Explain theprinciple sociological perspectives. In this essay,I am going to explain 7 different psychological perspectives; functionalism, Marxism,feminism, interactionism, collectivism, postmodernism and The New Right. Functionalism is a consensus theory which meansit assumes that for society to work effectively all individuals within it mustfunction and behave properly. Functionalist’s believe that society is basedupon harmony, integration and social solidarity. GeorgePeter Murdock was a functionalist that studied 250 societies and noted that afamily existed in all of them, he believed that the family was a universalinstitution that performed four functions, sexual, reproductive, economic andeducational. Functionalist’sbelieve that as a child you gain primary socialisation from your parents e.g.
you are taught as an individual regarding your own skills, abilities and habitsthat your parents have observed and then when you go into education you gainsecondary socialisation from what is taught (universalistic values) that aregiven to everyone else. Functionalist’s emphasise the positive aspects ofschooling. Emile Durkheim(functionalist) noted the importance in preventing anomie – a state of chaoscaused by society lacking a shared set or norms and values and argued thatwhilst the family is based on affective relationships (people help each otherout of love and affection) society is based on instrumental relationships(based on mutual self interest). Stability ina functionalist society is based on socialisation into norms and values onwhich people can agree.
These shared norms and values are known as valueconsensus. Marxism is a conflict theory in whichsociety is determined by an economic system – the means of production. Society ispolarised between two key classes – the ruling class (the bourgeoisie) and theworking class (the proletariat) and the ruling class exploit and oppress theworking classes to maintain the capitalist system which serves the interests ofthe ruling class factory owners. Marxists arguethat the main function of the nuclear family is to distract the working classfrom the fact that they are exploited in two different ways. Firstly, thehierarchal way in which nuclear families are organised (the male being the headof the household) discourages workers from questioning the hierarchal nature ofcapitalism and the inequalities in wealth and power that result from it. And secondly,parents are encouraged to buy into the consumer society which creates manyfalse needs. Marxists alsobelieve school is an ideological tool which manipulates individuals to thinkcertain ways which leaves them vulnerable to exploitation by the ruling class.
NeoMarxist Louis Althusser believes education is an ideological apparatus whichcontrols people by brainwashing them.it could be argued that the hidden curriculumsupports this idea as it transmits values such as obedience and respect forauthority whilst free thought is met with punishment. There arethree main types of feminism that I am going to explain in this assignment. Firstly,liberal feminism; liberal feminism is an individualistic form of feminism whichfocuses on women’s ability to maintain their equality through their own actionsand choices.