culture and identity version 2

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culture and identity

functionalism

  • durkheim- one of the founders of sociology; society is made up of various institutions which have useful functions
  • looked at how society was structured
  • looked at how institutions in society work and how they affect individuals
  • believe the structures of society are set up to allow society to run as smoothly as possible
  • durkheim- individuals internalise the norms and values of society; they become a part of who you are; result is consensus
  • collective consciousness of society- the shared norms and values that hold society together
  • structure- the way society operates as a whole
  • identity- an individual's mental picture of themselves
  • norms- ways of behaving/thinking that are seen as normal in society
  • values- beliefs about what things are important and what things are right and wrong
  • culture- the combined effect of norms and values; a way of life
  • parsons 1951- society is not possible without a shared culture; it allows people to communicate and to work towards shared goals
  • parsons and bales 1955- culture is passed on to children through socialisation
  • parsons, durkheim- culture is slow to change; major changes in culture do occur as societies evolve

criticisms

  • interpretivists focus on the individual more than functionalists do; functionalism is wrong to ignore the individual; individuals can choose how to behave
  • marxists- functionalism ignores the unequal power of some groups; the rich have the most influence in defining the norms, values and beliefs in society; structures in society are set up to serve the interests of the rich
  • postmodernists- functionalism is outdated; based on the idea that there's only one dominant culture; today there's a complex and diverse range of cultural norms and values
  • parsons- exaggerates the extent to which contemporary societies possess a common culture and the extent to which people conform to the culture into which they are socialised
  • contemporary societies may possess such cultural diversity that they raise questions about how much culture needs to be shared
  • functionalist views are more applicable to traditional societies

marxism

  • marx- one of the founders of sociology; focused on the effects of capitalism; the economic system of a society determines the beliefs and values of that society
  • in capitalist societies workers are employed to produce goods which are sold by their employers at a profit
  • most is kept by the employer
  • if workers were allowed to notice the unfairness of this, they'd revolt
  • to avoid revolution the capitalist system shapes the superstructure to make sure the workers accept their lot in life
  • institutions lead individuals into accepting the inequalities of capitalism
  • in class stratified societies culture can be seen as little more than ruling class ideology
  • an expression of the distorted view of the world advanced by the dominant class
  • the working class suffer from false class consciousness
  • the working class possess some independence from ruling class domination

criticisms

  • functionalists- too much emphasis on the role of economic structures in shaping ideas and beliefs
  • interpretivists- too much emphasis on class and not enough on individuals
  • postmodernists- social class doesn't…

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