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Oil Sands

Decent Essays
In this essay I will use the social issue of oil sands and its impact on climate change to critically compare the social order and class struggle perspectives in social theory. To examine the social order perspective, I will use the theories of Robert Merton and Harold Garfinkel. For the class perspective theory, I will use the theories of Pierre Bourdieu and Immanuel Wallenstein. The social order perspective explains the social issue of climate change in terms of how the social structures of the economy enforce and produce the ways in which people discuss climate change. Its main strength is that it identifies how the economy is able to shape discussions and create a sense of order around the opposing conflict of interest between the economy…show more content…
Merton’s theory derives from the fundamentalist perspective in which he defines manifest functions as the easily recognizable and intended outcomes, whereas latent functions are unintended. Merton argues the distinction between manifest and latent functions has significant value and that both functions need to be recognized as an approach to explaining any social phenomena (Powell 2017: Feb 15). Latent functions are not necessarily the anticipated outcome, however a closer examination of this function can lead to a better understanding of a social relation or patterns observed (Longofer & Winchester, 2016). For instance, in applying the social issue of climate change to Merton’s manifest and latent theory, it is clear the manifest function of oil sands is for refineries to extract the oil to produce fuel (energy source). As a result of increased reliance on oil sands as fuel, the process of refining oil and clearing land to extract the oil from these oil sands, releases tons of pollution into the atmosphere, creating the phenomena known as climate change. The perceived function of oil sands is not to harmful to the environment, however; it becomes the negative consequence of the objective. Although the manifest function does not recognize that the use of oil sands leads to an increased threat of the environment, the latent function is able to identify the relationship. This latent function leads to the reexamination of the use of oil sand and how our society collectively moves on about making informed decisions regarding both the production and the rate at which we use
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