Explain and Evaluate Functionalist, Marxist and Interactionist theories of Society.

Explain and Evaluate Functionalist, Marxist and Interactionist theories of Society.

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In this essay I will be covering Marxist, Interactionist and Functionalist theories of society. I will be examining their strengths and weaknesses. Using the three social theories, the macro approach of Marx that is used to analyse society from a class conflict view between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie, the macro approach that Durkheim used when analysing social systems and populations on a large scale and who’s theory views individual’s issues as reflective of wider social patterns and the micro approach of George Mead who focused on small scale social interaction and who’s theory interprets the behaviour of individuals as significant and a way to interpret how the world is socially constructed.
Marxism was founded by Karl Marx and like functionalism it is a structuralist theory; it is another macro approach in some ways taking the same views as functionalism in that Marxists see the structure of society as wholly responsible for the way which an individual’s behaviour is heavily influenced. In opposition to functionalists, Marxists do not see this as fair and believe that society contains vast inequalities that are made to benefit few rather than the many. It takes a macro approach to society and has the idea that societies are orderly due to the ability of powerful and influential groups imposing their ideas on the powerless. “Capital is dead labour, which, vampire – like, lives only by sucking living labour, and lives the more, the more labour it sucks” (Marx, Capital, p. 342). Karl Marx was very influential and there are many variations of his first work. For Marxism class and the economy are key. Work is very important in this as Marx says that all forms of social activity cannot take place without people firstly ensu...

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...ism the way in which they do focus so much on an individual can be seen as either positive or negative.

Works Cited

Bryant, L. Functionalism.
[online] Available:
[Accessed 1 January 2014].

Durkheim, E. (2012), The Division of Labour in Society, Eastford. Martino Fine Books.

Foucault, M. (2003). Society Must be Defended , London. Penguin press

Haralambos , M. (2008) Haralambos and Holborn - Sociology Themes and Perspectives 7th edition, London. Collins Educational.

Marx, K. (1992) Capital: Volume 1: A Critique of Political Economy, London. Penguin Classics
Merton, R. (2010) Sociology of Science and Sociology as Science, Durham. Duke University Press

Stoler, A. (1995), Race and the Education of desire: Foucault’s “history of sexuality” and the colonial order of things. Durham. Duke University Press

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