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Non-structuralist theories of society-
postmodernism…read more

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Structuralist & social action theories are modernist theories.
They mainly aim to explain the major changes that occurred
in UK society in the 18th-19th centuries;
1. Industrialisation- the capitalist system emerged with the
introduction of the factory system of production in the
18th century. The theories of functionalism & Marxism
are concerned with the effects of this industrialisation
especially the social class inequalities in wealth & power
which resulted from it.
2. Urbanisation- the huge population movement from rural
to urban areas & the decline in community
accompanying it.
3. Centralised government- the bureaucratic state that takes
a great deal of responsibility for both the economy & the
welfare of its citizens gradually developed between the
18th-20th centuries.
4. Rational thinking- science & reason began to replace
tradition, religion & superstition as a result of
Modernist theories such as interactionism, functionalism,
Marxism, feminism compete with each other to explain why…read more

Slide 3

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· In the past 20 years or so, some sociologists have
identified trends & developments which they claim
show that industrial modernity is fragmenting or
dissolving. They argue that industrial modernity is
being replaced by a postmodern world in which
many sociological ideas & concepts are becoming
irrelevant.…read more

Slide 4

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Work- the nature of work & the economy has
dramatically changed in the last 30 years. Work is no
longer dominated by mass production, with 1000s
working in factories or down mines. Work in the UK in
the 21st century is mainly located within the service
and quaternary sectors.
· Culture- as UK society has grown wealthier, the media
& other cultural industries such as film, advertising &
music have become increasingly central to how people
organise their lives & construct their identities. In
particular the mass media is seen as responsible for
encouraging conspicuous consumption- showing off
status, identity & lifestyle through the consumption of
high status goods such as brands. The mass media is
also responsible for making people aware of & more
accepting of the diverse set of choices available to
people today to construct their identity. For example
the choices of sexuality and choice of clothing…read more

Slide 5

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· Globalisation- global culture has become more
accessible because of digital TV & the web & is seen
by some as undermining the importance of national
& local cultures. Peoples identities in a global
postmodern world are now increasingly shaped by a
greater range of global tastes and symbols. Brands
dominate the global landscape.
· Knowledge- in the postmodern world people no
longer have any faith in absolute truths.
Postmodernists argue that people have become
sceptical & even cynical about the power of science &
politics to change the world. Consequently
postmodernists insist that truth is both unattainable &
irrelevant in the postmodern world. Instead,
postmodernism stresses the relativity of knowledge,
ideas & lifestyle today. This means that all ideas
contain an element of truth.…read more

Slide 6

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Taylor- the characteristics of postmodern society
mean that;
· The key social relationships that used to underpin
modern societies- class, family & gender are no
longer relevant.
· Sociologists can no longer claim to produce expert
knowledge about society as there are no `right'
answers anymore- all points of view have
· Sociologists can no longer make judgements or
claim that the know what is best for society.
Sociology is just one set of ideas competing with
others.…read more

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