Structural Consensus And Conflict Theories Of Social Action

2201 WordsDec 8, 20149 Pages
This essay seeks to compare and contrast structural consensus and conflict theories of social action such as Durkheimian, Parsonian, Marxist and Weberian with interpretivist perspectives. The aim is to outline the main features of each theory whilst critically analysing the similarities and differences between them. It will also examine the relevance of these theories within modern day society. Durkheim was one of the most influential sociologists in relation to the functionalist theories which stated society consisted of a structural consensus with a collective conscience of shared norms and values. He argued in order to establish the meaning of society one must understand the structures and social facts. He highlights changes in society from traditional societies which were linked with mechanical solidarity consisting of small scale ties with little division of labour. This in turn created a strong collective conscience of unity in comparison to modern society where differences amongst groups are promoted in turn weakening social solidarity. This is due to rapid changes within society in which Durkheim emphasises is due to a complex division of labour. Durkheim then argues that due to the combination of enlightenment notions and a capitalist society a collective conscience of individualism and greed is created. (Jones, Bradbury and Boutillier, 2011, pp.62-64) Early functionalists linked society to the human body. The organic analogy was used to highlight the links and
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