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SOCIAL INEQUALITY ­ FUNCTIONALISM ­ GENERAL VIEWS
Outline and assess Functionalist explanations of inequality [40]
Durkheim
Believes social inequality has a function in society ­ society needs people to take on
the jobs with differing status in order for it to function smoothly; this is known as the
division of…

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a triple shift of paid work, emotional work and domestic work which shows unfair
gender inequalities ­ the roles which Parsons describes lead to inequalities regarding
how much work men and women would be doing
Davis & Moore
Believe social stratification serves a functional purpose in society; they help it…

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Outline and assess Functionalist explanations of age inequality [40]
Parsons ­ Childhood
Childhood is a period when socialisation into a societies culture takes place; children
learn the norms and values associated with different social roles ­ this enables them
to contribute to society as adults
Believes girls have more opportunities…

Page 4

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He believed, particularly in the USA, that the elderly become isolated from
participating in the most important social structures and interests
Cunnings and Henry came up with the disengagement theory of ageing; elderly
people actively begin to disengage from their previous social roles as they realise
that they will die…

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Human Capital theory
Proposes that men and women serve different roles, and therefore the pay gap is
justified as men have more `human capital' than women
This is because women are less committed to paid work and are more likely to take
career breaks; many women choose to prioritise their…

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Immediate family comes first and other obligations and relationships come second
Murdock therefore assumes that the nuclear family is positive and a beneficial
institution in which family members receive nurturing, unconditional love and care
Leach said that nuclear families have become so close-knit and isolated from
everything else that a…

Page 7

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Believes social inequality has a function in society ­ society needs people to take on
the jobs with differing status in order for it to function smoothly; this is known as the
division of labour

Working class people are more likely to be in manual labour, while the middle class…

Page 8

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The old boys network is also an example of how the classes may hold social closure
away from the other classes, socialising their children to have the same values

Davis & Moore
Believe social stratification serves a functional purpose in society; they help it to
meet its needs and survive…

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Such differences are inevitable for a period of time until the groups assimilate ­
when the minority groups give up their own cultural values and adopt those of their
host nation, the ethnic majority

Believes racism is a result of ethnic minority groups not assimilating

Why should ethnic minorities have…

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