Sociology Review on The Different Concepts of Society

About this sample

About this sample


Words: 2439 |

Pages: 5|

13 min read

Published: Sep 4, 2018

Words: 2439|Pages: 5|13 min read

Published: Sep 4, 2018

Sociology, by definition, is the study of social behavior or society, including its origins, development, organization, networks, and institutions. This means it's social science which uses a variety of different methods to investigate and advance a range of knowledge and understanding of social change, order, and disorder. Functionalism is a prospect invented by Emile Durkheim. Functionalists see society as a whole body and everybody within that society has their role to play in order to keep it alive. Durkheim conceptualized society as being an organism, and just like within an organism, all component, or in this case person, play their required role, but none of those roles will work successfully without the other, and if one role is not fulfilled by others must stand forward and adapt to keep things in working order.

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The functionalist views and perspectives are most popular with American sociologist through the 1940’s and1950’s who focused more on the behavioral side of the social order, unlike European functionalists who pay more attention to the inner workings of social order. all parts of society depend on each other. Family, economic, educational, religious, government and media are the core institutions which are most important to understand this theory. Just as the body relies on the heart to keep other vital organs working functionalists believe that society relies on the people to keep the system working. Functionalists see family and education as the inner dependent components that build up society. Functionalists’ argue that society would fail to work properly if the family failed to function properly just as the body would stop working if the heart failed to supply blood.

Functionalists believe that this would occur because the family is an institution in which primary socialization happens. Primary socialization occurs when the younger family member is taught the social norms beliefs and values of their setting by a parent or in some cases other family members. A value consensus is established when everybody shares the same values within a society and as the family is the source of primary socialization it has a critical function in the social system and has more of a positive function within the social body. ‘’Talcott Parsons argued socialization,social equilibrium, social order and functional perquisites were all vital fora society to function properly.’’ George Peter Murdockenquires that four important functions the family must provide for the society to run substantially is: sexual, reproductive, economic and educational.

Functionalism doesn’t embolden individuals to on go an active role in developing their social environment, even if doing this might have beneficial factors for them. In contrast to this, functionalism sees agitating for social change as undesirable due to the various parts of society that will compensate in a relatively natural way for the issues that possibly may occur. Marxism, which is an economic and social system, is purely based upon the economic and political ideologies of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. It would take veritably volumes to define the full connotations and ramifications of the Marxist social and economic ideology, Marxism is summed up in the Encarta ReferenceLibrary as “a theory in which class struggle is a central element in the analysis of social change in Western societies.” Marxism is the antithesis of capitalism which is defined by Encarta as “an economic system based on the private ownership of the means of production and distribution of goods, characterized by a free competitive market and motivation by profit.”

Marxism is the system of socialism of which the dominant feature is public ownership of the means of production, distribution, and exchange. Under capitalism, the proletariat, the working class or “the people,” own only their capacity to work; they have the ability only to sell their own labor. According to Marx, a class is defined by the relations of its members to the means of production. He proclaimed that history is the chronology of class struggles, wars, and uprisings. Under capitalism, Marx continues, the workers, in order to support their families are paid a bare minimum wage or salary. The worker is alienated because he has no control over the labor or product which he produces. The capitalists sell the products produced by the workers at a proportional value as related to the labor involved. Surplus value is the difference between what the worker is paid and the price for which the product is sold. An increasing immiseration of the proletariat occurs as the result of economic recessions; these recessions result because the working class is unable to buy the full product of their labors and the ruling capitalists do not consume all of the surplus value.

A proletariat or socialist revolution must occur, according to Marx, where the state(the means by which the ruling class forcibly maintains rule over the other classes) is a dictatorship of the proletariat. Communism evolves from socialism out of this progression: the socialist slogan is “From each according to his ability, to each according to his work.” The communist slogan varies thusly:“From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.” Marxist view of religious beliefs was sustained because the worker under the capitalist regimes was miserable and alienated. Religion, according to Marx was the response to the pain of being alive, the response to earthly suffering. Feminism has two parts: the role in society and the cultural beliefs.

Traditionally, there was a division of labor meaning that men would go out to do work societies paid jobs, whereas it was culturally decreed that it was the women responded to do all of the unpaid work such as housework, cooking, and childcare. The problem for feminists of this division of labor was the economic dependence that it put women in as they would be broke without the income of the mail as they were unable to earn the money themselves. Men were able to command sovereigns as they controlled the money. Women lacked power relationships because they couldn’t walk away if they were being treated badly.

For these reasons, feminists have continued to argue that it is equally as important for women to be in control of their fertility. If women had no choice in taking on the colossal amounts of unpaid work that comes with raising kids then they have no choice about being in economic dependence. Most cultural beliefs cast men and women as opposites. Men are represented as strong, cogent and antagonistic whereas women are pictured to be weak, emotional and submissive. In this system, the leaders were the men, therefore women were the natural servers of society.

Feminists argue that these beliefsnaturalise the gender division of labor so much to the extent that we don’teven see it. Furthermore, feminists also debate that these beliefs hamper women when they do take on rules in paid work. The comprehensiveness of these beliefs means that even though men and women could be doing the exact same objective, women’s performance will be observed to be lower. What is Marxist feminism? Marxist feminism is a sub-type of feminist ideology which focuses on the dismantling of capitalism as a way to liberate women. Marxist feminism states that economic inequality, dependence, political confusion and ultimately unhealthy social relations between men and women are the root of women’s oppression in the current social context. This idea was laid by Engels. Marxism claims that individuals are under the oppression of a dominant power structure. Marxist feminism points out the role of capitalism in the oppression of women. What is radical feminism? Radical feminism is a philosophy emphasizing the patriarchal roots of inequality between men and women, or, more specifically, social dominance of women by men.

