Compare and contrast two different perspectives in Sociology.
Sociological theories and perspectives aim to explain or understand the way in which society functions. Functionalism and Marxism are two different perspectives in Sociology. This essay will compare and contrast the perspectives of functionalism and Marxism, outlining their key points and evaluating their usefulness as a sociological approach.
Firstly we will look at Functionalism, which is fundamentally based on the works of Emile Durkheim (1858-1917). Functionalism is a structural based sociological theory, where societies are regarded as whole entities. Functionalists believe that all elements within society interconnect and work together. The main focus of functionalism is to examine and clarify exactly how social order is maintained within that society, looking at each part of society and understanding how their individual roles contribute towards society as a whole. It is believed that if one of these elements was altered or removed, then the system as an entirety would be affected, however the system is very capable at dealing with changes. “Society will always function in harmony, as it will accommodate change, by changing itself” (www.revision-notes.c
The ideology is that children should be well-mannered, considerate and punctual. "Education not only led to the reproduction of class, it was also crucial to the reproduction of labour" (Fulcher and Scott, 1999, 237). Both theories also believe in social change, believing that the more society changes, the better the potential for the "idealistic"tm society. Marxist theorists see classes as being determined by the social status and the capital of a person. The most essential and significant of these conflicts is that between the Bourgeoisie, those who own and control the means of production in society, and the Proletariat, those who simply rely on the wages from the bourgeoisie to survive, therefore "wealth is created by the Proletariat, then it is appropriated, that is "taken away"tm, privately - by the Bourgeoisie - in the form of profits" (www. This approach generates the idea that education should not meet the needs of society but serve the interests of the owners of capital. There has been certain criticisms of the functionalist approach to education. Capitalists believe that it is vital to society for these different groups to be produced from the education system as this means workers will accept the capitalist structure. This essay has outlined the many comparisons and contrasts which can be made between the functionalism and Marxism perspectives has considered how these theories approach the study of education with society. Functionalism offers the theory that society works as a whole, accommodating change and recognising the value of all of the institutions within humanity.