Functionalism: explanations for social class inequality

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  • Functionalism: explanations for social class inequality
    • Structural and consensus theory
      • seeks to explain the social world with reference to the main structures, systems and institutions in existence
      • structures, systems and institutions all serve a useful function in maintaining the healthy cohesion of society
    • Durkheim:
      • social inequality + difference are inevitable and important to maintain social order and prevent a state of chaos
    • Parsons:
      • social inequality and difference are functional an inevitable features of social systems
      • social systems must be hierarchical to accomplish order and ranking - both key elements of maintaining a healthy functional society
    • Meritocracy
      • most talented and able justifiably reap the highest rewards
      • competition is healthy and social inequality is inevitabl
    • Davis & Moore:
      • pay is related to talent, the most important jobs are secured by the most able individuals who are thus paid appropriately high wages
    • Evaluation:
      • underplay the importance of social class divisions and class conflict
      • Tumin: what is meant by a 'functionally important' role?
      • degree of social harmony and consensus in society is questionable


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