Explain and Evaluate Functionalist, Marxist and Interactionist theories of Society.

1276 Words Jul 10th, 2018 6 Pages
In this essay I will be covering Marxist, Interactionist and Functionalist theories of society. I will be examining their strengths and weaknesses. Using the three social theories, the macro approach of Marx that is used to analyse society from a class conflict view between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie, the macro approach that Durkheim used when analysing social systems and populations on a large scale and who’s theory views individual’s issues as reflective of wider social patterns and the micro approach of George Mead who focused on small scale social interaction and who’s theory interprets the behaviour of individuals as significant and a way to interpret how the world is socially constructed.
Marxism was founded by Karl Marx and
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Functionalism was then was refined by Talcott Parsons (1902 – 1917). His view was that when our values have been institutionalised and behaviour is structured accordingly, society will be stable and balanced. Parsons calls this social equilibrium, which he suggests maintaining by socialisation and social control through the use of four basic functional prerequisites: adaptation, goal attainment, integration and pattern maintenance, all of which need to be solved for society to survive. Functionalist theory tries to explain how society remains stable rather than in chaos and how functionalism contributes to the stability of the whole society. An example of how functionalism works would be; Primary socialization of a child at home preparing them for the secondary socialization of school, then at school it is not just the national curriculum that is taught, they are also preparing youngsters for life after school (paid work) by using ‘the hidden curriculum’. The hidden curriculum gets you ready for work where you will be contributing to society by paying taxes and meanwhile having a role to play to keep society functioning. “Functionalism is good at explaining consensus – why society hold together and share a common morality” (Giddens, 2009, p.?) . Functionalism is dependent on the idea that social systems are
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