Research paper - How successfully can you apply conflict theory (Marx) and Functionalism (Durkheim)

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Principle of Sociology 201 4-16-14 How successfully can you apply conflict theory (Marx) and Functionalism (Durkheim) to American society today? Discuss and critically assess. Societal standards and what is accepted as normal changes often in a culture, but there are some parts that run deep and are hard to change. “Our culture implants within us the fundamentals of belief and judgment which we take for granted and
seldom hold up to impartial examination.” (Clarke) Classes in our society are something that I don’t believe we can possibly change by simply implementing a new system, but they’re something that occasionally keeps people bound in chains. “They sense that in their everyday worlds, they cannot overcome their troubles, and in this feeling, they are often quite correct.” (Mills) Marx saw this happening and developed the conflict theory. “The history of all hitherto existing societies is the history of class struggles.”(Marx, Engels) This essentially stated that the bourgeois (upper class) will constantly be battling the proletariat (lower/middle class). People who own companies want to find workers willing to work the most hours for the least amount of pay possible in order to maximize profits. People who seek labor jobs want to work as little as possible for as much pay as possible. It doesn’t take a world renowned sociologist to understand that this will ultimately result in massive conflict, and doesn’t allow for any true growth for either class. Most importantly it doesn’t allow for a mutual relationship between the two, as they constantly will want to cheat the other out of work/money. On the other hand, functionalism talks about the necessity for classes, and the fact that even people who are in poverty play an integral role in our economy.

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