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  • Functionalism
    • key points
      • structural theory with a macro approach - looks at the wider view of society and sees people as shaped to become the products of society
      • started by Emile Durkheim 1858 -1917
      • consensus theory - based on agreement in society of shared norms and values creating social solidarity and harmony
    • Durkheim Main beliefs
      • collective conscience - members of society share the same morals from the same norms and values which makes society have unity and solidarity
      • Believed that society had shared norms and values - this caused social solidarity and. a sense of unity so that people felt part of their society
      • Believed  society needed social order to survive - this was passed down through socialisation and informed through social control
    • organic analogy
      • functionalists use the organic analogy to explain how functionalism works - an analogy is used when comparing something difficult to explain to something more simple
      • Functionalists compare society to a human body - it is made up of different parts which are the institutions like a human body is made up of organs
      • the institutions of society are like the different parts of a human body - they all rely on each other and they are all essential for survival.
      • the institutions all perform different functions for society but they are all essential in helping to achieve social solidarity
    • socialisation
      • Durkheim believed that socialisation created social order by socialising us into the norms and values of our society
      • socialisation - the process where individuals learn the norms and values of their society
      • primary socialisation - the first and most important socialisation that takes place in the early stages of life where norms and values are learned from the family
      • secondary socialisation - socialisation which takes place in later life where individuals learn the norms and values of the wider society. this comes from different institutions such as education and the workplace
    • Strengths
      • the organic analogy makes it easy to understand
      • it has a macro approach, looking at the wider view of society as a whole
      • it encourages the need for the education system to pass down norms and values to children who then develop a  collective conscious and carry on the social solidarity
    • weaknesses
      • Marxists - would say that norms and values are imposed not agreed and they are passed down because the bourgeoisie own the superstructure which is used to socialise the subject class into ruling class ideology to exploit them and they are not aware because of their FCC
      • it assumes that society has equality for everyone which isn't true
      • functionalists believe in a meritocracy in society where people are rewarded for their good actions. however other things depend on your awards such as social class and education
      • SA - would say that it is not a realistic view of society because it doesn't look into the small scale interactions between individuals
      • people in society still don't agree about norms and values which causes conflict
      • Feminism - would say that society is not equal because men have more opportunities and that the norms and values are based on patriarchal ideology which only benefit the males
      • Feminists and marxists - society is divided into two unequal groups where one is weaker and the other in more powerful
      • it sees all the institutions of society as performing positive functions, ignoring the disfunctional contributions it makes to society such as broken famillies.


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