sociological theory

  • Created by: loupardoe
  • Created on: 19-01-18 19:49



  • major shift toward new forms of manufacturing
  • people moved from working agriculture to working in factories
  • new techonologies allowed the expansion and speeding up of production


  • people moved from rural areas to where the new jobs were
  • some employers actively encouraged movement
  • some even built housing and villages for their workers

centralised government

  • move from laissez faire approach to more interventionist government
  • power passed from old elite groups to newer groups
  • laws passed to protect groups from harsh conditions of modern working life

rational, scientific thinking

  • process of the enlightenment
  • scientific thought allowed significant progress to occur
  • emphasis on rationalism- discovery through investigation, testing and observation
  • movement away from reference to superstition and religious explanations


function - a role that something plays

the organic analogy

  • Emile Durkheim
  • suggested we could compare society to the human body
  • all the different parts play a vital role
  • if one stops working, the rest suffer


  • socialises people into key values of society
  • enocurage social solidarity and social integration


  • socialises people in key values of society
  • encourage social solidarity and social integration


  • gives some values and norms a sacred quality, so that they become powerful formal and informal moral codes governing social behaviour
  • provide people with moral guidelines and practices which socially integrate people with a common identity and community

meritocracy and inequality

ascribed status

  • you are born into your status
  • caste system
  • aristocracy
  • royalty

achieved status

  • you earn your status
  • social mobility
  • Sir Alan Sugar
  • Kate Middleton

role allocation

  • education allocates people to the most appropriate job for their talents, using examinations and qualifications


  • a society that allows social mobility through effort and achievement

equality of opportunity

  • every person having the same chances

G.P Murdock 1949


  • society requires new members to ensure its survival
  • procreation generally occurs within a marital and family context


  • serves both society and the individual
  • unregulated sexual behaviour has the potential to be socially disruptive
  • marital sex creates a powerful emotional bond betweena couple, encourages fidelity and therefore commits the individual to family life
  • sex within marriage contributes to social order and stability because marital fidelity sets the moral rules for general sexual behaviour


  • culture needs to be transmitted to the next generation, so children need to be effectively socialised into a society


  • adult family members show their commitment to the care, protection and maintenance of their dependents by becoming productive workers and bringing home an income
  • underpins the family structure of living
  • benefits society because it is assumed without question that family members should take their place in the economy and the division of labour as specialised wage earners, thereby contributing to the smooth running of the economy and society

Talcott Parsons 1955

  • primary socialisation of children
  • stabilisation of adult personalities
  • relieves the stresses of modern day living for its adult members
  • emotional support and security
  • opportunity to engage in play with children
  • strengthens social stability
  • based on white middle class families in USA in 1940s/1950s
  • changes…


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