Theory - functionalism and new right

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  • Created on: 07-04-13 14:13
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THEORIES AND METHODS
STRUCTURAL APPROACHES:
Attempt to provide a complete theory of society. Begin their analyses from the `top', looking first at
society as a whole and then working down to the individual parts, and finally the individuals.
i.e. Functionalists, Feminists, Marxists
SOCIAL ACTION APPROACHES:
Do not seek to provide complete expectations for society; instead they start by looking at how
society is `built up' from people interacting with each other
i.e. Symbolic Interactionalist, Post modernists, Ethnomethodologists, Phenomologists

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FUNCTIONALISM
Talcott Parsons: aimed to provide a theoretical framework that combines the ideas of-
Weber, who stressed the importance of understanding people's actions
Durkheim, who emphasised the necessity of focusing on the structures of societies and how
they unction.…read more

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STRUCTURAL THEORY:
Sees society as a social system made up of interrelated and interdependent institutions such as
education and work.
Parson's starting point was the organic analogy:
He imagined society as similar to a living being
That adapts to its environment and is made up of component parts,
Each performing some action that helps the living being to continue to exist.
Institutions exist, or don't, because of their functions for the maintenance of society.…read more

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PATTERN VARIABLES:
For a society to exist, it must fulfil the functional prerequisites listed above.
People must act in a certain way to fulfil society's needs and ensure its continuation.
Culture: emphasizes that members of society ought to act in particular ways to ensure that
the functional prerequisites are met.
Parson claims in all societies there are five possible cultural choices of action.…read more

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STRENGTHS WEAKNESSES SYNOPTIC LINKS
NEO-FUNCTIONALISM: Robert Merton (1957): functionalist
Mouzelis (1995) and Alexander but criticised Parsons:
(1985): -Some institutions can be both
Both these writers argue strongly dysfunctional for society as well as
for the overall systematic functional- i.e. religion
approach provided by Parsons. -Merton suggests that Parsons
Argue that with some modification failed to realize the distinction
Parsonian theory can allow for between manifest functions and
people to be `reflexive' and also latent consequences of these
explain social change. actions.…read more

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Unless,
therefore, there are some external
changes which impact on the four
functional prerequisites, societies
should never change in form.
NEW RIGHT:
ORIGINS
They are conservative thinkers
Extension of functionalism
American concept- Charles Murray
Adopted by Reagan, Thatcher, Cameron- particularly in times of
economic depression- believe capitalism is desirable
Much less state intervention- cuts to public spending-
E.g.…read more

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Thatcher: Family is the building block of society- her Family Policy group supported mothers
staying at home- `there is no such thing as society'
John Redwood: 1993 in Westminster: `Natural state should be two-adult family caring for
their children'
OPINIONS ON THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM
Laws upheld in society are basically sound and benefit majority : Power of criminal justice
system even handed
Situational crime prevention is more of a priority than researching into social conditions that
cause crime.…read more

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SOCIAL STRATIFICATION
SAUNDERS: three types of equality:
All members of society subject to same laws/rules- LEGAL EQUALITY
EQUALITY OF OPPURTUNITY
EQUALITY OF OUTCOME- he rejects…read more

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