Sociological Perspectives: Structuralism

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Sociological Perspectives:
Structuralism
Learning Objectives
• To explain the key features of structural sociological theories
• To explain Functionalism and Marxism
• To explain the key differences between Functionalism and Marxism
• To evaluate Functionalism and Marxism
Sociological Perspectives
• These are ways of looking at society.
• Many sociologists look at society from a particular sociological
perspective.
• An example of how the same situation can be seen differently can be
illustrated by thinking about education.
• How might the following individuals have a different perspective on
education:
1) Teacher
2) Student aiming to go to university
3) Student with no long term goals
4) Employers
5) Parents
Structuralism
• Structuralism is concerned with the overall structure of
society, and the way social institutions limit and control
individual behaviour.
• Key features of structuralism are:
1) The behaviour of individuals, the way they act and their identities
are seen as being a result of the influence of society.
2) The main purpose of sociology is to study the overall structure of
society, social institutions, and the relationships between these
institutions.
• This is sometimes referred to as a macro approach.
• There are two types of structuralism: Functionalism
(consensus) and Marxism (conflict).
Structuralism
• In pairs note down how the following agents of socialisation or social
institutions may influence individuals, their identity and their
behaviour:
1) Family
2) Peer group
3) Education
4) Media
5) Religion
6) Workplace
Functionalism
• Read through the section on Functionalism on your handout and
complete the following tasks:
1) What is the organic analogy? How does it explain how society
works according to the Functionalists?
2) What functional prerequisites would the following agents of
socialisation provide according to the Functionalists:
1)
2)
3)
4)
5)
6)
Family
Education
Peer group
Media
Religion
Workplace
3) How do each of these agents of socialisation maintain the value
consensus in society? Provide examples.
Evaluation of Functionalism
• In pairs list as many problems as possible with Functionalism.
Talcott Parsons
Marxism
• Read through the section on Marxism on your handout.
• Complete the questions on the Marxism activity
Evaluation of Marxism
• In pairs list as many problems as possible with Marxism
Comparison of Marxism and Functionalism
• Complete a table like the following looking at the similarities and
differences between Marxism and Functionalism
Similarities
Structural: see society as influencing
individuals’ behaviour
Differences
Key Terms
• Define the following key terms and add them to your vocabulary list:
1) Social solidarity
2) Functional prerequisites
3) Value consensus
4) Means of production
5) Bourgeoisie
6) Proletariat
7) Surplus value
8) False class consciousness
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