Theory and methods 33 mark essay plans

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Theory & Methods

Essay Plans (33 marks)

Assess the usefulness of structural approaches to our understanding of society (33)

•The structural approaches are those that believe the structure of society determines the behaviour of individuals

•They take a macro approach (looking at the big picture)

•The structural theories are Functionalism, Marxism and Feminism.

•You would need to outline and evaluate these theories separately

•However, they would all be criticised by social action theories (micro approach) for ignoring the possibility that individuals have free will rather than being determined by the structure of society.

•PMs also believe that they are meta-narratives. Explain why?

Assess the usefulness of conflict theories (33)

•Conflict theories are those that believe that there is conflict between different groups in society with competing interests.

•They include Marxism, Neo-Marxism and Feminism.

•You would need to outline and evaluate these theories separately

•However, they would all be criticised by consensus theories for ignoring the possibility that value consensus does exist in society.

•PMs also believe that they are meta-narratives. Explain why?

Assess the usefulness of consensus theories in understanding society (33)

•The consensus theories are those that believe there is value consensus in society

•They include Functionalism and Neo-Functionalism (New Right)

•You would need to outline and evaluate these theories separately.

•However, they would both be criticised by Conflict theories for ignoring the possibility that society has conflict between different groups with competing interests.

•PMs also believe that they are meta-narratives. Explain why?

Assess the contribution of functionalist and New Right theories and research to our understanding of society today (33)

Fs: Parsons, Durkheim, Merton

NR: Murray, Wilson

•Fs is a structural theory. Macro approach. The organic analogy.

Ignores micro approach (Social Action)

•Socialisation. Value consensus. Meritocracy and Role Allocation.

Ignores conflict. Society is not meritocratic (Marxists).

•Parsons: four prerequisites. Social change – a moving equilibrium

Ignores change that is revolutionary (Marxists)

Merton: Middle range. Latent and manifest functions.

•Fs research: very little primary research. Positivist -scientific approach e.g. Durkheim.

Lack of validity (Interpretivists)

•NR: Structural Approach but not as deterministic. Individuals have freedom of choice.

•Free market economy. Marketisation of the welfare state. Less state intervention

Credit crunch may have been result of lack of state regulation by banks

•Murray: The underclass

•NR Research: Positivist approach: use of statistics e.g. correlations between family and crime (Farrington & West).

Statistics are social constructions (interpretivists)

Conclusion

Strengths:

Fs: Functions, Consensus, Structure,

NR: Choice, Policy Solutions

Weaknesses

Fs deterministic and teleological. Both ignore conflict. Both are metanarratives (PM) Evidence lacks validity.

Assess the contribution of Marxist theories and research to an understanding of society (33)

•Ms: Marx & Engels

•NMs: Gramsci, Althusser, Willis (Birmingham School) and Frankfurt School

•Marxist Feminism

•Ms: structural theory. Macro approach.

•Infrastructure determines superstructure.

•Capitalism. Relations of Production. Alienation.

•Ideology. False class consciousness. Conflict

Ignores positives of socialisation into value consensus (Fs)

•Social change – dialectical materialism – revolution - communism

Evolutionary not revolutionary (Fs)

Communism unsuccessful in USSR etc

However, the contradictions of capitalism are currently…

Comments

Tom Collins

BRILLIANT. You've saved me, thank you!

khal123_xo

Brilliant; thanks!

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