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1. Functionalism
Society as a system
Functionalists use an organic analogy ­ we are like a biological organism
Parsons identifies three similarities between society and a biological organism:
1. System ­ both self-regulating and all play a part in the overall importance of the
body.
2. System needs ­ organisms…

Page 2

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Types of society
Identifies two societies ­ traditional and modern. There are five basic sets of norms each:
Traditional societies (Pattern variables A) Modern societies (Pattern variables B)
Ascription ­ status based on fixed characteristics. Not Achievement ­ status based on performance.
what you have achieved.
Diffuseness ­ relationships are…

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4.Postmodernist criticisms
Functionalism assumes society is stable and orderly ­ can't account for the fragmentation of society.
Functionalism is a meta-narrative or `big story' that attempts to look at the whole of society. This is impossible
because of society's fragmentation.

Exam Question
(a) Assess the strengths and weaknesses of the…

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2. Marxism
Marx's Ideas
His ideas can be summed up in 7 ways:

1. Historical materialism
Materialism ­ human beings have material needs and need to work to
achieve them. They use the means of production.
These forces were just human labour but then came tools to assist.
To work…

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The institutions such as religion and the media are controlled by the rich and produce ideologies that the rest
follow.
Creates a false consciousness in the lower classes ­ become a `wage slave'.

6. Alienation
True nature is based on capacity to create things to meet our needs.
Alienation is…

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The ruling class maintain their dominance in two ways:
1. Coercion ­ The army, police, prisons and courts of the capitalist state to force other classes to accept rule.
2. Consent (hegemony) ­ It uses ideas and values to persuade the subordinate classes that its rule is legitimate.

Hegemony and…

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3. Feminist theories
Liberal or reformist feminism
Liberal feminists believe women can achieve gender equality in this way of gradual reforms like laws.
Liberals call for cultural change. That means to reduce the prejudices and stereotypes of women.

Sex and gender
Like Ann Oakley, liberal feminists distinguish between sex and…

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Vague notions of separatism are unlikely to be achieved.
Jenny Somerville ­ Single sex households are unlikely to take over because of heterosexual attraction.
Patriarchy may be in decline anyway.

Marxist feminism
Women's subordination performs important functions:
1. Women are a source of cheap, exploitable labour
2. Women are a…

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4. Action Theories
Max Weber: social action theory
Saw structural and action approaches as necessary to describe social behaviour. An
explanation must have two things:
1. Level of cause ­ explaining the objective structural factors that shape people's
behaviour. For the Calvinist thing, this would be the Protestant Reformation.
2.…

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Labelling theory
Here are three key interactionist concepts that underpin labelling theory:
1. The definition of the situation ­ W.I Thomas argued that if people define a situation as real, the it will have real
consequences. If we b elieve something to be true, then it will affect how we…

Comments

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