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· The topic we now know as modernism started in
the 19th and 20th century where there were major
technological, social and political advances.
· The main modernist approaches are Marxism,
Functionalism and Social action theory (also
known as interactionism).
· Structural perspectives analyse society as a whole
system made up of different parts that mesh
· Structural approaches can be either consensus or
conflict based.…read more

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Functionalism -
Talcott Parsons
Parsons started by saying that society is simular to
a living thing, every part of it is there to serve a
purpose and to Function to keep it alive. Just like
a living thing has parts of its body to keep it alive.
Eg. A heart pumping blood around a body. This is
called the Organic Analogy.…read more

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The Evolving of Society
Functionalist describe change as evolutionary.
They say that that if one part of society
changes other parts will slowly evolve to adapt
to this change.
For example, some animals have adapted, eg.
A reptile has no heart as it doesn't need it for
its survival. Similarly, institutions exist or don't
depending on what our societies need.…read more

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Criticisms of Functionalism
· Too much focus on harmony and cooperation. It
fails to acknowledge the differences and conflicts of
social groups in society.
· It tries to see a positive outlook on all of society
· It has been suggested that functionalism takes a
conservative approach
· It has a fatalistic approach to the nature of the
inequalities in society
· Functionalists says that the conflict in society is
minimal because people now accept inequalities.
Conflict theorists disagree with this.…read more

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Parsons suggests that Just like our
bodies society resolve four basic needs
in order to survive -
1.Adaption (Economic) - a society need to provide
an adequate standard of life for the insurance of
its members.
2.Goal Attainment (Political) - Societies need to
develop a way of making decisions. Societies can
vary from Democracies to Dictatorships.…read more

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