Perspectives Lesson 2

Perspectives Lesson 2
Tutor: Elspeth Cordell
Last week
• Last lesson got a little heavy
• We learnt about functionalism- a structural
• Durkheim
• Parsons
• The nuclear family
This week
Recap on Structural theories
Recap on Functionalism
Introduce Marxism
Compare and contrast both theories using
• Education
• Healthcare
• Begin criticising them!
• Structural theories- handout1
• Theory can be said to be like looking at society through
different lenses – each give it a different perspective or
• The society and its structure is more important than
the individual
• There is no individual- just roles!
• Society makes us who we are
• Society is structured either through Consensus or
Recap questions
1. Structural theories is like looking through a
2. Is there any individual in this perspective?
3. What are the two theories in this
4. Which one is which?
• lets break it down again
• Functionalists believe that society FUNCTIONS as
a whole and works by social consensus, in which
members of the society agree upon, and work
together to achieve, what is best for society as a
whole- harmony and social order.
• Social consensus- agreement on core values,
norms and roles.
• Thus happens neatly and with order
This agreement (Consensus)Happens..
• This agreement happens through the process
of socialisation
• Parents, school, work, religion, media
• Teach people the ways of the culture- norms,
values, roles.
• Remember a baby learns the way of life from
the parents!
Summing up
• People are positive about the organisations.
Every part of society functions in equilibruim
and there is a general agreement that
everything is good and works well• Task –Human body.
• Gapped hand-out
• However, is this true?
• Are there conflicts?
Weaknesses of functionalism
• ‘Catch all’
• Do people work in agreement?
• Terrorists- step out of the norms of society …
• Task : Pay rise for government = strikes Teachers
pay shows conflict
Marxism: Karl Marx
• Marxism – society is structured so that some
groups do better than others
• Marxism is a belief that capitalism allows the
owners of capital (the ruling-class or bosses)
to exploit the workers (employees) and this
causes conflict between the two classes
• Thus society is structured through
disagreement and conflict
• If everyone got power= less wealth, control!
The social Class
• Focus on social class
• Difference between the
classes is what causes
• Society is structured around
• So that the powerful classes
get to keep this power
• Middle class is just another
ploy to give the perception
that society is fair
Education from both perspectives
People have the opportunity to be
anything if you work hard enough
Socialises children and prepares them for
society- norms, values, beliefs etc.
Education serves social control or the
regulation of deviant behaviour as it keeps
people off streets, by keeping them busy
and getting them achieving.
teaches confidence, knowledge and self
esteem, thus raising the whole society.
• Marxism:
Louis Althusser (a Marxist) (1971) the
reproduction of an efficient and obedient
work force.
transmitting the ideology that capitalism
is just and reasonable (school teaches you to
compete with your fellow pupils by trying to
do better than them)
train future workers to become
submissive to authority (schools
teachers you to accept as normal to do
as you’re told, this way when your boss
orders you what to do, it seems
perfectly normal)
if not born into wealth then chances of
getting power is not real, just painted
like this to make lower classes have
what would these perspectives say??
• Functionalism
• Marxism
Summing up
• Gapped handout
• But has this theory got any weaknesses?
• Are you happy that the structural theories
discount YOUR contribution to society?
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