Essay on Sociology- Culture and Identity

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CULTURE AND IDENTITY This essay will aim to critically analyse and evaluate the contribution of modern and post modern perspectives to a sociological understanding of culture and identity. This will be achieved by analysing similarities and differences between three contrasting sociological theories and evaluating their strengths and weaknesses. Studies will be included as the debate is developed further and their contributions will also be explained. Culture is defined simply as the way of life of a group of people. This relates to how they live their lives, the patterns of social organisation and the ‘norms’ they are expected to follow. Culture varies between societies and across time. It is an extremely important part of everyday …show more content…

He believed that the social structure of society shaped humans identity, primarily through socialisation. For Marx, culture was an ideology of the ruling class, who use their unequal, economic power to achieve and maintain order. He proposed that individual identity should be exchanged for group identity to overthrow the oppressive structure of capitalism. However, this could only happen when the working class became fully aware of the nature of their oppression and developed what he termed as a class consciousness. This would allow the movement from a class ‘in itself’, to a class ‘for itself’. Marx saw this realisation as crucial in the development of a class identity which would ensure solidarity of the masses. The true reality and problems of society would then be revealed as the false consciousness of the past was exposed (Haralambos & Holborn 2008, p.669). According to Marx, this ruling class ideology of culture is socialised among the members of society in various ways such as through religion and education to ensure social cohesion and maintain order. Marx famously referred to religion as ‘the opium of the masses’ and argued that it justified the oppression of capitalism (Haralambos & Holborn 2008, p.399). He viewed education as a way for the ruling class to legitimise their wealth and maintain their power. For the working class, education only serves to produce labour for the future. This is achieved by conditioning the

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