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Sociological theories of social inequality

· Functionalists argue that inequalities have a purpose - they are functional for society.

· It is a structural theory based on the notion that society is based on shared values.
· Functionalism is a consensus theory arguing that the structures, systems and institutions…

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· Marxism is based on the writings of Karl Marx who argued that economic forces shape

· Marxists argue inequalities are a result of the economic arrangements people make to meet
their basic needs.

· A few wealthy and powerful people (bourgeoisie) owns the means of production and…

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proletarianised (the process of a group becoming like the proletariat in terms of their
social relationship with the bourgeoisie). Technology has been one cause of this.
He also argues that the same thing has happened to some professions. For example,
teachers. They are increasingly regulated and inspected. They are told…

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· He argues that the ruling class spread their ideas through social institutions such as education
and the media.
· He used the concept of hegemony to describe the ideological control the dominant class
have over the masses.
· He argues that the bourgeoisie control the working class by controlling…

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· Their academic success can then be translated into economic capital, for example, good jobs.
· The cultural capital they possess also allows them to introduce their children to the 'right' or
influential people in the job market.
The role of the media:
· The Neo-Marxists of the Frankfurt School,…

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· Max Weber agreed with Marx that the ownership of property and capital were important
dimensions of privilege within society, but not the only dimensions.
· Weber argued that class, status and party are all linked to power. However, he accepted that
class is the most important factor in…

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· Parties are groups or organisations such as political parties, trade unions of pressure groups
where people come together to either compete for power or influence those with it.
· The more power a person has the more they are likely to have access to better life chances,
but membership…

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· The media has led to a greater diversity by showing the range of what it available.
· People reflect what they see in the media in what they consume.
· Bradley (1995) suggests that new identities are created by globalisation - we are exposed to
a range of…

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Marxist feminists
Radical feminists
Liberal feminists:
· Asked for equality of opportunity between men and women.
· They wanted to remove the barriers to achieving equality and called for equal rights in the
workplace and in the public arena.
· They were highly supportive of the Sex Discrimination Act (1975)…


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