Radical feminism views patriarchy as dividing rights, privileges, and power primarily by sex, and as a result oppressing women and privileging men. Radical feminism opposes existing political and social organization in general because it is inherently tied to patriarchy. radical feminists tend to be skeptical of political action within the current system, and instead, tend to focus on culture change that undermines patriarchy and associated hierarchical structures. Radical feminists tend to be more militant in their approach than other feminists are.

Radical feminist aims to dismantle patriarchy, rather than making adjustments to the system through legal changes. Radical feminists also resisted reducing oppression to an economic or class issue, as socialist or Marxist feminism sometimes did or does. What is a liberal feminist? Liberal feminism is an individualistic form of feminist theory, which focuses on women's ability to maintain their equality through their own actions and choices. Its emphasis was on making the legal and political rights of women equal to men. Liberal feminists argue that society holds the false belief that women are, by nature, less intellectually and physically capable than men; thus it tends to discriminate against women in the academy, the forum, and the marketplace.

Liberal feminists believe that "female subordination is rooted in a set of customary and legal constraints that block women's entrance to and success in the so-called public world". They strive for sexual equality via political and legal reform. Interactionism is a theoretical perspective in which society is thought to be a product of the everyday social interactions among millions of people. Instead of looking at a social system on a larger scale, such as the entire population of a country or third world countries, interactionism focuses on smaller-scale social interactions, such as the interactions between individuals or small social groups. George Herbert Mead, Max Weber, and Herbert Blumer have all made several contributions to the interactionism theory. Interactionism in sociology focuses on the way that we act, or make conscious choices regarding our behavior that proceed from how we interpret situations. In other words, humans are social actors and must adjust our behavior based on the actions of other social actors. Interactionism examines how different social actors make sense of or interpret the behavior of those around us. This information can be used to understand the social construction of the world, which is focused on not only the meanings that we give to behavior but also how we interpret the meanings of behavior. For example, suppose that we were driving along a road when a truck speeds by us going 20miles per hour over the speed limit. We would interpret that behavior as being wrong and illegal since the car was breaking the speed limit. Now let's say that we heard a siren and saw that the truck was actually a red fire truck going to put out a fire. Then we would interpret this behavior as acceptable given the fact that the fire truck has a good reason for breaking the speed limit. Interactionists are interested in how people see themselves in the broader social context. Interactionists want to understand each individual, and how they act within society. In extreme cases, they would deny class as an issue and would say that we cannot generalize that everyone from one social class thinks in one way. Instead, they believe everyone has different attitudes, values, culture, and beliefs.

Therefore, it is the duty of the sociologist to carry out the study within society. They set out to gather qualitative data (properties that are observed and can generally not be measured with a numerical result). Postmodernism sociology focuses on individual truths and stays away from information that's confined to cultures, races, traditions or groups, yet understands that individual experiences will always be relative and cannot yield universal truth. It is difficult to define postmodernism and to create boundaries for its studies because it is a fairly elusive principle. Some of the beliefs that have come from postmodernism include feminism and socialism. The term postmodernism made its way into sociology from literary theory and criticism in the 1970s; at the same time, it was part of a wider innovative movement in the discipline, continuing and reformulating a series of important sociological topics. The key concepts of sociological postmodernism are subject, identity, text, and symbol. On these grounds, postmodernity is characterized as a form of social order in which the electronic media play a prominent role, symbolic codes are pervasive, and social identities are fragmented. These terms are also employed in the critique of sociological theory as a product of modernity.

According to this critique, scientific theories work as symbol systems enabling certain courses of social action, and the knowing subject is the product of social circumstances. Sociological postmodernism claims a structural similarity between texts and social order: both are network-like systems of symbols. On the methodological side, sociological postmodernism emphasizes qualitative research methods, especially discourse analysis and ethnography. The main problems with postmodernism are that it can be seen as unrealistic, idealistic and overly sentimental and romantic. Others feel that postmodernism is actually dangerous because it will create a place where there cannot be any growth or progress. Two concepts of society are functionalism and Marxism.

Functionalists believe that different parts of society work together to keep the society running whereas Marxists believe societies are unequal and unfair. Both concepts differ in their views of how society operates, for instance, a Marxist would claim that there are only2 classes and it is very hard to progress up a class whereas a functionalist would disagree and claim the harder you work, the more you achieve and the better your social position. For example, society's institutions adapt to changing circumstances such as education last longer these days because generally, you need to be more skilled in working life. Postmodernists stand against universalizing education systems –there is no one truth, then itis not appropriate to have a one size fits all education system. Ideas of education which fit with a postmodern agenda include home education, liberal forms of education, adult education and lifelong learning (because adults can make more of a choice), education outside of formal education (leisure). Marx would argue that this is necessary for society as you need upper and a, however, functionalists believe in adequately preparing people for work.

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Marxists believe the change in society is caused by revolution and conflict, where the lower class revolt against the higher class and change society in some way. Whereas functionalists believe all societies are based around values, Marxists feel societies are based around conflict. Marxism and functionalism view society in very different ways, however, both have been criticised for ignoring individual's perspective and choices. Both concepts think that society shapes the individual rather than the individual shapes societies. Society has changed and become more complicated so that Marxism and functionalism do not apply as much today as it did in past centuries.

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Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

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Sociology Review on the Different Concepts of Society. (2018, July 03). GradesFixer. Retrieved June 20, 2024, from
“Sociology Review on the Different Concepts of Society.” GradesFixer, 03 Jul. 2018,
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