students for their future as workers in a capitalist system. They argue that school does not
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“Some Principles of Stratification” by Kingsley Davis and Wilbert E. Moore is a great instance of the structural functionalist theory. In the article, it views stratification through the lens of a functionalist and states that stratification doesn’t necessarily lead to conflict, rather we need it in order for society to function. Furthermore, it illustrates the functions of stratification,
Structural functionalism is based on the thought that society operates with the expectation of everyone serves a purpose. In order to operate effectively, each individual has a function that provides a role that others are dependent on. The responsibility of society is shared by the involvement of all institutions. Poverty in society is view by functionalists as purposeful. It provides society with jobs as social service providers. The social service providers are dependent on various institutions to provide the necessary sufficiency to sustain their role in society. This revolving dependence is crucial to structural functionalism.
Structural functionalism is a macro analysis view defined as “The way each part of society functions together to contribute to the whole.” In education, it focuses on how it serves the needs of society. Functionalists view education as a way to pass on knowledge and skills. While functionalists believe that schools sort students based upon their academic knowledge, Conflict theorists believe that students are sorted based on their social/financial class. Conflict theory is “The way inequalities contribute to social differences and perpetual differences in power.” Conflict theorists believe that students of lower status won’t have the same opportunities in school as students of a higher class. A student of a family with a
The Functionalist theory emphasizes the contributions (functions) that all parts of society (e.g., social institutions) make within society. This theory has contributed to sociology by providing a view “which emphasizes the way in which the parts of a society are structured to maintain stability.” (Schafer 2013, pg13)
The Functionalist theory believes that Social stratification, including age inequality, is necessary for the functioning of a healthy society. Their perspective of social inequality is the belief that "inequality is not only inevitable but also necessary for the smooth functioning of society’. Functionalists believe that Age has become more important in modern society; age provides the function of social integration leading to social cohesion. Parson argues that social cohesion is based on age groups knowing their place and their role. Children must be socialized into their adult roles. Eisenstadt agreed and argued that children have less status then adults. They must
Moreover, Societies are held together by both consensus with values and coercion. The functionalist view is that the balance of harmony among the society is held up by societal institutions. For example, schools, church and family are seen as the most significant foundation for an adequately functional society.
Functionalism is a macro system theory which sees society as a mega structure of linked social institutions such as school, family and the legal system. Each different institution is functional to ensure the whole of society is maintained. For example primary socialisation takes place within the home where children are taught basic life
The Functionalist theory believes that society functions so that each individual plays a specific role. Their perspective of social inequality is the belief that "inequality is not only inevitable but also necessary for the smooth functioning of society."
Structural Functionalism is the understanding of society that presumes social systems are assembled to fill social needs. (Wikibooks, 2012). Social inequality refers to individuals in a society that do not have equal social status. (Wikibooks, 2012). Social inequality is the current situation. Factors contributing to poverty and hunger are the social and economic challenges faced by the family. The number one cause noted for the increase is unemployment of the parent. Closely following this is access to affordable housing. Other influences are low wages, gap between rich and poor, earning disparity between men and women, barriers to affordable child care and health insurance. Inequality is a motivator for people to change. The organizations and institutions are interdependent, when one makes a change the others accommodate by changing as well. The WIC, SNAP and National School Lunch Program have adjusted their entrance criteria to meet the greater needs of the majority of the people.
Functionalism looks at society in aspects of how it contributes to the steadiness/cohesion of the whole society (Anderson, Taylor, & Logio, P. 18). There are many institutions that are looked at that include the economic system, government, education, religion, health care, and family. All of which have different roles and perform different functions to ensure that society operates in a well-ordered manner. An example of this would be how family reproduces, takes care of children, exposes children to culture and heritage, supports other family members, and shares life experiences. Shared values and social stability are keys to this perspective. When this system breaks down it is because people’s needs are not being covered and shared values are deteriorating. When this occurs, it affects all parts of functionalism and the society must achieve
Bowles and Gintis also believe that schools are no longer about the teaching of a subject but the Social Principle or control of the pupils meaning that schools concentrate more on the hidden curriculum than the knowledge process. Equally, schools don’t reward independence and innovation, therefore meritocracy cannot exist within our capitalist society as capitalism is based on the principle of a ruling class (the bourgeosis) and a working class (the proletariat) and meritocracy would abolish the idea of the ruling class, society would be equal. According to Louis Althusser (1972), a French Marxist philosopher, the school serves to mould individuals into subjects that fit with the requirements of capitalism, they learn submission, deference and respect for the economy and their place in it. The school also works to ensure that the labour force is technically competent. Also, according to Althusser, the ruling class within any society exercises control over and through schooling and the Ideological State Apparatuses (ISAs). The ideologies themselves express the material interests of the ruling class, so this control over and through the ISAs maintains what is called class hegemony, or domination. Althusser is also draws attention to the powerful effects of the ‘hidden curriculum’ of
Functionalism is a consensus perspective, whereby society is based on shared values and norms into which members are socialised. For functionalists, society is seen as a system of social institutions such as the economy, religion and the family all of which perform socialisation functions.
Social Stratification is considered to be a hierarchy of positions concerning economic production which influences the social rewards to those in the positions (Social Stratification, Definition Social Stratification, n.d.). There are two commonly known theories when it comes to social stratification, the functional theory, and the conflict theory. The functionalist believes that stratification is needed for society to enhance stability and motivate members of the society to work hard. According to the functional theory, inequality ensures that the most functionally important jobs are filled by the individual who has the best skills for the job.
Structural Functionalism is “A major sociological perspective that views society as an interdependent system of parts (structures) and purposes (functions) that work together to make a society operate (Larkin, 2015)”. In order for a society to work all parts of the same society must work together. In structural functionalism society nearly depends on one another to stay afloat. If Something changes it can causes a disruption in society and begins to make things become unbalanced. Functionalism focuses on many groups that make up society, for example Government, Judiciary, and religion are some of the key groups that benefits in society strengthening their social relationships and the very world humans live in.