Structural Functionalism and Conflict Theory

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Structural Functionalism & Conflict Theory Karl Marx and Max Weber were the first conflict theorists in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Following Marx and Weber were three mid-20th century conflict theorists: Lewis Coser, Ralf Dahrendorf, and Randall Collins. Coser draws his theoretical ideas from Simmel. Like Simmel, Coser maintains that conflict is healthy for society. In contrast, Dahrendorf combines theoretical ideas from Marx and Weber. Dahrendorf sees power as the main feature in all social relationships. However, Collins incorporates Weber, Durkheim, and Goffman’s theories to provide a micro-level orientation to conflict theory. Collins also used geopolitics at a global level to examine political conflicts historically and…show more content…
383). Merton was best known for his distinction between manifest and latent functions. Whereas manifest functions are the conscious intentions of the actor, latent functions are the unintended consequences of the action. Merton used the example of the Hopi rain dance to illustrate manifest and latent functions. The manifest function of the rain dance often does not produce rain, and is called superstitious by some. However, the rain dance continues to be performed for a function that the actor is unaware of, which is the latent function (Appelrouth and Edles, 2008). “…This behavior may perform a function for the group, although this function may be quite remote from the avowed purpose of the behavior” (Merton, 1949 as quoted by Appelrouth and Edles, 2008, p. 391). Even though the Hopi rain ceremony does not produce the manifest function of producing rain, the ceremony does bear latent functions that sociologists and anthropologists can study. Parsons Sex Roles in the American Kinship System (1943) received a lot of criticism in the 20th century. This 20th century criticism stems from Parsons endorsement of traditional gender roles, and the dire
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