Functionalism, is the idea within sociology, that society is built up by different parts, which all work in cohesion with one another to function in an effective manor. Functionalism consists of various components, which all work together in order for society to function.
Functionalism cannot exist successfully if one components is not working with other society’s. The society’s which exist within functionalism are: The health system; the political system; family; education system; religious groups and the work/economics system.
Each part of society, has an obligation to ensure that functionalism remains stable.
Each of the society’s are responsible for instilling common values, in order for society to function efficiently. For example, the political system, is expected to instil laws and legislations, by which society are meant to abide by. Without the instilment of these values, the work and economic system may suffer, due to the number of criminals who are not into work. This would have a domino affect across the society’s, causing family institutions to break down.
The functionalistic view on family’s, is that the family type should be one of a nuclear family. Functionalists believe that a family should consist of a working father, house wife type mother and one or two children. They believe that without this classic structure, the family can not function efficiently. However, in recent times, studies show
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that the number of nuclear family’s has decreased ‘’ The number of people living in family homes with children fell from 52% in 1961 to
36% in 2009, the ONS says.’’ (BBC news 2010) This is due to the current downfall of the economic climate ,resulting in more couples choosing not to have children, due to the rising cost of living.
Furthermore, people are beginning to form unconventional family units, such as blended families, gay and lesbian parent family’s and single divorced parent families.
Functionalists do not agree with these family types, as they believe that nuclear family’s have the greatest ability to provide stable homes for children and also have the greatest ability to instil values into their children, in order for functionalism to continue effectively.
They believe that they influence and shape our values and attitudes, religious beliefs, educational achievements, employment and also health and wellbeing.
Functionalist family’s may influence the children within their society to be religious. As the children are exposed to this on a regular basis, they will take on and adhere to the family’s expectations and beliefs
– however when they are exposed to secondary socialisation, they may change their views, it is the family’s job, in the eyes of a functionalist, to ensure that their child does not get swayed by the exposure of these secondary views, to ensure that their child stays within the right path, in order for functionalism to be effective.
Marxism, is the idea, that society is divided into groups of social class. People within these groups of social class are placed within a hierarchy. Within this hierarch, there is the ‘’lowest’’ people within
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society who are within the poverty band, above those are the working class, above the working class are the middle class, above middle class are the upper class, and above all is the capitalists.
In early societies, stratification did not exist. People shared a common standing. However, certain members within society were then elevated. The Indian caste system, has been of existence for around 3,000 years. The lowest cast within the system was not actually considered to be of worth within society :
‘’ The Brahman caste usually consisted of priests or scholars and enjoyed a great deal of prestige and wealth.
The Kshatriya caste, or warrior caste, was composed of those who distinguished themselves in…