School_of_thoughts_edited.ppt - Sociological School of...

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Sociological School of thoughts
Three School of thoughts Functionalist School of thoughts or Functionalism (Inspired directly by Durkheim) Conflict School of thoughts or conflict theories (Inspired directly by Marx) Symbolic Interactionism (inspired indirectly by Weber)
Functionalism 1. Focus on the structure of the society rather than action of the individuals 2. In terms of methodology, they believed that society is made of parts. You can not understand the part in isolation from the other parts or in isolation from the whole. Accordingly, functionalists believe that sociologists when studying sociological issues must study it in relation to the whole society and not in isolation. For example, functionalist who studied crime & deviance in the American society attributed it to the structure of the American society itself (the whole). Robert Merton , an important figure in the school did a study on crime in America arguing that crime rate increases when norms and values conflict with social reality. American society places a great emphasis on material success and the means of achieving that success are supposed to be self-discipline and hard work which means that the assumption is that working hard will lead to success no matter what is the starting point. The reality, however, is that disadvantaged group are given less opportunities and as such they have less chances for success, however, the value of the society is material success. So they feel strained and as such will resort to illegal way for material success to face their strain.
Functionalism 3. Each part of the whole (the society) has a function. Functionalist focused extensively on the function of social institutions (family), social activities (marriage, work, etc) and social facts (religion, class, gender and even crime). Everything has a function and or a dysfunction. Durkheim for example argued that deviance has an adaptive function and maintenance function. Adaptive meaning that it could be progressive by introducing new ideas and bringing change. Maintenance in terms of keeping the boundary between good and bad – criminal behavior promote collective response. 4. The parts of the society should work together in harmony just like the parts of the human body. If the organs of the human body is not working in harmony then the whole body will collapse. The same is true with the society, if its parts will not work in harmony, it will eventually collapse.

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