Perspectives Revision

Notes on sociological perspectives for AS and A2 Sociology

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BHASVIC Sociology Revision: Perspectives
MARXISM (a Social structure or structuralist theory)
A basic conflict exists in virtually all societies between two classes, one who own the
means of production and the other who sell their labour to them.
That is there is always a ruling class (capitalists) and an oppressed class (proletariat).
The ruling class maintains its domination by convincing everyone that it is right that
society is as it is.
They do this by spreading their ideology through the media, schools etc.
Marxists would like to see a revolution leading to a communist society where there is no
ruling class
Marxists, therefore focus on conflict and inequality in society
Explains the origins of conflict in society
Argues for the elimination of inequality and injustice
Communism has not been very successful in practice
Ignores the advantages of capitalism for all classes
Fails to take into account changes in the class structure e.g. the growth of the middle
Places too much importance on economic factors in influencing societies
FUNCTIONALISM (a Social structure or structuralist
Every society is based on shared values: a value consensus or common value system
People are socialised into those values and follow the roles, norms and values dictated
by the common values
Every part of society plays a part in keeping the whole thing going
Societies only change when conditions change and it needs to
Some aspects of society can be dysfunctional: a problem
Sees society as if it were a living organism
Shows how parts of society work together
Explains what links people together in a society
Ignores conflict in society,
Doesn't allow for individual choice: people seen as "puppets" of society
More interested in interaction in small groups than whole societies
Sees human action as based on our interpretation of the situation: people do what they
think is a "good idea at the time"
Focuses on the meanings we give to our own and others' actions
Rejects theories which see people as "puppets" of society
Acknowledges the existence of human choice

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BHASVIC Sociology Revision: Perspectives
Accepts that our own views are important
People are constrained in many ways by the roles they play
Ignores the importance of social structure
Usually focus only on individual cases: not very scientific
FEMINISM (can be structure or action theory)
Sees inequality between men and women as the crucial factor in explaining societies
Sees most societies as patriarchal: dominated by men
There are various types of feminism: radical , liberal; and socialist (Marxist)
Societies also based on the idea that…read more


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