Functionalism and Marxism: Sociological Perspectives Essay

670 WordsNov 3, 20123 Pages
Sociological Concepts and Perspectives: Functionalism and Marxism In this essay I am going to compare and contrast Functionalism and Marxism. They are both sociological perspectives which have theories about society and the people that live within it. They attempt to explain how society influences people, and similarly how people influence society. However, the two perspectives are clearly different. 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…show more content…
The proletariats work large amounts of hours for the bourgeoisie for minimal wages and are therefore the subject class. The conflict strain is due to the friction of the working class’s needs for more wages and the ruling class’s exploitation and deprivation of the working class’s rights. Functionalists agree that social classes exist but would argue that these are to create balance and create a social role for everyone. Both Functionalism and Marxism are structural perspectives and see crime as coming from the nature of society rather than from the individual. But where functionalists see crime as coming from a breach of the shared values of society, Marxists see it as a breaking of the rules imposed by a ruling minority. For functionalists laws are created from shared values. For Marxists these laws are not created out of a consensus but by a minority to benefit that minority. Marxists argue that capitalist society actually generate crime because it encourages greed and crime is a response to the inequalities in wealth. Analogies can be used in both theories to explain the social structure. Functionalism uses the human body as an example which demonstrates how all the organs are vital and work together for survival. Marxism uses the building analogy to show how the economy is the base of all parts in society and how it develops according
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