• Created by: holly6901
  • Created on: 07-01-20 12:05


  • Functionalism is the most influential consensus theory
  • Durkheim: members of society need to feel a sense of social solidarity
  • Durkheim knew that people in large societies would lose their sense of identity, called normlessness
  • Parsons emphasised the importance of socialisation in creating a value consensus
  • Parsons saw key institutions working together to transmit norms and values to the next generation
  • Functionalists use an organic analogy to explain society and focus on everyone's functions
  • Parsons saw society as a social system and argued that all societies must fulfil four functions to keep the society going. These are often abbreviated to AGIL.
  • Adaption - Institutions that help people adapt to the environment e.g economic organisations
  • Goal attainment - Institutions that decide society's goals and organize people to attain them e.g political organisations
  • Integration - Institutions to help unify the society e.g religious organisations
  • Latency and pattern maintenance - Institutions that help to pass on the culture of society e.g families
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The New Right

  • It is a political stance rather than a sociological theory
  • The origins of New Right ideas lie in theories of economists like Adam Smith
  • Adam Smith argued that capitalist societies work best when there is a free market so the state shouldn't interfere in the economy
  • Smith said things should rely on the law of supply and demand
  • Smith's ideas were revived by neo-liberal economist such as Friedrich Hayek
  • Hayek argued individuals have the greatest freedom in a free market capitalist society
  • Hayek's ideas were an important influence on Maggie Thatcher
  • Charles Murray argued that in both Britain and the USA excessive government intervention to try and alleviate poverty by providing the poor with benefits had led to a dependency culture whereby groups were rewarded for irresponsible behaviour 
  • Murray said this led to the emergence of an underclass of people separated from the rest of society and lacking a commitment to the norms of the wider society.
  • Murray later blamed rising levels of crime in Britain and the USA on the underclass suggesting that the growth of lone-parent families meant that an increasing number of poor children were growing up without discipline or a father figure in the home and consequently turning to crime
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  • Under Marxism, there are two basic classes. The bourgeoisie which is the upper class who own means of production and the proletariat which are the working class who work for the bourgeoisie.
  • Marxism suggests the proletariat are exploited by the bourgeoisie and there will eventually be an uprising which will restore equality between the classes.
  • Marx believed capitalism was an exploitative system and the bourgeoisie control all over institutions through economic power
  • The bourgeoisie use their power to keep the masses ignorant of their exploitation known as ideological control
  • This causes false consciousness when people aren't aware of their exploitation
  • Capitalism means the worker becomes alienated from the process of production and those they work with
  • Marx argued that capitalism would create the conditions for its downfall and competition leads to further exploitation
  • Marx theorised that capitalism would gradually lead to an increasing amount of misery and exploitation and it must come to an end one day
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  • Inequality between men and women is universal and the most significant form of inequality
  • Gender norms are socially constructed and not determined by biology so can be changed
  • Patriarchy is the main source of gender inequality - women are subordinate because men have more power
  • Feminism is a political movement; it exists to rectify sexual inequalities although strategies for social change vary enormously
  • There are 4 main types of feminism, Marxist, radical, liberal and postmodern
  • Radical feminism: Blames the exploitation of women on men and believes we have made little to no progress in equality
  • Marxist feminism: Capitalism rather than the patriarchy is the reason for female oppression
  • Liberal feminism: Nobody benefits from existing problems and believe we have made lots of progress but there is still further to go
  • Postmodernist feminism: Do not see women as a single homogenous group and believe women and men can make their own identities and escape gender norms
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  • Postmodernity refers to the view that the institutions and ways of living characteristic of modernity have been replaced by new institutional ideas that were not a continuation of modernity
  • Modernity was the era around the Enlightenment when ideas such as technology, logic and research and moved away from unprovable things such as magic and religion
  • Postmodernity is a direct response to modernity and refers to new ways of thinking about things such as identity and philosophy
  • 5 key features of postmodern society are globalisation, the media, a fragmented world, consumer society and individuals freedom to choose their lifestyle and cultural diversity and hybridity
  • Globalisation: The increasing connection of societies around the world
  • The media: The post-modern era ked to a huge expansion in media technology
  • A fragmented world: In post-modern society, the rate of change is much faster than in the era of modernity. Post-modern society is more fluid. 
  • Consumer society: One difference is that post-modernity is consumer-focused rather than work-focused
  • Cultural diversity and hybridity: In the last 50-100 years cultural diversity has increased 
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