Sociological Perspectives Of Functionalism And Feminism Essay

Sociological Perspectives Of Functionalism And Feminism Essay

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This essay will critically discuss the key sociological perspectives of Functionalism, Marxism and Feminism and how they relate to the way relationships are structured within society. In addition to this it will aim to discover which of the three perspectives have the most relevance in modern life.
Functionalists believe that all people share the same values and norms, a value consensus and this leads to the achievement of social solidarity, a sense of unity. Functionalism suggests that society needs to be thought of as a whole and in order for it to function all of the parts, social institutions need to work together. Durkheim used an organic analogy to describe this, comparing society to a human body. The organs all have individual roles, but work together as a system and if one fails then it will lead to the failure of others (Haralambos, 2013). Government warnings that a lack of university places in some areas could adversely affect the economic recovery (Coughlan, 2014) support the theory of functionalism, if one social institution breaks down then it will lead to a breakdown of the whole of society. Problems in the economy would affect government budgets and funding, as a consequence social institutions including the health and the police service would suffer. This would lead to even more problems in other social institutions stemming from ill health and an increase in crime rates. Despite the fact that evidence can be found to support functionalism it is not without criticism, for example it does not recognise that there may be fundamental differences between groups. It focuses on consensus and does not acknowledge conflict. An alternative to this viewpoint is conflict theory and an example of this is Marxism. (Haralambos,...


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... towards gender equality, it has not reached full equality yet. This is in part due to the misconceptions and stereotypes about women that still persist. A recent ad campaign by UN Women (2013) illustrates this using real Google auto-complete search terms such as, “Women should be in the kitchen”, “Women cannot drive” and “Women shouldn’t have rights”. Google auto-complete uses the most common searches and therefore show that many people are making these searches. True gender equality is difficult whilst these perceptions about women are still held by a large number of people. It is unlikely that a woman would be offered a managerial position if the person hiring believed that a woman’s place is in the kitchen. Similarly a female candidate standing in an election is unlikely to be voted in if a large number of the electorate feel that women are less capable than men.

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