Identify and Discuss the Key Features of Both Functionalist and Marxist Theories. [25 Marks]

2746 Words Mar 25th, 2014 11 Pages
Identify and discuss the key features of both Functionalist and Marxist theories. [25 Marks]

Functionalist and Marxist are macro sociological theories that give a better understanding of the society. Functionalist theory is referred to as the consensus whilst the Marxist theory is known as the conflict theory. Key features of both theories are going to be identified and discussed.

According to Haralambos and Holborn (2008), a theory is a set of ideas which attempts to explain how something works.

Functionalism is one of the major theoretical perspectives in sociology which explains how social order is possible or how society remains relatively stable.

Marxism is a theoretical perspective that emphasizes the role of coercion and
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Thus a functional prerequisite of society involves at least a minimal degree of integration between the parts. Many functionalists argue that this integration is based largely on value consensus, that is on agreement about values by members of society. Thus if the major values of society are expressed in the various parts of the social structure, those parts will be integrated. Thus, the parts must work hand in hand with each other. Moreover, for the continuation of the society, there must be a general consensus or agreement over basic values. For example, it can be argued that the value of materialism integrates many parts of the social structure in Western industrial society. The economic system produces a large range of goods, and ever increasing productivity is regarded as an important goal. The educational system is partly concerned with producing the skills and expertise to expand production and increase its efficiency. The family is an important unit of consumption, with its steadily rising demand for consumer durables such as washing machines, videos and microwaves. The political system is partly concerned with improving material living standards and raising productivity. (Giddens, 2006), and (Haralambos and Holborn, 2008).

In addition, functional pre-requisite is also another key feature of